The Design of Things to Come: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Products

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Overview

The iPod is a harbinger of a revolution in product design: innovation that targets customer emotion, self-image, and fantasy, not just product function. Read the hidden stories behind BodyMedia's SenseWear body monitor, Herman Miller's Mirra Chair, Swiffer's mops, OXO's potato peelers, Adidas' intelligent shoes, the new Ford F-150 pickup truck, and many other winning innovations. Meet the innovators, learning how they inspire and motivate their people, as they shepherd their visions through corporate bureaucracy to profitable reality. The authors deconstruct the entire process of design innovation, showing how it really works, and how today's smartest companies are innovating more effectively than ever before.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Vogel (director, Ctr. for Design Research and Innovation, Univ. of Cincinnatti) and Jonathan Cagan (mechanical engineering, Carnegie Mellon) previously coauthored Creating Breakthrough Products. Here with Peter Boatwright (marketing, Tepper Sch. of Business, Carnegie Mellon), they suggest that we are in an era not of invention but of innovation, oriented toward the changing needs and desires of the consumer. They introduce specific innovators who listened to consumers and motivated their companies to newly meet consumer needs with designs, or redesigns, of products that solve problems, add value, or even help consumers live out their fantasies. Diverse examples include Apple's iPod, OXO's potato peelers, and Swiffer mops. The book suggests how businesses can introduce new thinking and new levels of innovation to their existing organization without bringing in consultants. The lesson of listening to the consumer applies to marketing, customer service, and even engineering. The book is written by experts in industrial design, but it provides an integrated look at all relevant issues. Recommended for industrial and graphic design collections, as well as business collections in large public, academic, or corporate libraries.-Stephen Turner, San Francisco Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131860827
  • Publisher: Pearson Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 6/16/2005
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig M. Vogel is a professor in the School of Design and director of the Center for Design Research and Innovation in the college of Design Architecture, Art and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. He has developed an approach to design that integrates teaching and research. He has worked with a variety of companies as a consultant for new product development and strategic planning.

Jonathan Cagan, Ph.D., P.E., is a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His research, teaching, and extensive consulting focus on product development, strategic planning, and design. He has developed team-based tools and computer-based technologies to improve the process of design conceptualization.

Peter Boatwright, Ph.D., is associate professor of marketing in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. His expertise and teaching focus on new product marketing, consumer marketing, and marketing research methods. In his research, Professor Boatwright has developed new statistical methods, as well as additional theories of consumer behavior.

The authors have worked with a variety of companies, including, Procter & Gamble, International Truck and Engine, Respironics, Alcoa, Kennametal, New Balance, Kraft Foods, Motorola, Lubrizol, Ford, General Motors, Whirlpool, RedZone Robotics, DesignAdvance Systems, and Exxon Chemical.

Professors Cagan and Vogel are coauthors of the book Creating Breakthrough Products, which is a detailed approach to navigating the fuzzy front end of product development.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Read an Excerpt

The Design of Things to Come: Preface PREFACE What to Expect from This Book

Two guys walk into a Starbucks and wave to a woman at a table. After getting their lattes, they head over and join her.

Paul: Hey, Caroline, looks like you got here early.

Caroline: Traffic wasn't bad today. Did you two come together?

Rick: No. We just happened to arrive at the same time. How are you doing? How's work?

Caroline: It's pretty interesting these days. Today we had a planning meeting to set objectives for the next few quarters. We had a poor performance last year, and budgets are getting cut. I was asked to reduce cost by 20 percent and increase profits by 150 percent. She smiles.

Paul: Are these just goals to see how high you can jump? Or are they somewhat realistic?

Caroline: It's part of an ongoing internal discussion. We've gotten really efficient at delivering high quality with decent costs. But, you know, everybody else is pretty good at it now. So the discussion is about what to do next. For years, we've had the dual strategy of beefing up quality and reducing costs, and that strategy has worked well for us. But now, we're pretty close to the efficient frontier, and everyone else is catching up pretty quickly.

