What is the point of design-driven innovation? Better, what distinguishes design-driven from simple innovation? I need to introduce a new way of looking at innovation today. It’s not as simple as coming up with something more than incremental. It actually has to do with a radical improvement in performance and a radical change in meaning.
Meaning? Yeah…meaning. Like when Xbox and Playstation came out with more powerful processors and high-definition and Nintendo came out with the Wii system that incorporated a physically active experience.
This diagram (lifted from Design-Driven Innovation) does a good job of illustrating the concept.
Let me point out a few things:
- Notice the two axis in the diagram. Performance is about improving the way an existing solution works. Meaning has to do with developing solutions for problems that people don’t even know they have.
- Incremental improvement with slight evolution in meaning explains most product development. It’s more about a new version than a new thing. This is most often prompted by existing user interest.
- Radical improvement along with completely new meaning is rarely prompted by user interest. Rather, it is design-driven. Nintendo’s Wii is an instance of this kind of innovation. Simple and elegant.
How does this impact all of us? I’m not entirely sure. I do know that what many of us provide hasn’t changed in decades (if not centuries or millenia). What if there was movement not only in the way services were delivered…but what was delivered?