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  • 1.
    Abecassis-Moedas, Celine
    et al.
    Univ Catolica Portuguesa, Catolica Lisbon Sch Business & Econ, Lisbon, Portugal.
    Ben Mahmoud-Jouini, Sihem
    HEC Paris, Innovat & Entrepreneurship Ctr, Paris, France.
    Dell'Era, Claudio
    Politecn Milan, Dept Management Econ & Ind Engn, Milan, Italy.
    Manceau, Delphine
    Univ Penn, Wharton Sch, Philadelphia.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano.
    Key resources and internationalization modes of creative knowledge-intensive business services: The case of design consultancies2012In: Creativity and Innovation Management, ISSN 0963-1690, E-ISSN 1467-8691, Vol. 21, no 3, p. 315-331Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the knowledge economy, knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) are a key driver for innovation and competitiveness. The internationalization of these businesses raises challenges given their specificities such as knowledge intensity, the importance of customer interaction and intimacy in service delivery. This paper focuses on design consultancies as a specific type of creative KIBS for which these characteristics are emphasized. The objective of this research is to analyse the resources leveraged by the firms to compete internationally. It is based on 11 case studies of design consultancies located in five different countries (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK) that were selected for their capacity to perform at the international level for several years. The paper advances three internationalization modes depending on contingent variables and focusing on specific resources that enable international competitiveness: star-based, process-based and glocality-based. In star-based creative KIBS, the individual designer has developed a reputation that attracts customers internationally, operating as a brand. In process-based creative KIBS, the reputation of a collective creative process attracts clients from other countries. In glocality-based creative KIBS, the geographical proximity obtained by opening international offices helps to develop a close understanding of the client through frequent interactions, and also to know the client's market well and to better understand local codes and signs. These modes complement those presented in the existing internationalization literature which takes the peculiarities of creative KIBS into consideration.

  • 2.
    Agasisti, Tommaso
    et al.
    Politecn Milan.
    Catalano, Giuseppe
    Landoni, Paolo
    Politecn Milan.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecn Milan.
    Evaluating the performance of academic departments: an analysis of research-related output efficiency2012In: Research Evaluation, ISSN 0958-2029, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 2-14Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article we investigated whether academic departments do experience a trade-off among different research outputs. More specifically, we define four types of academic research outputs: quantity (publications); quality (citation indexes); research funds obtained through research grants; and applied research funds obtained through external orders. Subsequently, we define a department's performance through the concept of efficiency, namely the ability to maximize academic research output given an amount of inputs (facilities and human resources). Using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), we measure efficiency for 69 academic departments (focused on scientific subjects) located in the Lombardy Region (Italy), benefiting from a unique data set containing detailed information on research inputs and outputs. The empirical analysis shows that efficiency rankings change significantly when considering different research-related outputs and thus it highlights different research strategies among the academic departments. These different strategies emerge also considering jointly all four types of outputs: the academic departments focus on different outputs in order to obtain the highest overall efficiency scores. In the last section, policy and managerial implications have been discussed. 

