Design-Based Innovation

Integrating Design for Success in Innovation

Ugly Is Not Profitable


RyanJacobyThe April 22 -23 Center for Creative Economy Triad Design Leadershop addressed “Ugly is not Profitable.” Ryan Jacoby delivered an energetic, humorous and creative keynote talk on Tuesday evening. He addressed the process of Design-Based Innovation focusing on both the overall model flow and important elements to include under each of the model segments.

The large audience (100 plus) had many questions and comments that connected Ryan’s content to the challenges they face in their businesses.

Wednesday’s all-day workshop allowed the 30 participants the chance to put Ryan’s content into practice by addressing identified problem statements. This energetic small team experience included learning to focus on the customer’s job to be done, establishing a diverse team, using a divergent and convergent thinking process for both problem clarification and opportunity identification and experiencing the value of prototyping early and often.

Being one of the facilitators, I witnessed the progress and enthusiasm of the teams and realized how much an open and creative group can absorb in a true hands-on learning workshop.

by Bill Knowles

3 thoughts on “Ugly Is Not Profitable

  1. Bill Knowles refers to a 30 person exercise to put into practice some of Ryan Jacoby’s content. The establishment of a diverse team is sighted as an important outcome. Design-Based Innovation (DBI) advocates the development of a ‘Smart Team’ as part of the initiation segment of the DBI process flow. This is fortified by many great design thinking subject matter experts. Tim Brown, author of the book, Change By Design, states; “Smart teams have a mindset for avocation, inspiration, ideation and implementation.

    Clearly, to help achieve the above mentioned mindset, a diverse team is crucial. It accounts for the needed mix of backgrounds and experience which lend itself to a greater potential outcome of new growth opportunities. However, another mindset seen within a properly developed smart team is the ongoing pursuit of a meaningful shared dialogue.

    So what would we notice within a smart team that has the developed capability of a shared meaningful dialogue? There is a higher level of inquiry and human entered, viable and empathetic dialogue. You experience less of the skilful positioning of one person’s opinion in opposition to another person’s opinion. In other words the dialogue moves away from a competitive discussion to a more accepting dialogue. A smart team therefore clearly has a greater level of participation because there is very little evidence of withdrawal, labelling or excessive control. The result is a more wholesome feeling, which can lead to greater outputs and greater outcomes.

  2. You’ve put together a most interesting site on design based innovation. I’ve read a couple of the articles, and they resonate with me, for I see most firms we work with in our consulting business not understanding nor embracing innovation at all. At best they assume someone in R&D is doing that for us, or from a distributor or dealer perspective, they say “oh, that’s what I’ve got a relationship with xyz supplier for, our focus here is customer service”. The reality is, as you and Bill have articulated, everyone, every team and every group/adhoc team needs to innovate both the “what” and the process around the “how”, in every part of the business; customer service, sales, production, admin, finance etc. It’s good that both you and Bill have created this site, this kind of initiative, is what will raise the engagement, understanding, and application of innovation. Good on you Uri!

    • Bruce, thanks for your comments on my Design-Based Innovation posts. You are correct that most companies think innvoation belongs in R&D and if you interviewed a person on th street about where you would find innovation in a corporation the answer would probably be “in R&D”. The important thing is that it should be found everywhere, the mail room, in the legal team, in commercial teams, HR – you get the point. Every business unit needs to be better at their processes, their services and their products. The customer may be external or internal but we all need to understand their job to be done and how we can provide a better solution to their problems. Your reference to “raise the engagement” is so important. To me, that term means that people see value and are willing to take risks and learn from failures to provide new and better options. Thanks, Bruce!

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