Navigating the Innovation Matrix: An Approach to Design-led Innovation
Steven Kyffin, Paul Gardien


In an era where companies can no longer rely on technological breakthroughs and incremental product development, innovation is high on management agendas. At the same time, the scope of innovation has increased in complexity, where products, services, user needs and technologies need to be integrated while bringing many different stakeholders together. Nevertheless, the process of innovation is often seen as being very linear, with research results, new technologies or user insights funneled via advanced development and new business processes into the market. The present case study, however, sets forth an alternative view that sees innovation as a network of options. We propose that there are different ways of capitalizing on imaginative ideas, and that it is necessary to explore the best way forward on a case-by-case basis rather than by trying to impose a business straitjacket too early. To illustrate the potential of this view, an Innovation Matrix has been developed. Finding the best way through the non-linear matrix of options is a key factor in moving imaginative ideas effectively to the market. There is more than one path one can follow to breathe life into delicate ideas, and the design discipline can play a central role in facilitating this.

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