  • 3. Brode, Lisbeth
    et al.
    Dell’Era, Claudio
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Interpreters contribution to the development of radical innovations of meanings: the role of “pioneering projects” in the sustainable buildings industry2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 4. Colombo, Gabriele
    et al.
    Landoni, Paolo
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Innovating Innovation Policy: The Role of Innovation Prizes and Other Emerging Tools2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Dell’Era, Claudio
    et al.
    Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering of Politecnico di Milano.
    Buganza, Tommaso
    Faculty of Design and at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano.
    Fecchio, Camilla
    Faculty of Design of the Politecnico di Milano.
    Verganti,, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano.
    Language Brokering: stimulating creativity during the concept development phase2011In: Creativity and Innovation Management, ISSN 0963-1690, E-ISSN 1467-8691, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 36-48Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Dell’Era, Claudio
    et al.
    Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano.
    Buganza, Tommaso
    Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy.
    Figures of Speech as Semantic Operators in the Innovation Process2011In: European Journal of Innovation Management, ISSN 1460-1060, E-ISSN 1758-7115, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 155-171Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 7.
    Dell’Era, Claudio
    et al.
    Politecn Milan, Italy.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Univ Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland.
    Diffusion processes of product meanings in design-intensive industries: Determinants and dynamics2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Dell’Era, Claudio
    et al.
    Politecn Milan, Dept Management Econ & Ind Engn, I-2013 Milan, Italy .
    Verganti, Roberto
    Univ Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland.
    Diffusion Processes of Product Meanings in Design-Intensive Industries: Determinants and Dynamics2011In: The Journal of product innovation management, ISSN 0737-6782, E-ISSN 1540-5885, Vol. 28, no 6, p. 881-895Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 9. Dell’Era, Claudio
    et al.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Organization Characteristics and Marketing Strategies in the Diffusion Processes of Product Meanings2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 10.
    Landoni, Paolo
    et al.
    Politecn Milan, Milan, Italy.;MIP Business Sch, Masters Open Innovat & Knowledge Transfer, Milan, Italy..
    Dell'Era, Claudio
    Politecn Milan, Dept Management Econ & Ind Engn, Milan, Italy.;Politecn Milan, MaDe Lab, Lab Lab Educ Management Design & Innovat, Milan, Italy..
    Ferraloro, Gregorio
    Univ Sao Paulo, FEARP, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil..
    Peradotto, Mattia
    RMIT Univ, Melbourne, Vic, Australia..
    Karlsson, Helena
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecn Milan, MaDe Lab, Lab Lab Educ Management Design & Innovat, Milan, Italy.;Politecn Milan, Management Innovat, Milan, Italy.;Harvard Sch Business, Boston, MA USA.;Copenhagen Business Sch, Design Management, Copenhagen, Denmark..
    Design Contribution to the Competitive Performance of SMEs: The Role of Design Innovation Capabilities2016In: Creativity and Innovation Management, ISSN 0963-1690, E-ISSN 1467-8691, Vol. 25, no 4, p. 484-499Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The strategic role of design-driven innovation is being increasingly recognized. Many studies show that investments in design positively influence the innovative capacity of firms and consequently their competitive performance. However, few researchers have explored how this relationship comes about. The studies that over the years have contributed to the understanding of design have identified two main barriers: the lack of a common language on design, and poor analysis of the dynamics that characterize the relationship between investment in design and competitive performance. In this paper, we investigate six small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in the Lombardy region of Italy that have received funding from a policy aimed to develop design innovation capabilities. We identify and discuss five different design innovation capabilities and we analyse their role in mediating the relationship between investment in design and competitive performance.

  • 11. Landoni, Paolo
    et al.
    Delléra, Claudio
    Ferraloro, Gregorio
    Peradotto, Mattia
    Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
    Karlsson, Helena
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
    Design contribution to the competitive performances of SMEs: The role of design innovation capabilities2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 12. Micheli, Pietro
    et al.
    Goffin, Keith
    Verganti,, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Industrial Designers and their Role in New Product Development,2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Micheli, Pietro
    et al.
    Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield.
    Jaina, Joe
    Goffin, Keith
    Lemke, Fred
    Verganti, Roberto
    Polytechnic University of Milan.
    Perceptions of industrial Design: The "means" and the "ends"’2012In: Journal of Product Innovation Management, ISSN 0737-6782, Vol. 29, no 5, p. 687-704Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is widely accepted that industrial design can play an important role in the development of innovative products, but integrating design-thinking into new product development (NPD) is a challenge. This is because industrial designers have very different perspectives and goals than the other members of the NPD team, and this can lead to tensions. It has been postulated that the communications between NPD managers and industrial designers are made more difficult because each group uses very different language. This research made the first empirical investigation of the language used by designers and managers in describing “good” and “poor” industrial design. In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of 19 managers and industrial designers at five leading companies. Multiple sources of data were utilized, including the repertory grid technique to elicit the key attributes of design, from the perspective of managers and designers. Using a robust, systematic coding approach to maximize the validity and reliability of qualitative data analysis, it was established that managers and industrial designers do not use a completely different vocabulary as previously supposed. Rather, it was found that managers and industrial designers use some common terms augmented by additional terms that are specific to each group: managers are commercially orientated in the “ends” they want to achieve and designers perceive more antecedents (“means”) necessary to achieve their “ends”—iconic design. This research led to a grounded conceptual model of the role of design, as perceived by managers and industrial designers. The implications of the results achieved are wide: they indicate how managers and designers can interact more productively during NPD; they highlight the need for more research on the language of designers and managers; and they point to issues that need to be covered in the education of industrial designers. Finally, this work suggests how managers and designers can engage in a more fruitful dialogue that will help to make NPD more productive.