Rick: I know what you mean. We're lost as to how to respond to the latest competitor who is trying to drag everyone into a death rattle on price. It isn't like there is much more we can do with our manufacturing costs or quality. I am a black belt Six Sigma, and we've integrated the latest on leanmanufacturing into our StageGate process. Now that we're accustomed to putting out high quality at low cost, we've settled back into our old bunkers. The sales force is on our back to put out some new product that can compete on cost. But we're putting out great stuff, so we wonder why sales can't move product by just showing buyers our quality difference.

Paul, now that I think about it, you guys don't seem to be in this cost battle at the moment. You guys are thinking innovation instead of costs, aren't you?

Paul: Yeah, I told you guys about the new CEO a while back. He has a different focus. Still too early to tell what will happen, but I have to say that there's excitement in the air that wasn't there before. He believes that we can no longer compete on price but instead need to be leaders in innovation. A couple of weeks ago, he sent out a memo with suggested reading. I read an article in Business Week about the power of design. Usually, articles about design just talk about industrial design and how they make products better. But this article was different. It said that product design means that everyone has to be innovative, not just the industrial designers you hire. Another article talked about the challenge of the growth of China, stressing how companies in Asia are getting smarter, not just cheaper, and that means innovation is the only way to compete. He also sent some literature about programs that a number of B schools are teaching on "entrepreneurship and innovation." He is actually willing to support us getting into those programs. Even he admits the innovation seminars we are constantly attending can only get us to the beginning of what we need to do.

I've not yet read the book The Design of Things to Come that he suggested, but I've heard it has some pragmatic ideas on creating profit and growth by focusing on customer needs and desires, and that it has techniques that any of us can understand and incorporate into our process.... Deconstructing Innovation

Everyone is talking and writing about innovation. It is the fuel of business strategy. Design and innovation are words that are often used together or interchangeably. Design for us is both a broad concept of change through human problem solving and a word used to describe specific fields such as engineering design, interface design, or industrial design. The power of the new design for innovation is fueling an engine of change that is driving the production of things to come. It is the result of interdisciplinary teams, and it dynamically leads to comprehensive solutions that consumers respond to emotionally, cognitively, and then economically. Few books, however, provide an understanding of how to deconstruct the process in a way that anyone can use to turn a cost-centric approach into an innovation-driven strategy. The challenge in design for innovation is to help everyday people stretch and grow to accomplish extraordinary things.

As authors from three different disciplines, we are strongly committed to understanding the innovative process. We represent three core areas that companies rely on for innovation of physical products: business, engineering, and industrial design. As a result of our diversity and commitment to the topic, we believe it is possible to provide a distinct useful, usable, and desirable angle on the current trend of how companies are growing organically through innovation. We have developed an ability to see current and emerging issues through three sets of eyes translated into one common transdisciplinary voice. The result is something that can educate the novice and help experienced practitioners in business alike. The potential in companies is not just the ability to create a pool of talent and capability, but how to give diverse teams of people the power, methods, and courage to be creative and to explore new opportunities. As our own example of the power of teams, writing this book required significant give and take for each of us as individuals. The result is a product that is better than any one of us could have written in isolation.

In our roles as university professors, our work has evolved into a balance of research, consulting, and teaching that has allowed us to become an example of what we talk about in the book. We are not just reporting what we have observed; we have lived it. We know what it is like to manage interdisciplinary teams of bright, headstrong people and help them produce innovative and patentable solutions through our methods. We have impressed company executives with the ability to take a vague discussion of possible new markets and, using an integrated product development process in a university context, produce insightful, thoroughly developed and patented products. We have consulted with a wide variety of consumer and business-to-_business companies and helped them produce successful products. The first book of two of the authors, Creating Breakthrough Products, has been incorporated into the product development process of many small and large companies alike.

As research professors, we have had the opportunity to step back and reflect on what we have observed. We have identified consistent patterns that led to successful innovation. Our goal as writers was to produce a book that organizes and expresses these findings in a way that the Carolines, Ricks, and Pauls of the preceding vignette can incorporate into their way of thinking and practice. In short, it is a book written by people who have lived with, successfully managed, and thoroughly researched the topic. Said another way, we are armchair quarterbacks who have also played the game.

This book deconstructs innovation into understandable chunks that form a compelling argument of what innovation is, why it is important, and how you can begin to transform yourself and your company to meet the needs of the current marketplace. You cannot just hire innovative consultants; you have to learn to create an innovative culture organically within your company. That is the only way the core of your brand can be strategically connected to every product you make and service you provide.

