Changing your Hammer: The Implications of Paradigmatic Innovation for Design Practice
Paul Gardien, Tom Djajadiningrat, Caroline Hummels, Aarnout Brombacher


In this paper, we propose a design framework based on Brand & Rocchi’s (2011) four economic paradigms: the industrial, experience, knowledge and transformation economies. As design moves from one paradigm to another, its role changes with respect to the user, society, business and manufacturing. The industrial and experience economies are well-established, the knowledge economy is unfolding and the transformation economy is still in its infancy. Each of these paradigms calls for different design processes, methods and tools, as well as new breeds of designers with different competencies. We argue that if a company continues to use processes, methods, tools and competencies from an older paradigm, it can only come to solutions that fit that older paradigm. By contrast, adapting to a new paradigm will allow companies to extract more value from the marketplace. Companies that wish to enter Paradigms 3 and 4 will need to adopt new approaches to design innovation, for which we include recommendations. Developing this framework has helped us to chart implications for our own capability development; we publish it here because we believe that future innovation will require intensive collaboration between stakeholders, and so shared understanding of methodologies is crucial. We illustrate the framework with early signs in the area of durable consumer goods and with examples from other parties as well as our own.

Full Text: PDF HTML