  • 14.
    Sala, Alessandro
    et al.
    Politecn Milan, Italy.
    Landoni, Paolo
    Politecn Milan, Italy.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecn Milan, Italy.
    R&D networks: an evaluation framework2011In: International Journal of Technology Management, ISSN 0267-5730, E-ISSN 1741-5276, Vol. 53, no 1, p. 19-43Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 15.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano.
    Designing Breakthrough Products2011In: Harvard Business Review, ISSN 0017-8012, Vol. 89, no 10, p. 114-120Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 16.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano.
    Radical Design and Technology Epiphanies: a  new focus for research on design management2011In: The Journal of product innovation management, ISSN 0737-6782, E-ISSN 1540-5885, Vol. 28, no 3, p. 384-388Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Verganti, Roberto
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Öberg, Åsa
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Interpreting and Envisioning - A Hermeneutic Framework to look at Radical Innovation of Meanings2013In: Industrial Marketing Management, ISSN 0019-8501, E-ISSN 1873-2062, Vol. 42, no 1, p. 86-95Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The recent success of companies that compete through design has raised an interest on how to innovate the customer experience of a product or service. Even in industrial markets firms are increasingly moving beyond the improvement of functional performance, to address a deeper redefinition of the reason why their clients buy and use a product, what we call a ”radical innovation of product meanings”. Whereas there is a wide body of literature about technological innovation, we still lack robust theoretical frameworks that explain how companies can successfully propose new experiences and new interpretations of what a product is meant for. The purpose of this article is to stimulate and support the development of studies on radical innovation of meaning by providing a new theoretical lens. We propose hermeneutics as a valubale perspective to investigate the radical innovation of product meanings. Differently than classic innovation theories, where innovation tend to be considered either as a process of problem solving or as a process of ideation, hermeneutics provides a framework to look at innovation as a process of interpreting (of developing meaningful scenarios rather than finding an optimal solution) and envisioning (of imagining experiences that are still not asked for, rather than answering to existing needs). We illustrate that, in this process, external networks have a central role as they feed a continuous debate about what is or is not meaningful. Hermeneutics, therefore, is useful to shed light on how external players may significantly affect the way a firm reframe its interpretation of the competitive context and give meaning to things. The article is conceptual in nature, since it aims at providing a theoretical platform which other scholars may build on: the purpose is to provide an indication of a possible direction to spur a cumulative process of knowledge development, rather than a conclusion. Yet, we support our arguments for the use of hermeneutics in exploring the radical innovation of meaning with examples and cases from our preliminary analyses, mostly in the fields of robotics and healthcare.

  • 18.
    Wikström, Anders
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Everskog, A
    Forsberg Wallin, A
    Hyltefors, M
    Larsen, S
    Verganti, R
    Storyboarding: Framing the “frame” of opportunity2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The design brief is commonly a written description of a scope for a design problem that requires some kind of visual design. The exploration of opportunities before formulating the design brief results in framing and reframing the problem to create a common shared understanding of the problem. In this paper the applicability of Storyboard, the actual making of the storyboard, and its values to the front-front end of innovation is examined. Experiments has been performed in order to test three hypotheses and validate the results, in total four experiments was performed consisting of 25 teams developing 17 concepts. The three hypotheses focus, regarding type of innovation, scope and level of ambiguity, creates understanding of the values storyboarding can add with regards to framing opportunity for innovation in the front-front end of innovation. The result shows that storyboarding contribute to a narrow focus in creating the brief. Regarding the innovation type the hypothesis could not be confirmed, but storyboarding enables a reflection on both meaning and function. There were also some indications on ambiguity in the brief, but this hypothesis was not confirmed.

  • 19.
    Wikström, Anders
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Everskog, Amanda
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Forsberg Wallin, Amanda
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Hyltefors, Maja
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Larsen, Sofie
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Storyboarding - Framing the "frame" of opportunity2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The design brief is commonly a written description of a scope for a design problem that requires some kind of visual design. The exploration of opportunities before formulating the design brief results in framing and reframing the problem to create a common shared understanding of the problem. In this paper the applicability of Storyboard, the actual making of the storyboard, and its values to the front-front end of innovation is examined. Experiments has been performed in order to test three hypotheses and validate the results, in total four experiments was performed consisting of 25 teams developing 17 concepts. The three hypotheses focus, regarding type of innovation, scope and level of ambiguity, creates understanding of the values storyboarding can add with regards to framing opportunity for innovation in the front-front end of innovation. The result shows that storyboarding contribute to a narrow focus in creating the brief. Regarding the innovation type the hypothesis could not be confirmed, but storyboarding enables a reflection on both meaning and function. There were also some indications on ambiguity in the brief, but this hypothesis was not confirmed.© 2013 The Design Society.

