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Design-driven innovation: exploring enablers and barriers

Heleen De Goey (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Jönköping University, School of Engineering, Jönköping, Sweden)
Per Hilletofth (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Jönköping University, School of Engineering, Jönköping, Sweden)
David Eriksson (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Jönköping University, School of Engineering, Jönköping, Sweden)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 2 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the enablers and barriers to design-driven innovation, defined as the innovation of product meanings, in the product-development process. Previous research provides some insights into what enables and hinders design-driven innovation; however a detailed understanding of these factors is missing.

Design/methodology/approach

A long-term case study was conducted at a furniture company between 2009 and 2016. Interviews were conducted with respondents within the company, as well as with partners such as retailers and designers.

Findings

This paper presents an overview of the identified enablers and barriers. The results demonstrate that enablers and barriers occur in all phases of the product-development process. Second, the connections between enablers and barriers are presented. These are found both within and across different phases, and extend beyond the company’s influence.

Research limitations/implications

This study demonstrates how the innovation of product meanings is influenced throughout all phases of the product-development process. Therefore, there is a need to go beyond the mere identification of enablers and barriers. More is gained from generating a thorough understanding of the causes and connections of these factors, including the changes over time.

Practical implications

This study demonstrates the need for companies to be able to map what enables and hinders design-driven innovation in their product-development process, where a distinction needs to be made between internal and external factors, to enhance value creation.

Originality/value

This study presents a rare long-term case study on design-driven innovation. This study provides new knowledge on the enablers and barriers a company faces while adapting its product-development process to accommodate design-driven innovation.

Keywords

Citation

De Goey, H., Hilletofth, P. and Eriksson, D. (2019), "Design-driven innovation: exploring enablers and barriers", European Business Review, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 721-743. https://doi.org/10.1108/EBR-07-2018-0122

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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