How to create a culture of Design-Led Innovation within your organisation?

How to create a culture of Design-Led Innovation within your organisation?

I have been hearing this a lot from different organisations leaders that how can we create a culture of  design-led innovation in our organisation?.

Lots of companies are acquiring small start-ups and medium size organisations, but they are not getting results what they want. The rules of the game are changing and we need each other more than ever before. We are the flag bearers of the methodology that the world is looking to at the best way to solve some very complex and pressing issues and we need each other to share information with us to really sharpen our craft so we can elevate and bring forth the best version out into this world.

Let me tell you a story of a man who walked into a video rental store in 1997 he had discovered an overview copy of Apollo 13 in his closet and is a good citizen, he wanted to the journal so he did so and he was informed that there is a $40 late fee for returning this DVD. He was very annoyed but it got him thinking that there’s a big market out there and his personal annoyance, he decided to do something about it. He decided to think of a better way to deliver home entertainment, so the manor story is Reed Hastings the store that he visited with blockbuster and the company he later founded was Netflix and the rest is history. It may be tempting to think that companies such as blockbuster that had no idea that their business will be destroyed in the near future. Within blockbuster there were very many passionate entrepreneurs who were making the case to change the business model, but they couldn’t save Blockbuster from Netflix resistance because their company’s main source of revenue was late fees.

Don’t be afraid to change the model – Reed Hastings

These kinds of disruptions can happen through technology deception it can be a business model deception like Uber or Air BnB or it could be a customer experience destruction. The pains of this innovative deception is actually rating, this is where we pause and we take inspiration from nature “when an egg is broken from an outside force life and when it is broken from an inside force not new life begins” Great things happen from the inside. In large organisations, there are many designers, entrepreneurs who are passionate and committed to helping and cut their companies ride the next wave of off of disruption and it’s the company leader or design leader meters to create the culture where we can really tap into this passion and creativity.

Uber is efficiency with elegance on top. That’s why I buy an iPhone instead of an average cell phone, why I go to a nice restaurant and pay a little bit more. It’s for the experience. – Travis Kalanick

I have worked with many clients on their strategic design & Co innovation projects so the stakeholders who are the innovators within their organisations, they are very inspired and they asked the question “why can all their projects work this way” and they tried to go and change the culture of their organisation, but unfortunately many of them work in very traditional places and they defeat face a number of barriers in creating this culture of innovation so we need to ask ourselves how can we help our customers.

I have created a simple framework for an innovation culture, it has three pillars people, process, and place, people refer to having people with the right skill set and the right mindset so if you think about innovation being at the confluence of business technology and design you need people from all three skill set to be part of the successful project right from the start.

In my experience, what I’ve observed is that companies know their business, they have business expertise, they have technology expertise, but the design expertise is either insufficient or completely missing so my hypothesis about innovation. Many companies are making acquisitions and extending their arms of innovation and design and filling this skill gap. These companies are filling the initial part which is people components with skills, but that’s not enough these companies need an anti organisation to embrace a design mindset in order to fulfill the promise of innovation.

Ex-employee of apple said that “the secret to apple success is not that they have the most designers or the best designers, it is that the entire organisation it has a design mindset and is committed to driving design innovations”.

I follow three tenants of a process that supports innovation:

  1. Empathy – really understanding your customers’ needs and collaborating across various disciplines
  2. Quick iteration and prototyping – learning through the process so a process that looks at a failure as an opportunity to learn rather than something to avoid
  3. An inspiring place that celebrates collaboration and creativity

The architecture and the design of spaces that we live in also have an effect on how we behave if you are an asylum office space, you’re pretty much expected to be very efficient and productive, whereas if you are in an open space where you have the opportunity, you know a lot of common area to to collapse great you know it to meet other people then you are encouraged to collaborate and it breaks down hierarchy and build connections with different disciplines with this kind of radical collaboration is really the essence of innovation.


Conclusion: It is not enough to acquire a company and just getting the talent in your organisation, you also need to put effort to have this design mindset within the organisation. Second is to have a process that supports innovation and not endured this so what are the process they have to implement to get organisation mindset right.

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