This book is also about people who are at the heart of the innovation process. We mention two types of people throughout this book: those who purchase and/or use the product or service, and those in companies who are the innovative developers of the products and services. We include scenarios about the users throughout this book to provide a context for each chapter. The scenarios that start these chapters are fictitious. A common practice used in the early phase of development of new products and services, scenarios are often composites that represent critical aspects of the lifestyle tendencies of the intended market. The second type of people referred to are people in companies, and all of these people that we describe in our chapters are real. They have been extremely helpful and supportive in letting us find out what makes them tick and what enables them to become one of the new breed of innovators. We have worked with them in developing many of the case studies throughout this book.

This book is written to help you leverage your ability to find a way to thrive in the complex world we find ourselves in. As the often-used quote from Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities states, it is the best of times and the worst of times. The side of the coin you choose depends on how effective you are at turning obstacles into opportunities. You cannot plan for the future with the hope of always being lucky to succeed, but you can learn to always take full advantage of opportunities when you see them and increase the odds of success. As you look to the future and account for global economic and societal change, innovation is not everything; it is the only thing. Innovate or perish. Or, even worse, innovate or struggle to survive in the ever-tightening downward spiral toward cost-focused commoditization. Because there can be only one cheapest provider, no other choice is left.

This book is written in the sequence we would like you to read it, but each chapter stands on its own for the most part. We strongly suggest reading Chapters 1 through 3 before you roam. Chapter 1, "The New Breed of Innovator," talks about the new type of innovator, highlighting three outstanding leaders of innovation and aspects of their approach that anyone can use. Chapter 2, "Pragmatic Innovation—The New Mandate," argues that reliance on quality of manufacture initiatives can no longer be your buoy of survival; instead, innovation is the only approach to differentiation. Chapter 3, "The Art and Science of Business," gives a brief overview of the process of innovation and provides a context for understanding how to make it work for you.

The rest of the chapters discuss various aspects of the innovation process. Chapter 4, "Identifying Today's Trends for Tomorrow's Innovations," talks about reading trends and converting them into product and service opportunities. Chapter 5, "Design for Desire—The New Product Prescription," argues that innovation is about meeting people's desires, about fulfilling their fantasies. Chapter 6, "The Powers of Stakeholders—People Fueling Innovation," presents a new approach to analyzing all the stakeholders who affect or are affected by a product or service, a technique we call a Powers of 10 analysis. Chapter 7, "B-to-B Innovation—The New Frontier of Fantasy," argues that the business-to-business world is ripe for fantasy-driven innovation, and that a corporate strategic plan must connect the company to its brand and product.

Chapter 8, "Making Decisions for Profit—Success Emerging from Chaos," highlights the complexity of making decisions during the process of product development. Chapter 9, "A Process for Product Innovation," then highlights the detailed process focused on the earliest stages of product development, where innovation takes place. Chapter 10, "Creating a Blanket of IP to Protect Your Brand from the Elements," follows with a discussion of how to protect innovation and develop brands through the intellectual property system. Chapter 11, "To Hire Consultants or Build Internally—That Is the Question," helps you think about developing in-house innovation groups and complementing internal innovation with external consulting. Finally, the epilogue looks at the power of innovation through people and the opportunities they create.

We begin Chapter 1 with three people who manage large organizations and who have consistently produced innovative solutions in challenging and highly competitive markets. These individuals set the tone and provide the foundation of this book because each exemplifies the attributes of the new breed of innovator. As these three evolved in their professional careers, they connected their vocations and avocations to form a broader view—both of what was presently going on and of what was possible in the companies where they worked. As they developed, they were able to balance creative approaches with practical methods and to understand how to balance cost with a vision of how innovation could increase profits. Through a combination of education, personal ability, and effective partnerships, these three evolved into the role of the new breed of innovator, having established and managed environments for pragmatic innovation.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The new breed of innovator 1
Ch. 2 Pragmatic innovation - the new mandate 21
Ch. 3 The art and science of business 47
Ch. 4 Identifying today's trends for tomorrow's innovations 67
Ch. 5 Design for desire - the new product prescription 87
Ch. 6 The powers of stakeholders - people fueling innovation 105
Ch. 7 B-to-B innovation - the new frontier of fantasy 125
Ch. 8 Making decisions for profit - success emerging from chaos 145
Ch. 9 A process for product innovation 163
Ch. 10 Creating a blanket of IP to protect your brand from the elements 183
Ch. 11 To hire consultants or build internally - that is the question 199
Epilogue : the powers of innovation - the new economy of opportunity 221
Read More Show Less

Preface

PREFACE

What to Expect from This Book

Two guys walk into a Starbucks and wave to a woman at a table. After getting their lattes, they head over and join her.

