Kevin McCullagh did a great job covering The Big ReThink by The Economist. I especially appreciate McCullagh coverage of Roberto Verganti. Here are my thoughts -- I hope you find them helpful.
Verganti's research on design-driven innovation is spot on. I appreciate his insight into new product meanings and languages that steep into and influence society. But this is both hard and uncomfortable work. Corporate decision making is all about finding certainty in an uncertain world. Radical innovation is scary. It is a venture into the unknown. Businesses are more comfortable with the devil they know rather than the devil they don't. This leads to incrementalism rather than innovation.
One way "design thinking" is valuable is that its methodologies and processes attempt to force us out of our comfort zones. However, as other studies prove, radical innovation -- that is sustainable radical innovation -- is more dependent on corporate culture than on one time intensives. This is what Verganti's research also showed. Just as products have meanings and languages, corporations can have meanings and languages. Language is culture and culture defines behaviors and behaviors determine actions taken and actions not taken. What the discussion about design allows us to do today, more than anything, is influence the conversation -- as McCullagh, himself, has tried to do by striving to give design more strategic significance.
If we do not first change the language of the dialogue, do we offer anything in the way of elevating the role of design or, more importantly, solving sticky problems and uncovering new opportunities?
I hope to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to respond.