Abstract

This research sets out to uncover how design is contributing more intensively to new product development. More precisely, it aims to understand the growing involvement of designers, and in particular consultancy designers, in NPD in mature product categories. The study seeks to build on recent evidence of design taking a greater leadership and strategic role in new product development, particularly in embracing the theory and praxis of the discipline of marketing. The research methodology involved a quasi-ethnographic case study within a medium-size, internationally focused design consultancy undergoing significant transition. Three key areas/themes mediating designer involvement in new product development emerged in the findings: (1) a broadened designer remit, (2) the importance of consultancy-client relationships, and (3) a performance-design tension. If design consultancies take greater leadership in NPD, new marketing-related competencies will have to be adopted by designers, designers will have to be more sensitised and knowledgeable about the types and intensities of consultancy-client relationships, and designers and managers will have to actively manage the sometimes contradictory tensions between design integrity and commercial hard sell.

Keywords:

New Product Development, Design Strategy, Design Process, Consultancy Design

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Consultancy Designer Involvement in New Product Development in Mature Product Categories: Who Leads, the Designer or the Marketer?

This research sets out to uncover how design is contributing more intensively to new product development. More precisely, it aims to understand the growing involvement of designers, and in particular consultancy designers, in NPD in mature product categories. The study seeks to build on recent evidence of design taking a greater leadership and strategic role in new product development, particularly in embracing the theory and praxis of the discipline of marketing. The research methodology involved a quasi-ethnographic case study within a medium-size, internationally focused design consultancy undergoing significant transition. Three key areas/themes mediating designer involvement in new product development emerged in the findings: (1) a broadened designer remit, (2) the importance of consultancy-client relationships, and (3) a performance-design tension. If design consultancies take greater leadership in NPD, new marketing-related competencies will have to be adopted by designers, designers will have to be more sensitised and knowledgeable about the types and intensities of consultancy-client relationships, and designers and managers will have to actively manage the sometimes contradictory tensions between design integrity and commercial hard sell.

 

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