Paul: Hey, Caroline, looks like you got here early.

Caroline: Traffic wasn't bad today. Did you two come together?

Rick: No. We just happened to arrive at the same time. How are you doing? How's work?

Caroline: It's pretty interesting these days. Today we had a planning meeting to set objectives for the next few quarters. We had a poor performance last year, and budgets are getting cut. I was asked to reduce cost by 20 percent and increase profits by 150 percent. She smiles.

Paul: Are these just goals to see how high you can jump? Or are they somewhat realistic?

Caroline: It's part of an ongoing internal discussion. We've gotten really efficient at delivering high quality with decent costs. But, you know, everybody else is pretty good at it now. So the discussion is about what to do next. For years, we've had the dual strategy of beefing up quality and reducing costs, and that strategy has worked well for us. But now, we're pretty close to the efficient frontier, and everyone else is catching up pretty quickly.

Rick: I know what you mean. We're lost as to how to respond to the latest competitor who is trying to drag everyone into a death rattle on price. It isn't like there is much more we can do with our manufacturing costs or quality. I am a black belt Six Sigma, and we've integrated the latest on lean manufacturing into our StageGate process. Now that we're accustomed to putting out high quality at low cost, we've settled back into our old bunkers. The sales force is on our back to put out some new product that can compete on cost. But we're putting out great stuff, so we wonder why sales can't move product by just showing buyers our quality difference.

Paul, now that I think about it, you guys don't seem to be in this cost battle at the moment. You guys are thinking innovation instead of costs, aren't you?

Paul: Yeah, I told you guys about the new CEO a while back. He has a different focus. Still too early to tell what will happen, but I have to say that there's excitement in the air that wasn't there before. He believes that we can no longer compete on price but instead need to be leaders in innovation. A couple of weeks ago, he sent out a memo with suggested reading. I read an article in Business Week about the power of design. Usually, articles about design just talk about industrial design and how they make products better. But this article was different. It said that product design means that everyone has to be innovative, not just the industrial designers you hire. Another article talked about the challenge of the growth of China, stressing how companies in Asia are getting smarter, not just cheaper, and that means innovation is the only way to compete. He also sent some literature about programs that a number of B schools are teaching on "entrepreneurship and innovation." He is actually willing to support us getting into those programs. Even he admits the innovation seminars we are constantly attending can only get us to the beginning of what we need to do.

I've not yet read the book The Design of Things to Come that he suggested, but I've heard it has some pragmatic ideas on creating profit and growth by focusing on customer needs and desires, and that it has techniques that any of us can understand and incorporate into our process....

Deconstructing Innovation

Everyone is talking and writing about innovation. It is the fuel of business strategy. Design and innovation are words that are often used together or interchangeably. Design for us is both a broad concept of change through human problem solving and a word used to describe specific fields such as engineering design, interface design, or industrial design. The power of the new design for innovation is fueling an engine of change that is driving the production of things to come. It is the result of interdisciplinary teams, and it dynamically leads to comprehensive solutions that consumers respond to emotionally, cognitively, and then economically. Few books, however, provide an understanding of how to deconstruct the process in a way that anyone can use to turn a cost-centric approach into an innovation-driven strategy. The challenge in design for innovation is to help everyday people stretch and grow to accomplish extraordinary things.

As authors from three different disciplines, we are strongly committed to understanding the innovative process. We represent three core areas that companies rely on for innovation of physical products: business, engineering, and industrial design. As a result of our diversity and commitment to the topic, we believe it is possible to provide a distinct useful, usable, and desirable angle on the current trend of how companies are growing organically through innovation. We have developed an ability to see current and emerging issues through three sets of eyes translated into one common transdisciplinary voice. The result is something that can educate the novice and help experienced practitioners in business alike. The potential in companies is not just the ability to create a pool of talent and capability, but how to give diverse teams of people the power, methods, and courage to be creative and to explore new opportunities. As our own example of the power of teams, writing this book required significant give and take for each of us as individuals. The result is a product that is better than any one of us could have written in isolation.

