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Project work about design driven innovation. Ca' Foscari University of Venice. Teresa Guidone, Roberta Pessotto e Federica Lazzarini

Roberta Pessotto

on 10 December 2014

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FIAT 500
The management understood many years ago that it had to find out a way to be innovative and competitive.

In 2008 Fiat launched
FIAT 500

a successful DESIGN MODEL
thanks to:

the revival of a happy and authentic both individual and collective past;
the best use of information gathered at the very source (interactions with customer-users).

Italian Design Firm
It is one of the most successful home-furnishings companies that creates highly marketable products with distinctive design profiles.

By working with hundreds of outside designers, Alessi has produced a wide range of houseware products and has extended its innovative hand into other areas, such as watches, textiles, phones, and cars.
Design contributes to creating unique competitive advantages that help the move away from pure price competition, not least through the creation and strengthening of identities and brands at corporate or product level.
Steps of the design involvement in company value chain. Before a company is able to implement design in its value chain, there some stage it has to afford. These steps can not be consequential.

When a company invests in design research, it gains a comparative advantage and it contributes to innovate the idea of an item.

As every kind of innovation in the first period it brings to
because the innovative company is leader in the market with its new idea; in the long terms innovation brings to
and competition.

Innovation leads to employment.

Innovation pushes company to imitate successful strategy. If a new design for an item is established among customers, competitors will try to imitate.

Much more wealth
because innovation leads to employment. In this case there is a new important agent in the value chain: the designer. Design academy and design institute are more and more diffuse.

Satisfaction of new needs
. Design helps companies to meet the needs of consumers and users in a better way as it allows for increased usability and user-friendliness.

Possibility of innovation for non-tecnological sector.
Sectors and regions characterized by non- technological activities and SMEs can exploit design to be innovative.

The main novelty

• An easier architecture
• a single system of rules
• a simplified model of reimbursement of costs
• less bureaucracy in the preparation of proposals
• fewer ex post controls and audits
• reduction of 100 days, the average time of the grant award

• Funding to cover all activities, from research to market
• Increased support to activities close to market
• Strong emphasis on creating business opportunities
• Increased support to the implementation and dissemination of innovative processes and products
• Extensive use of financial instruments with leverage


Design is also a tool for
innovation in mature markets

where technological development brings only marginal improvements to the end-user, and in low-tech markets.
Good design can increase sales revenues and profit margins by differentiating products and services, making them more attractive to customers.
Not only design gives a mature product a ‘new look’ but it also weave — together with marketing — in considerations of an intangible nature related to user needs, aspirations, image and culture. .

Horion 2020 is a program developed by European Union focused on research and innovation ( 2013-2020).
This program is addressed to SMEs (
small medium enterprises
) , with the specific purpose of stimulating sustainable economic growth by increasing level of innovation though various activities, such as;
information and dissemination,
training and mobility,
networking and exchange of best practices,
development of mechanisms to
support innovation of high quality
and services with high added value of European SMEs, as well as support activities to help SMEs to make contact with partner research and innovation across the Union.

The objective is pursued through the instrument for SMEs, a tool that provides support throughout the innovation cycle and it is aimed at all types of innovative SMEs which show a strong desire for development, growth and internationalization.

This tool is used to achieve the objectives and priorities scattered within the program Horizon 2020, in particular in the priority challenges for society and industry leadership.

Design driven innovation is the contribute of design to renewal and

, making the companies more competitive, more profitable and able to grow faster than those who do not invest in this field.

In the current economic climate, where resources for innovation are scarce, design and other non-technological innovation drivers, such as organizational development, employee-involvement and branding, become particularly relevant.
Roberta Pessotto
Teresa Guidone
Federica Lazzarin

If you would like to know more about design driven innovation, we post here some videos and articles about this topic.
Interview to Alberto Alessi, Director of Design Management at Alessi
Article from Harvard Business
Review by R. Verganti.

What is Design Driven innovation
Fiat Design Strategy
End of the 19th century
21st century
The oldest program dates back to the end of the 19th century in Scandinavia in the craft sector; followed USA and other developed and develping countries
A great number of countries have seen the establishment of professional organizations for industrial design: Australia, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.
These associations aimed to promote the use of design in mass production and as an asset for trade and export.
The interest in this driver has “calmed down” but in the 21st century has caught the attention of design as driver of innovation.
Today more or less all countries develop initiatives to support this process.
In Italy, in the 2007 was created the Italian Design Council.
In France was issued a document with recommendations on how have to strengthen the use of design
‘Asian tigers’, notably South Korea and Singapore, have promoted design heavily for a number of years as a way to increase product value and competitiveness
South Korea is currently implementing its fourth five-year plan for industrial design promotion.
Singapore set up a Design Council in 2003.
Recently an important development in national design policies was run by the Asian giants such as China and India, and many others.
As for taxonomy, this kind of innovation can be seen as an

incremental innovation

because it is based on renewing existent products but in some cases it is a radical process of innovation.

It is an innovation that involves manufacturing industry because it interests how an item looks like.

It is an innovation that responds to a new demand of the market; a great number of companies involves customers in surveys in order to understand what they want in exterior design.
Design innovation can be raleted to the theory called
“Schumpeter mark II"
The design requires innovation based on the works of the team that take place inside large companies.
Materials, Knowledge, Know-how are necessary to allow someone to innovate and more often only companies have all the financial, human and material needed resources.

This driver providers
intense collaboration
both inside and outside of the company, in order to understand customers’ tastes, to discovery latent needs, all in order to push the innovation.
Companies often turn to specialists but they also start to ask customers what a products should look like.
They also interact with clients to find out innovative design; in this way common people have a role in production.


At a macro-economic level, there is a strong positive correlation between the use of design and national competitiveness.

National system is formed by companies, institutions and R&D institutes.
If companies are more competitive thanks to design, the whole system will benefit and institution will invest much more resources in this field.
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