The core of any design strategy is profitability, aligning the firms’ capabilities with user needs to create and capture value and, for the past decade, incremental innovation and user-centered design has been a successful approach. Observing, interviewing, shadowing and living as users have helped identify existing needs, clarify needs and realize new needs. However, user-centered design falls short when firms introduce breakthrough innovations by improving, importing or developing new technology. As Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked the people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
Co-design from business to product design solutions is seen as a potential new avenue for breakthrough innovation in design. Co-design is when firms and non-design users jointly design offerings. Examples range from surgical tools and sport equipment to Lego elements and software.
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