In our roles as university professors, our work has evolved into a balance of research, consulting, and teaching that has allowed us to become an example of what we talk about in the book. We are not just reporting what we have observed; we have lived it. We know what it is like to manage interdisciplinary teams of bright, headstrong people and help them produce innovative and patentable solutions through our methods. We have impressed company executives with the ability to take a vague discussion of possible new markets and, using an integrated product development process in a university context, produce insightful, thoroughly developed and patented products. We have consulted with a wide variety of consumer and business-to-_business companies and helped them produce successful products. The first book of two of the authors, Creating Breakthrough Products, has been incorporated into the product development process of many small and large companies alike.

As research professors, we have had the opportunity to step back and reflect on what we have observed. We have identified consistent patterns that led to successful innovation. Our goal as writers was to produce a book that organizes and expresses these findings in a way that the Carolines, Ricks, and Pauls of the preceding vignette can incorporate into their way of thinking and practice. In short, it is a book written by people who have lived with, successfully managed, and thoroughly researched the topic. Said another way, we are armchair quarterbacks who have also played the game.

This book deconstructs innovation into understandable chunks that form a compelling argument of what innovation is, why it is important, and how you can begin to transform yourself and your company to meet the needs of the current marketplace. You cannot just hire innovative consultants; you have to learn to create an innovative culture organically within your company. That is the only way the core of your brand can be strategically connected to every product you make and service you provide.

This book is also about people who are at the heart of the innovation process. We mention two types of people throughout this book: those who purchase and/or use the product or service, and those in companies who are the innovative developers of the products and services. We include scenarios about the users throughout this book to provide a context for each chapter. The scenarios that start these chapters are fictitious. A common practice used in the early phase of development of new products and services, scenarios are often composites that represent critical aspects of the lifestyle tendencies of the intended market. The second type of people referred to are people in companies, and all of these people that we describe in our chapters are real. They have been extremely helpful and supportive in letting us find out what makes them tick and what enables them to become one of the new breed of innovators. We have worked with them in developing many of the case studies throughout this book.

This book is written to help you leverage your ability to find a way to thrive in the complex world we find ourselves in. As the often-used quote from Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities states, it is the best of times and the worst of times. The side of the coin you choose depends on how effective you are at turning obstacles into opportunities. You cannot plan for the future with the hope of always being lucky to succeed, but you can learn to always take full advantage of opportunities when you see them and increase the odds of success. As you look to the future and account for global economic and societal change, innovation is not everything; it is the only thing. Innovate or perish. Or, even worse, innovate or struggle to survive in the ever-tightening downward spiral toward cost-focused commoditization. Because there can be only one cheapest provider, no other choice is left.

This book is written in the sequence we would like you to read it, but each chapter stands on its own for the most part. We strongly suggest reading Chapters 1 through 3 before you roam. Chapter 1, "The New Breed of Innovator," talks about the new type of innovator, highlighting three outstanding leaders of innovation and aspects of their approach that anyone can use. Chapter 2, "Pragmatic Innovation—The New Mandate," argues that reliance on quality of manufacture initiatives can no longer be your buoy of survival; instead, innovation is the only approach to differentiation. Chapter 3, "The Art and Science of Business," gives a brief overview of the process of innovation and provides a context for understanding how to make it work for you.

The rest of the chapters discuss various aspects of the innovation process. Chapter 4, "Identifying Today's Trends for Tomorrow's Innovations," talks about reading trends and converting them into product and service opportunities. Chapter 5, "Design for Desire—The New Product Prescription," argues that innovation is about meeting people's desires, about fulfilling their fantasies. Chapter 6, "The Powers of Stakeholders—People Fueling Innovation," presents a new approach to analyzing all the stakeholders who affect or are affected by a product or service, a technique we call a Powers of 10 analysis. Chapter 7, "B-to-B Innovation—The New Frontier of Fantasy," argues that the business-to-business world is ripe for fantasy-driven innovation, and that a corporate strategic plan must connect the company to its brand and product.

