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Is design different from innovation?

Apple, Google,Yahoo, GE, P&G--design equals innovation. |


| Innovation In China and Asia is getting hot.

November 21, 2005

Is design different from innovation?

Bruce Nussbaum

Michael Bierut's provocative blog item has unleashed a very thoughtful storm. Bierut argues that corporations are uncomfortable with the term "design" and prefer to call it "innovation." I agree with Beirut. But Larry Kelley, founder of Doblin, certainly doesn't. I predict that in time, Keeley will be known as the father of a new discipline of innovation. He's done more research into what innovation really is than nearly anyone else. And he's mad at the idea that anyone can conflate design with innovation.

Thanks to the folks over at CPH127, a terrific design and innovation blog, here are some of Keeley's comments and more on their site:

"I contend that this (innovation) is a NEW field, not just a new word. I further contend that it has its own methodology, complexity, and professional demands. It will be VERY GOOD for the design field, but is not the same as the design field. It is my fond hope that the better practitioners, design firms, schools (including a rapidly growing number of business schools), and desigers, will help to create the broad new capabilities and professionalism that will actually meet the underlying need for stuff, places, clarity of messages, and distinctive experiences that human beings crave--and enterprises must increasingly learn to deliver."

11:03 PM

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A debate on design, innovation and business from Putting people first

Michael Bierut of Pentagram argues in the piece on Innovation is the new black at Design Observer that corporations are uncomfortable with the term design and prefer to call it innovation. This provoked a very insightful response by Larry Keeley of Dob... [Read More]

Tracked on November 22, 2005 11:20 AM

About Cheerleaders and Football Players from Vol. 2:

In Niti Bhan’s recent posting ‘Fear of blogging’ she’s describing the blogoshere as follows:

“As with any large high school :) there are cliques and groups and popular kids and football players and cheerleaders and dor... [Read More]

Tracked on November 22, 2005 08:26 PM

Larry Keeley is right on target. I have been quite puzzled by how the field commonly referred to as "design" has increasingly managed to gain ownership of the notion we commonly refer to as "innovation". True innovation, one that achieves sustainable goals, may result from any number of design disciplines such as electronic design, product design, business design, marketing design, etc., preferably working in concert. If you wonder about what marketing design means, it is based on my definition of design: optimization of a related set of attributes under constraints and towards a defined goal. A great synonym for design, although not so sexy anymore, is engineering; but forget about that one, India owns it now. Larry is right that it is time to define a new discipline, one that reflects the complexity of today's product and services, and that combines the various

design fields and attracts people who can think holistically, using both hemispheres of their brains. By the way, if you are looking for one organization that gets it, it is the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA).

Posted by: Shimon Shmueli at November 22, 2005 08:04 PM

It sounds obvious that design is different from innovation. By essence innovation means something new. Digital cameras are new products. They introduce innovations like memory sticks.

If you draw a tribal tattoo on a tee shirt or a cloth. You may design a new product line without any innovation. Is it new? Not sure, a lot of people have got this idea.

If I may suggest one idea: Speak about innovation when there is no direct predecessor.

A levitating gyro stabilized digital camera is an innovation.

While a fashion shirt is a designed product.

Posted by: Georges de Wailly at December 3, 2005 03:11 PM

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