Abstract

Recent studies on the added value that design provides to firms has led to widespread interest amongst the business community to develop design. However, knowledge of how organizations of varying industry types actually make use of design to generate competitive advantages remains limited. This study investigates a small- to medium- sized enterprise (SME) software firm that had recently taken steps to develop design capability1. The Dutch firm, titled CM, identified a need to increase design capability as a source of added competitiveness. During a six-month period, a design innovation catalyst (DIC) was embedded in the firm to build and integrate design capability across the firm. During the study’s duration, the catalyst found the barriers to design capability to be a prevailing data-driven approach to value creation, reliance on self- referential knowledge rather than hypothesis testing with customers and users and a general low urgency to embrace design. The manner in which CM now leverages design as a value creation mechanism is shaped by addressing the opposing barriers to change that were encountered within the firm. This paper contributes practical knowledge on how design can be built quickly over six months and become a vehicle for a software firm to move from data-driven to user-centred solutions.

Keywords:

design catalyst; user centred design; organizational learning; software

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Design Capability in a Software SME: report from an embedded design innovation catalyst

Recent studies on the added value that design provides to firms has led to widespread interest amongst the business community to develop design. However, knowledge of how organizations of varying industry types actually make use of design to generate competitive advantages remains limited. This study investigates a small- to medium- sized enterprise (SME) software firm that had recently taken steps to develop design capability1. The Dutch firm, titled CM, identified a need to increase design capability as a source of added competitiveness. During a six-month period, a design innovation catalyst (DIC) was embedded in the firm to build and integrate design capability across the firm. During the study’s duration, the catalyst found the barriers to design capability to be a prevailing data-driven approach to value creation, reliance on self- referential knowledge rather than hypothesis testing with customers and users and a general low urgency to embrace design. The manner in which CM now leverages design as a value creation mechanism is shaped by addressing the opposing barriers to change that were encountered within the firm. This paper contributes practical knowledge on how design can be built quickly over six months and become a vehicle for a software firm to move from data-driven to user-centred solutions.

 

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