Chapter 8, "Making Decisions for Profit—Success Emerging from Chaos," highlights the complexity of making decisions during the process of product development. Chapter 9, "A Process for Product Innovation," then highlights the detailed process focused on the earliest stages of product development, where innovation takes place. Chapter 10, "Creating a Blanket of IP to Protect Your Brand from the Elements," follows with a discussion of how to protect innovation and develop brands through the intellectual property system. Chapter 11, "To Hire Consultants or Build Internally—That Is the Question," helps you think about developing in-house innovation groups and complementing internal innovation with external consulting. Finally, the epilogue looks at the power of innovation through people and the opportunities they create.

We begin Chapter 1 with three people who manage large organizations and who have consistently produced innovative solutions in challenging and highly competitive markets. These individuals set the tone and provide the foundation of this book because each exemplifies the attributes of the new breed of innovator. As these three evolved in their professional careers, they connected their vocations and avocations to form a broader view—both of what was presently going on and of what was possible in the companies where they worked. As they developed, they were able to balance creative approaches with practical methods and to understand how to balance cost with a vision of how innovation could increase profits. Through a combination of education, personal ability, and effective partnerships, these three evolved into the role of the new breed of innovator, having established and managed environments for pragmatic innovation.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

PREFACE

What to Expect from This Book

Two guys walk into a Starbucks and wave to a woman at a table. After getting their lattes, they head over and join her.

Paul: Hey, Caroline, looks like you got here early.

Caroline: Traffic wasn't bad today. Did you two come together?

Rick: No. We just happened to arrive at the same time. How are you doing? How's work?

Caroline: It's pretty interesting these days. Today we had a planning meeting to set objectives for the next few quarters. We had a poor performance last year, and budgets are getting cut. I was asked to reduce cost by 20 percent and increase profits by 150 percent. She smiles.

Paul: Are these just goals to see how high you can jump? Or are they somewhat realistic?

Caroline: It's part of an ongoing internal discussion. We've gotten really efficient at delivering high quality with decent costs. But, you know, everybody else is pretty good at it now. So the discussion is about what to do next. For years, we've had the dual strategy of beefing up quality and reducing costs, and that strategy has worked well for us. But now, we're pretty close to the efficient frontier, and everyone else is catching up pretty quickly.

Rick: I know what you mean. We're lost as to how to respond to the latest competitor who is trying to drag everyone into a death rattle on price. It isn't like there is much more we can do with our manufacturing costs or quality. I am a black belt Six Sigma, and we've integrated the latest on lean manufacturing into our StageGateprocess. Now that we're accustomed to putting out high quality at low cost, we've settled back into our old bunkers. The sales force is on our back to put out some new product that can compete on cost. But we're putting out great stuff, so we wonder why sales can't move product by just showing buyers our quality difference.

Paul, now that I think about it, you guys don't seem to be in this cost battle at the moment. You guys are thinking innovation instead of costs, aren't you?

Paul: Yeah, I told you guys about the new CEO a while back. He has a different focus. Still too early to tell what will happen, but I have to say that there's excitement in the air that wasn't there before. He believes that we can no longer compete on price but instead need to be leaders in innovation. A couple of weeks ago, he sent out a memo with suggested reading. I read an article in Business Week about the power of design. Usually, articles about design just talk about industrial design and how they make products better. But this article was different. It said that product design means that everyone has to be innovative, not just the industrial designers you hire. Another article talked about the challenge of the growth of China, stressing how companies in Asia are getting smarter, not just cheaper, and that means innovation is the only way to compete. He also sent some literature about programs that a number of B schools are teaching on "entrepreneurship and innovation." He is actually willing to support us getting into those programs. Even he admits the innovation seminars we are constantly attending can only get us to the beginning of what we need to do.

I've not yet read the book The Design of Things to Come that he suggested, but I've heard it has some pragmatic ideas on creating profit and growth by focusing on customer needs and desires, and that it has techniques that any of us can understand and incorporate into our process....

