I attended Innovate 2015 as an exhibitor this week and was very pleased to see the launch of the ‘Design in innovation strategy 2015-2019’ report (downloadable here for free from Innovate UK – formerly Technology Strategy Board).

Innovate UK demonstrate the value of design at the strategic business levels as an essential tool to create value based upon key insights early on to avoid costly mistakes later on in the innovation process. Something that happens only too often, particularly for technically focussed startups.

Some simple tools are also proposed explaining how to frame and understand basic principals and overall outlining of the design in innovation process as well as the various ways in which firms currently under-use design at various project phases, rather than from start to finish and early-on. This will be very useful for those in organisations looking to promote higher design thinking earlier on in the design process and gain management buy-in.

The overall strategy for the next 4 years outlines a five point plan of advocation, community development, funding, investment and support through the following:

  1. Accelerate UK economic growth
  2. Building on innovation excellence in the UK
  3. Developing catapults
  4. Working with research communities
  5. Evolving models of funding

Although many of these points are mere extensions of existing support systems and frameworks, it is encouraging to see that design and innovation are still highly regarded as essential drivers for economic growth, rather than being on the receiving end of cut-backs and austerity measures continually phased-in by government.

The plan is a useful document for design teams to build a case for advocation and use design principals early-on in the innovation process and is definitely worth a read.


If you would like to go deeper into design in innovation principals, I would thoroughly recommend Design Driven Innovation by Roberto Verganti.

Mike Pinder

About Mike Pinder

Mike Pinder is a Senior Innovation Consultant at Board of Innovation, helping global Fortune 500 to innovate like startups from innovation strategy to design thinking, lean startup and business model innovation to create intrapreneurial troublemakers. With 10+ years’ experience guiding executives and project teams, cross-industry in B2B/B2C for clients like GE, ABinBev, ZF, Logitech, ING, Bpost. His research interests center around external hacker innovation communities and their role on design trajectories within large corporates.

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