This page presents material concerning innovation in design in a general sense. It is not intended to cover specific techniques or methods for creativity and innovation.
The following notes come from [Har03].
The following remarks are comments derived from [Jos01].
The following remarks are based on Tom Brzustowski's keynote address to CANCAM 2003 (Calgary). Dr. Brzustowski is the president of NSERC. First person references are to me (Salustri), not Dr. Brzustowski.
From post by Lars Albinsson to phd-design, 22 May 2008:
My hypothesis (based on Lakoff and Krippendorff) is that there is a difference in that innovation is associated with the challenge or alteration of some peoples “prototypes” (in the Roch sense), while design may or may not do this. That is; design is more general than innovation. (and the step from invention to innovation would be the process of getting people to accept that alteration.)
From post by Terry Love to phd-design, 22 May 2008:
One very simple yet powerfully useful distinction is that 'a design' is a component of a legal contract describing the detail of part of an agreed arrangement. A design specifies how something is to be done. The activity of designing, design practice, is simply producing 'designs' that have this legal role. That is also the primary difference betrween 'good' designs and 'bad' designs. They provide a response to a brief that will stand up to legal scrutiny as a component of a contract.
From post by Carmen Kobe to phd-design, 22 May 2008:
Creativity seen as a product is something new and usefull. Creativity seen as a process is the production of something new and usefull. Innovation is something new and usefull, successfully implemented resp. introduced to a market.
From post by Harold Nelson to phd-design, 22 May 2008:
In my own experience in different contexts (business, government, academic, etc.) I find a variety of concepts applied to, or implied by, the term 'innovation'. The term is used interchangeably with the concepts of creativity, invention, discovery – in other words anything which is new. In the US, innovation is being pushed as necessary and essential to everyone's well-being. The thing that will improve education, health, safety, etc., etc. and of course that which will make businesses competitive in the new global economy.
For me design-fueled innovation is just one of many means of making something new an integral part of their everyday lives. The 'new' in this case is something that is the outcome of a design process — creating something that does not yet exist to serve the desires or needs of an other. Designing includes innovation processes that can be as simple as an architect serving a single client or a product saturating a market of millions of people.
From post by Imran Sobh to phd-design, 22 May 2008:
After a recent discussion in a class on design and organizations, the conclusion in my mind is that it is mainly an issue of who the audience is when someone is talking about design. In that case, I think it becomes less important what the technical definitions are, but rather what the connotations are, who is using the terms, who they are speaking to and why.
Business people and managers like to use the word innovation because it doesn't carry a lot of the baggage that comes with the word “design.” The way I've heard it used is usually in the context of economic stimulation rather than deeply satisfying products. Businesses need to innovate. It sounds very forward looking, with a focus on the “newness” rather than the process. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, it's part of their language, and if designers want to be a part of it, they have to either use the same language or work on discussions that clarify what is exactly is being talked about.
From the perspective of designers, I've talked to people who have felt like the use of the term is robbing designers of what they do. The lack of baggage is precisely what is bothersome – its not giving them credit for what they do or the history they bring. The word design, on the other hand, you could say still brings to mind notions of decoration or visual enhancement for a lot of people. I don't think our culture has reached a point where we see the idea of design or design thinking as an abstracted activity that is beneficial to more than visual and physical products. While this may be frustrating to many designers and academic institutions, it seems to be changing.
To bring it all together, as most people here likely know, the meaning of the word(s) change depending on the situation. In general, I would say people are talking about the same thing: design. In my biased opinion, I think design offers a broader range of associations and a more interesting way of thinking about what is going on. I recently read a definition of innovation in a textbook that went something like “the process of taking a good idea and translating it into a product.” When I read descriptions like that, including the link that was posted, I can't help but think “isn't that just a part of design?”
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