Deconstructing Innovation

Everyone is talking and writing about innovation. It is the fuel of business strategy. Design and innovation are words that are often used together or interchangeably. Design for us is both a broad concept of change through human problem solving and a word used to describe specific fields such as engineering design, interface design, or industrial design. The power of the new design for innovation is fueling an engine of change that is driving the production of things to come. It is the result of interdisciplinary teams, and it dynamically leads to comprehensive solutions that consumers respond to emotionally, cognitively, and then economically. Few books, however, provide an understanding of how to deconstruct the process in a way that anyone can use to turn a cost-centric approach into an innovation-driven strategy. The challenge in design for innovation is to help everyday people stretch and grow to accomplish extraordinary things.

As authors from three different disciplines, we are strongly committed to understanding the innovative process. We represent three core areas that companies rely on for innovation of physical products: business, engineering, and industrial design. As a result of our diversity and commitment to the topic, we believe it is possible to provide a distinct useful, usable, and desirable angle on the current trend of how companies are growing organically through innovation. We have developed an ability to see current and emerging issues through three sets of eyes translated into one common transdisciplinary voice. The result is something that can educate the novice and help experienced practitioners in business alike. The potential in companies is not just the ability to create a pool of talent and capability, but how to give diverse teams of people the power, methods, and courage to be creative and to explore new opportunities. As our own example of the power of teams, writing this book required significant give and take for each of us as individuals. The result is a product that is better than any one of us could have written in isolation.

In our roles as university professors, our work has evolved into a balance of research, consulting, and teaching that has allowed us to become an example of what we talk about in the book. We are not just reporting what we have observed; we have lived it. We know what it is like to manage interdisciplinary teams of bright, headstrong people and help them produce innovative and patentable solutions through our methods. We have impressed company executives with the ability to take a vague discussion of possible new markets and, using an integrated product development process in a university context, produce insightful, thoroughly developed and patented products. We have consulted with a wide variety of consumer and business-to-_business companies and helped them produce successful products. The first book of two of the authors, Creating Breakthrough Products, has been incorporated into the product development process of many small and large companies alike.

As research professors, we have had the opportunity to step back and reflect on what we have observed. We have identified consistent patterns that led to successful innovation. Our goal as writers was to produce a book that organizes and expresses these findings in a way that the Carolines, Ricks, and Pauls of the preceding vignette can incorporate into their way of thinking and practice. In short, it is a book written by people who have lived with, successfully managed, and thoroughly researched the topic. Said another way, we are armchair quarterbacks who have also played the game.

This book deconstructs innovation into understandable chunks that form a compelling argument of what innovation is, why it is important, and how you can begin to transform yourself and your company to meet the needs of the current marketplace. You cannot just hire innovative consultants; you have to learn to create an innovative culture organically within your company. That is the only way the core of your brand can be strategically connected to every product you make and service you provide.

This book is also about people who are at the heart of the innovation process. We mention two types of people throughout this book: those who purchase and/or use the product or service, and those in companies who are the innovative developers of the products and services. We include scenarios about the users throughout this book to provide a context for each chapter. The scenarios that start these chapters are fictitious. A common practice used in the early phase of development of new products and services, scenarios are often composites that represent critical aspects of the lifestyle tendencies of the intended market. The second type of people referred to are people in companies, and all of these people that we describe in our chapters are real. They have been extremely helpful and supportive in letting us find out what makes them tick and what enables them to become one of the new breed of innovators. We have worked with them in developing many of the case studies throughout this book.

This book is written to help you leverage your ability to find a way to thrive in the complex world we find ourselves in. As the often-used quote from Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities states, it is the best of times and the worst of times. The side of the coin you choose depends on how effective you are at turning obstacles into opportunities. You cannot plan for the future with the hope of always being lucky to succeed, but you can learn to always take full advantage of opportunities when you see them and increase the odds of success. As you look to the future and account for global economic and societal change, innovation is not everything; it is the only thing. Innovate or perish. Or, even worse, innovate or struggle to survive in the ever-tightening downward spiral toward cost-focused commoditization. Because there can be only one cheapest provider, no other choice is left.

