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Academic

Design Management
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19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference


Design Management in an Era of Disruption
London, 24 September 2014

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THE ROLE OF DESIGN IN INNOVATION PROCESSES IN INNOVATIVE COMPANIES IN BRAZIL

In the Brazilian context, the lack of studies to assess the importance of design to
the innovative process in an integrated manner is a fact. This study aims to analyze
the role of design in innovation processes in companies recognized nationally as
innovative. The research was based on the quantitative method through survey and
on qualitative in-depth interviews with three companies comprising the ranking As
Mais Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista poca Negcios de 2011. It can be identified,
from the relationship between innovation and design, an emphasis on the
management of the innovation processes with design being considered a strategic
requirement, but used in a restricted way. As for the qualitative study, it is
understood that two organizations are driven by design. In such cases, the design is
present in all stages of the innovation process, contributing to the development of a
systemic view that sees beyond the product, the communication and the experience.
Keywords: Innovation; design-driven innovation; strategic design

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conference, provided that the author(s), source and copyright notice are included on each copy. For
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Introduction
The economy growth and the need for constant changes stimulate the
organizations of the contemporary world to consider the development of
innovation as an essential process (Tidd, Bessant, & Pavitt, 2008). However, there
are challenges inherent to this process, and companies are constantly seeking the
best solutions to overcome them. It is important that it occurs continuously,
providing the sustainable growth of the organization in the market. Converging to
this idea, Fetterhoff and Voelkel (2006), Van der Meer (2007) and Schumpeter
(1934) expose that innovation should generate competitive advantage and
economic development and, consequently, bring monetary results and perceived
value related to products and services.
Organizations are seeking knowledge, expertise, methodologies and practices
that can assist in generating innovation (Kelley, 2001). As an advance in relation to
current practices, less linear methods have appeared, with the purpose of
integrating the design to the organizational practices, so that it operates as an
element interrelated to the traditional processes already established. In this
context, we highlight the strategic design methodology which, according to Zurlo
(2006), aims to perform activities of projection, whose object is the set of
integrated products, services and communication (product-system).
Although the relevance of the subject innovation is present in numerous
publications (Ardayfio, 2000; Utterback, 2007; Verganti, 2008), it is understood,
based on a search analyzing studies found in the database EBSCOhost, through the
key words innovation and design, that there is a gap in the Brazilian context of
studies that evaluate the importance of design to the innovation process in an
integrated way. In the light of these theories the research problem is established:
what is the role of design in innovation processes in innovative companies in Brazil?
To seek evidence on the issue, the present study has as its general objective to
analyze the role of design in innovation processes in companies recognized
nationally as innovative.
In order to achieve the objective a quantitative research through an online
survey was developed, applied to the managers of the innovation area in
seventeen companies present in the technological parks Tecnosinos and Tecnopuc,
refered in the ranking As Mais Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista poca Negcios de
2011, and in the Frum da Inovao da Fundao Getlio Vargas (FGV). Then
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there was a qualitative study with three companies ranked among the five most
innovative in the ranking cited.
The study, motivated by a research project in the area, aims to contribute to
further discussion and theorizing in the field of design-driven innovation, expanding
the vision focused on a single organization for a broader perspective. This
perspective considers that the diagnostic of the design role in innovation processes
can support the construction of organizational networks and increase the
competitiveness of different regions.
Besides this introduction, the paper is divided into seven parts. The first refers
to the critical literature review and consists of three sections: Organizational
Innovation, Innovation and Design and Conceptual Schema of Research. The
following section explains the research methodology and how the data was
collected and analysed. The next section corresponds to the description and
analysis of results. Finally, it presents the main conclusions of the study.

Organizational Innovation
The changes and the market dynamism, characteristics relevant to the global
economic scenario, arouse competitiveness and the need for companies to thrive,
making organizations choose the initiative of innovation. From the economist
Schumpeter's legacy, the concept of innovation can be understood as creative
destruction that generates spontaneous and discontinuous changes, causing the
disruption of the balance achieved in the circular flow of the economic system
(Costa, 2006). Thus, innovation is the development or improvement of a product
(good or service) and an internal or external process in the organization (Oslo
Manual, 2007), generating competitive advantage and monetary value for
companies (Van Der Meer, 2007).
In the view of Martin and Morich (2011), the new consumer has a different
pattern of behavior. The ease in obtaining information as a result of market
dynamism suggests that consumers can easily compare, for example, information
about competitors in the market. This fact implies in a higher level of demand and
consumer expectations regarding products or services. Therefore, the unmet need
of the society and existing technology are the basic conditions that drive innovation
(Fetterhoff and Voelkel, 2006).
Understanding the concept of innovation can be deeply based on the
approaches of Kelley (2001), which relates this process to leverage of creativity,
creating value through new products, services and businesses. About this
perspective, he recommends setting up a culture for innovation, outlining the path
that will be followed in the context of each company. Among the different barriers
and opportunities to innovate, it recognizes the role of initiative, of creativity and
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the commitment of employees, intrinsic to the organizational culture. Moreover,
the strategy, the structure and the environment are highlighted as drivers of
development of this culture, which appears as a determinant factor in the creation
of a climate conducive to innovation (Acosta, Ramos, Del Rio, & Morejn, 2012).
The activity of innovation, according to the Oslo Manual (2007), corresponds to
four different typologies, understood as: product innovations, which relate to
significant changes in the potential of existing or completely new goods and
services; process innovations that represent significant changes in methods of
production and distribution; organizational innovations, which involve the use of
new methods, such as changes in business practices; market innovations through
the implementation of new marketing methods, which include changes in the
design of the product and packaging, promotion of the product and its marketing.
Finally, aiming to leverage the innovation process in the actual context,
methods oriented by design have arised, which propose that companies meet the
demands of the society through the development of innovations with languages,
messages and different meanings to consumers. It explains, then, the importance
of the act of designing as an element interrelated to the innovation processes.