  • 20.
    Wikström, Anders
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy .
    Exploring storyboarding in prebrief activities2013In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED: Volume 7 DS75-07, 2013,, 2013, p. 11-20Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Creating ideas is no longer seen as a challenge within companies, creative sessions and brainstorming is widespread in most companies. However, when creating a design brief there is a lack of tools and methods finding problems and framing situations of interest. This paper examines the characteristics of storyboarding, the making of the storyboard, in pre-brief activities. In an explorative study 54 teams participating in an idea development workshop is analyzed. The workshop was developed using theories from design, visual thinking and narrative, using visual tools in every step with a focus on framing a situation of interest. This study provides an initial understanding of storyboarding in a new area and tentatively suggests that storyboarding stimulate creativity and reflection on emotions in the situation of interest. It also seems like storyboarding stimulates teams in organizing and discussing raw data widely. Storyboarding seems promising as a method but needs to be compared to the traditional way of describing a brief, a written document. An experiment is suggested to evaluate the differences between pre-brief activities made with storyboarding compared to written.

  • 21.
    Wikström, Anders
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Storyboarding: Framing and reframing the design brief2013In: DS 75-7: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED13), Design for Harmonies, Vol.7: Human Behaviour in Design, Seoul, Korea, 19-22.08.2013, 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents findings from an explanatory experiment, developing understandingabout Storyboarding in the front front end of innovation. The experiment set-up is to test howStoryboard is different from the common way of working before creating a design brief,writing documents, and to create a research agenda in order to explore this phenomena indepth. The experiment was performed in the context of a multidisciplinary conceptdevelopment course with eight teams. These teams were divided in two groups where onegroup created a Storyboard brief and the other a written brief. As results three hypotheses aredeveloped for further research. Also we conclude that Storyboard seems to be more promisingto support innovation projects that need focusing in a narrower area, but in that area moreopen to freedom of interpretation and reframing of a problem at its roots.

  • 22.
    Öberg, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Altuna, Naiara
    Politecnico di Milano.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano.
    INTERPRETERS: a source of innovations driven by meaning2014In: Innovation through engineering, business and design, University of Limercik, 2014, p. 173-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

      There are a number of ways of “thinking new”, the “Google” way –ideas oriented– and the “Interpreting” way –meaning oriented– among others. In this article, we describe one valuable part in the emergence of new meanings, the source of external experts, or, the so-called interpreters. The interpreters’ contribution to the ”Interpreting” way depends on their characteristics, the conversational process where their insights are exchanged with others and - the company and its capability to absorb and transform these insights. This research is focused on the first: the characteristics.

    To answer this, we first review one of the most important features of an interpreter, namely the ability to be critical, second, we conduct one in-depth case study of a large multinational company that has convened seven interpreters to develop new emerging meanings for a special product in their portfolio.

    The paper connects to different types of critical thinking/stance from both the educational and philosophical field, but also to theory from psychology. It concludes that conversations and discussions are eased if the interpreters possess certain abilities besides knowledge. Thus, for the process of interpreting, knowledge, per se is not enough. Instead it needs to be mediated by individual behaviour. A behaviour that is closer to criticism than to creativity.

  • 23.
    Öberg, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
    CARVING OUT THE PRODUCT MEANING: from Pre-emptying to Embodying2014In: "Innovation through engineering, business and design", 2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    When companies stay within the existing thinking frame of a product they risk to miss an important aspect, namely the meaning of it. By describing products in terms of function or visual appearance they tend to surface the product rather than deeply understand the reason of using it, its “why”, i.e. its meaning.

    To compensate for “locked in” interpretations of products many different approaches have been proposed, like deBonos hats (deBono 1986), “design thinking” (Brown 2009 ) and user innovation (von Hippel 2005). These approaches often result in a vast amount of ideas about solutions aimed at improving functionality, but they hardly dig into the interpretation of product meaning. They appear effective in innovating solutions, the “how” of a product, but: are they adequate as well when it comes to innovating the meaning of a product, its “why”?

     

    This paper explores what happens when firms move innovation deeper, and instead of innovating a solution for an existing problem or meaning, they want to change the product meaning. In particular it focuses on the process of innovation of meaning, and its differences with more traditional and well-known processes that aim at innovate solutions. It tells the story of four companies that went through several stages of reflection on product meaning. Our objective is to detect the nature of the process of innovation of meaning and understand if it aligns with the basic principles of problems solving that has been proposed by innovation literature in the last decade.

