11.12.15 / Innovation through Design

Design and innovation are inextricably intertwined. Design gives form to ideas, making new products practical and attractive to users, thereby increasing the prospect of successful implementation or commercialisation.

Not surprisingly then, businesses with a track record of innovation usually have a strong appreciation for the role that product design plays in taking their products to market. And yet, I am often surprised at how little store is placed in the role that communication orgraphic design plays in that process.

Graphic design is of unequivocal importance in greasing the wheels of innovation. It is the catalyst driving successful commercialisation and can, clearly, be the difference between success and oblivion.


In fact, research in the United Kingdom shows that businesses to which design is integral to operations are almost twice as likely to have introduced new products or services compared to those who are not design alert (71% versus the UK average of 40%)*.


The key to using graphic design to enhance your prospects of success, lies in understanding what can be achieved through the effective use of your design resource.


Graphic design, initially, puts a face to your innovation, making it tangible, engaging and easier to understand. It gives your innovation a visual identity, creates coherent and compelling communication material, and, eventually brands the product or service for market. 


As a result, the innovation process can expect numerous beneficial results. 


Improved prospects of securing funding: You are more likely to persuade both individuals and institutions to invest in the innovation. Levels of investment are also likely to be higher.

Improved stakeholder engagement: You have a better chance of engaging important decision makers, both within and outside of the business, in support of your innovation – and to retain their support at times when the project fails to run exactly to plan.

Cost reduction and speed to market: By establishing a clear, coherent vision, co-workers will align behind your innovation, driving it forward with greater focus and energy. In addition, you are more likely to attract better quality talent when engaging new people to work on the project. The likely outcome will be material cost-savings and increased speed to market.

Enhanced market appeal: Innovation, by definition, means a change to the status quo. This increases the importance of developing a strong brand for consumers to engage with.

The branding process sets the vision and direction for your innovation into the future. It establishes the brand promise; positions it as unique from your competitors and creates coherence both within your own product portfolio and the market at large.

Importantly, the brand strategy provides the basis for the development of your advertising, social media and other temporal marketing – and a yardstick against which it should be judged.

Design is good business. Long-term qualitative and quantitative research means the jury is no longer out. We now know that businesses that engage with the process of design – both product and graphic – are not only more likely to innovate, but also to succeed.

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Posted By
Lee Selsick

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