This book is written in the sequence we would like you to read it, but each chapter stands on its own for the most part. We strongly suggest reading Chapters 1 through 3 before you roam. Chapter 1, "The New Breed of Innovator," talks about the new type of innovator, highlighting three outstanding leaders of innovation and aspects of their approach that anyone can use. Chapter 2, "Pragmatic Innovation--The New Mandate," argues that reliance on quality of manufacture initiatives can no longer be your buoy of survival; instead, innovation is the only approach to differentiation. Chapter 3, "The Art and Science of Business," gives a brief overview of the process of innovation and provides a context for understanding how to make it work for you.

The rest of the chapters discuss various aspects of the innovation process. Chapter 4, "Identifying Today's Trends for Tomorrow's Innovations," talks about reading trends and converting them into product and service opportunities. Chapter 5, "Design for Desire--The New Product Prescription," argues that innovation is about meeting people's desires, about fulfilling their fantasies. Chapter 6, "The Powers of Stakeholders--People Fueling Innovation," presents a new approach to analyzing all the stakeholders who affect or are affected by a product or service, a technique we call a Powers of 10 analysis. Chapter 7, "B-to-B Innovation--The New Frontier of Fantasy," argues that the business-to-business world is ripe for fantasy-driven innovation, and that a corporate strategic plan must connect the company to its brand and product.

Chapter 8, "Making Decisions for Profit--Success Emerging from Chaos," highlights the complexity of making decisions during the process of product development. Chapter 9, "A Process for Product Innovation," then highlights the detailed process focused on the earliest stages of product development, where innovation takes place. Chapter 10, "Creating a Blanket of IP to Protect Your Brand from the Elements," follows with a discussion of how to protect innovation and develop brands through the intellectual property system. Chapter 11, "To Hire Consultants or Build Internally--That Is the Question," helps you think about developing in-house innovation groups and complementing internal innovation with external consulting. Finally, the epilogue looks at the power of innovation through people and the opportunities they create.

We begin Chapter 1 with three people who manage large organizations and who have consistently produced innovative solutions in challenging and highly competitive markets. These individuals set the tone and provide the foundation of this book because each exemplifies the attributes of the new breed of innovator. As these three evolved in their professional careers, they connected their vocations and avocations to form a broader view--both of what was presently going on and of what was possible in the companies where they worked. As they developed, they were able to balance creative approaches with practical methods and to understand how to balance cost with a vision of how innovation could increase profits. Through a combination of education, personal ability, and effective partnerships, these three evolved into the role of the new breed of innovator, having established and managed environments for pragmatic innovation.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2006

    Practical Observations about Invention and Innovation

    We recommend this fascinating book to anyone directly engaged in innovation, working in a related field (from marketing to engineering) or curious about how new products come into being. Craig M. Vogel, Jonathan Cagan and Peter Boatwright share many case studies, which they generalize into rules for innovation. They offer useful, practical observations about current social changes. And, they do it all in lucid, personable prose their obvious affection for innovators gives the book warmth. However, despite their many examples, the authors don¿t - in the end - convince readers that the process they outline is really how innovation actually happens. They use author J. K. Rowling¿s successful Harry Potter books as a primary example of the role of fantasy in design - but they do not establish that her writing process resembles the pragmatic innovation methods they outline. Readers also may wish that they had answered one other question: why do some products that are not especially innovative do better in the marketplace than some that are truly new? This aside, the book¿s insider stories and advice are interesting, well focused and immediately applicable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2005

    innovation cannot be commoditised

    As an inventor, I found this book to be quite useful in broadening the scope of what inventors and would-be inventors should look at. The book makes the point that traditional inventing tends to focus on purely technological considerations. Often done by people with engineering or scientific backgrounds. But for a successful commercial product, the authors suggest SET - social, economic and technological. All these should be investigated and integrated into a final product. The motivation will be germane to many companies. Because now quality manufacturing is surely being performed by you and many of your competitors. In the last 20 years, such keynote ideas as Motorola's Six Sigma and Wal Mart's supply chain optimisations have percolated throughout the world. Quality is necessary but no longer sufficient. Unless you want to be the lowest cost producer in your industry. But by definition, there can only be one such in each industry. For others to survive, the book offers hope through embracing innovation. It points out that innovation cannot be commoditised. This may be your only enduring advantage. Plus, the book emphasises instituting a process of continual innovation. You have to expect that not all your resultant products will be hits. But by repetition, you can be like a casino house. Turn the iron hand of statistics to work in your favour.

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