     

    By digging into the stories of meaning driven innovation projects of these firms, we unveil that: (1) the process of innovation of meaning differs substantially from the process of innovation of solutions; indeed, its principles are mostly opposite than to what is stated from innovation literature focused on problem solving. (2) The process of innovation of meaning evolves along four major phases: from a silent evolving of interest, to a conscious pre-emptying of existing beliefs, an iterative and multifaceted conversing and finally the embodying of the new proposed meaning. (3) These four phases are in line with the dynamic of change processes explored by scholars who have received less attention in the innovation literature. And these are researchers who have addressed change in humans and society from the perspective of the interpretation and search for meaning: philosophers of hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricoeur), leadership (Scharmer), human disciplines (Hekkert). Aligning the process of innovation of meaning with different domains of knowledge is both a confirmation of the need for new approaches within innovation research -  and an invitation to search for new frames of within the same. The aim of this study has been to propose and spur research to understand no only how to find new solutions, but also, how to create products and services that are give new meaning to people and businesses.

  • 24.
    Öberg, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
    Meaning: An Unexplored Path of Innovation2014In: International Journal of Innovation in Management, ISSN 2308-1295, Vol. 2, no 2, p. 77-92Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last ten years, the practice and research around innovation has been dominated by one perspective: innovation is an activity of “creative problem solving”. According to this perspective, users have problems or needs, and innovation implies an understanding of those problems and the creation of better ideas to solve them (Kelley, 2001, Chesbrough, 2003, Brown, 2009, Martin, 2009). There is, however, a level of innovation that has been overlooked: the level of meaning. People are continuously searching for meaning. Whenever they do something in life, there is a meaning behind that action, a purpose, and a “why”. They also use products and services that support this search for meaning. For example, they use fast robots with the purpose of improving the productivity of a process. Firms often assume that meanings exist “out there” in the market. They just have to be understood, not innovated. Therefore, they search for new solutions, a new “how”, to serve this existing purpose better: a faster robot, for example. However, people are not only searching for new solutions to existing problems. They are also searching for new meanings because their life keeps changing and because they are delighted by the discovery of new directions. For example, hospitals buy slow robots, such as the DaVinci system, the leading prostatectomy device, not to replace doctors and increase productivity, but to help them in complex operations. This article contends that there is a third type of innovation that is overlooked by the existing frameworks of innovation, which focus on the innovation of technologies and markets: innovation as driven by meaning. By leveraging case studies of firms in consumer and industrial markets, this article: (1) identifies and defines this third type of innovation, the innovation of meaning (2) positions it in relation to the two other main drivers of innovation (technologies and markets); (3) identifies the peculiar nature of the innovation of meaning; and (4) indicates a possible research strategy to explore the process of the innovation of meaning

  • 25.
    Öberg, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Poitecnico di Milano.
    Pre-emptying and the myth of the naïve mind2014In: Proceedings of the 19th DMI International Design Management Research Conference: Design Management in an Era of Disruption, 2014, p. -225Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the mantras of innovation and design in the last years is that innovation requires a "beginner's mind". Innovation is hoped to come from people who are non-experts, unaware of existing solution heuristics and therefore free from pre-conceptions.

    But, innovation does not always concern the search for new solutions. It can involve a search for new meaning. By meaning we refer to the purpose of a product, the “why” it is used, rather than the “how”. Meanings come from individuals and influence how they interpret their personal and business reality; they create myths. Are pre-conceptions detrimental also when searching for new meanings? Should companies therefore look for beginner’s minds, or clean the minds of their organization, also when innovating meaning?

    This article contends that, in the context of innovation of meaning, “the naïve mind” looks like a naïve theoretical construct itself. Our research shows that rather then searching for innovators with a beginner’s mind (who hardly exist) and rather than trying to challenge an organization’s pre-conceptions, companies may positively leverage the existence of pre-understanding. By a deliberate act of “pre-emptying”, employees can clearly express the meaning they believe in, not to challenge and clean it, but in order to use it as a precious ingredient to be melted and framed into a new interpretation of product meaning. In this paper “pre-emptying” will be discussed in the light of hermeneutics, theory U by Scharmer and four empirical cases of global corporations. 

  • 26.
    Öberg, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Taking a Meaning Perspective: – A Third Dimension of Innovation2013Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Theories of innovation, and especially of radical innovation, have often overlooked the innovation of meanings, especially in its more radical form. In this chapter we will illustrate how this innovation is related to other types of innovation, will discuss its nature and will show that radical innovation of meanings always occur, in every industry, and has the power to shape competition thereafter.

  • 27.
    Öberg, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Vision and Innovation of Meaning - Hermeneutics and the search for technology epiphanies2011In: Proceedings of the 18th International Product Development Management Conference, Delft, Netherlands, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Radical innovation strategies have traditionally been connected to either technology or market realted issues. The focus has been on solving problems and more recently on generating ideas. An alternative way to innovation is to search for a new meaningful experience of a product or technology. It includes an interpretation of the the human in a wider context and it links innovation to the fields of both design and hermeneutics. To discover technological applications with a radically new meaning (named technology epiphanies) this article propose four themes roted in the framework of hermeneutics: Designing scenarios of meaning, Debating, Building critical capabilites and Envisioning new meaning. These themes show why the creation of meanings is context-dependent and why they cannot be optimized. Moreover, we show that the search for new meanings includes a process of both questioning the existing beliefs in an industry but also to propose new market scenarios. By presenting cases both from business to business environments and consumer markets we conclude that the search for new meaningful products finds it way through the iterative process of interpreting and envisioning.

  • 28.
    Öberg, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Verganti, Roberto
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    When meaning drives innovation: - A study of innovation dynamics in the robotic industry2012In: When meaning drives innovation, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    No one nowadays dare to question the value of innovation. Indeed, several studies, from macroeconomics, to innovation economics, from strategy to innovation management, have investigated and discussed how innovation drives competitive advantage and the wealth of nations. However, in most studies, “innovation” is usually a shortcut for “technological innovation”, i.e. improvement driven by technological change. There are instead multiple drivers of change, within which technology is only one (and not necessarily what builds most value) both in business and society. In this article we focus on another driver of innovation, namely the search for “meaning”. Innovation of meaning is defined as a change in the “purpose” for people to buy and use products. It’s not necessarily associated to an improvement in performance, but, rather, by a change of performance and the creation of a new reason for people to use things. Meanings are concerned with the “why” of use, not the “how”. It is about making sense of an experience of use.

      Innovation of meaning seems to be a significant driver of differentiation, as shown in Verganti, 2009, Hekkert et al., 2011, Verganti and Öberg, 2012 and in some extent also in studies on technologies (Christensen, 1997) and market innovation (Kim and Mauborgne, 2005, Moon, 2010). However, we lack a deep understanding of if and how innovation of meaning creates value, and how it shapes competition in industries. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to contribute to create a better understanding of the value of innovation of meaning. Is innovation of meaning relevant for business and competition? If so, “how” (i.e. through which assets and economics is a new product meaning contributing to create value for businesses), and “when” (i.e. in which context is innovation of meaning a more or less fruitful strategy?). These questions are not marginal and cannot rely on traditional theories on the value of innovation. If indeed technological innovation creates an improvement in performance and therefore has a direct impact on value, innovation of meaning cannot be put on a scale (i.e. it is impossible to quantitatively claim that a meaning is “better” than another meaning). Therefore assessing the value of a change in meaning implies to redefine our assumptions about the value of innovation and challenges the related theoretical frameworks.    

      In order to grasp the profound dynamics of innovation and its impacts on competition, our analysis focuses on a specific industry: industrial robotics. By analyzing major changes in meanings in this industry, and in particular innovations associated with safe robotics (a breakthrough in meaning for industrial robots, whose traditional meaning was of being dangerous and to be kept far from people), we show that innovation of meaning can indeed create significant value, even in an business-to-business environment that is typically considered to be driven by performance rather than by purpose. We also show that innovation of meaning may create value through several factors. Not only sales volumes, but also, and above all, through profit margins, brand, and positioning. Even if a change in meaning does not necessarily substitute an incumbent dominant solution. This implies that, differently than technological change, that is predestined to saturation cycles, there is always a potential for creating value (or destroying value) by a change in meaning. In fact, it leaves major questions open about how to assess and capture this potential. We therefore conclude by discussing the major theoretical questions about when and how investments in innovation of meaning are more likely to create value and possible research directions, namely: what are the circumstances that make people willing to re-interpret the meaning of a product? And, conversely, what are the circumstances that make people prefer to stay within the existing meaning of a product? And most of all, how can businesses recognize these two different situations?

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