Innovation and Design


Innovation and design are practices that have an interrelation justified to the
extent that the design converges with problems of a complex nature, ill-defined
(Cross, 1982). The same author also states that the designer has specific knowledge
that is directly related to the way of operating theory and practice, seeking a better
definition of the problems treated. Corroborating this idea, Martin (2005) shows
that the connection between theory and practice occurs through the projects. The
existent culture of projects felt the need to be structured in order to contribute
more effectively in the project, in the development and in the implementation of
new strategies, essential to face the scenarios of the globalization and of the
knowledge economy (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).

Academic
Design Management
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19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference


Design Management in an Era of Disruption
London, 24 September 2014

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The design can spread its "projective thinking" (design thinking), proposing the
project as a new paradigm of innovation (Brown, 2010). In a broader definition,
design means the activity to innovate in a product-service system to provide
solutions perceived by consumers (Zurlo, 2006).

Mapping Theory
The relationship between innovation and design has been broadly discussed in
the literature (Brown, 2010; Kelley, 2001; Verganti, 2008; Vieira, 2009), through
studies that present a state of the art mapping in reference to the subject designdriven innovation.
However, it is understood that there is a requirement to identify papers that
present design as a driving element to innovative processes. Accordingly, a
theoretical mapping of the major papers consolidated in the database EBSCOhost
was built, which has some relation to the theme. The survey considered
publications between the years 2008 to 2012. The materials found were classified
according to some factors regarding the objectives of the study.
The search in the database EBSCO (2012) was performed based on the following
keywords: design and innovation; 48 related articles were found, but eleven,
predominant to the theme, were chosen to be analysed. The selected and classified
articles are presented in Table 1.

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author(s). Permission is granted to reproduce copies of these works for purposes relevant to the above
conference, provided that the author(s), source and copyright notice are included on each copy. For
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Design

Process

Project

TechnologY

Creativity

Journal

Dev. of New Prod.

R&D

Author

Market Orientation

Acklin

The Design
Management
Institute

2010

Na; Boult

The Design
Management
Institute

2010

Journal Of Product
Innovation
Management

2010

Journal Of Product
Innovation
Management

2009

Carbonell;
RodrguezEscudero; Pujari

Journal Of Product
Innovation
Management

2009

2009

Athaide; Klink

Journal Of Product
Innovation
Management

2009

Chiva; Alegre

Journal Of Product
Innovation
Management

Zhong; Ozdemir

Industrial &
Corporate Change

2010

Flight; D'Souza;
Allaway

Journal Of Product
& Brand
Management

2011

2008

Year

Innovation

Table 1 - Analysis and classification of paper in the period 2008-2012

NAKATA; IM
Kelley

Armbruster;
Bikfalvi; Steffen;
Lay

Science Direct
2008

Verganti

Journal Of Product
Innovation
Management

2011

Verganti

Journal Of Product
Innovation
Management

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Analyzing the articles identified in the mapping theory, it is clear that different
theories are discussed with respect to innovation and design. The theme
innovation is present in all studies pertaining to the mapping, being, in some cases,
restricted to the measurement of organizational innovation through scales
developed for this purpose (Armbruster, Bikfalvi, Kinkel, & Lay, 2008; Flight,
DSouza, & Allaway, 2011; Zhong and Ozdemir, 2010), innovation and teams in the
development of new products (Na and Boult, 2010; Nakata and Im, 2010),
integration of consumers towards the innovative process in the technology and
marketing way (Athaide and Klink, 2009; Carbonell, Rodrguez-Escudero, & Pujari,
2009) and innovation related with the strategy (Acklin, 2010; Chiva and Gay, 2009;
Kelley, 2009; Verganti, 2008; 2009).The representation of the design is understood
through the analysis of articles (Athaide and Klink, 2009; Carbonell et al., 2009; Na
and Boult, 2010; Nakata and Im, 2010) that address the role of enhancing the
formation of multidisciplinary teams and consumer involvement in the
development of new products. In a narrower sense, the design is also specifically
related to the form (style) of the product (Flight et al., 2011).
Although there is a relationship among the papers addressing the theme design,
the study is restricted to the papers that follow the design-driven innovation
approach (Acklin, 2010; Kelley, 2009; Chiva and Gay, 2009; Verganti, 2009; 2011). It
is understandable, therefore, the lack of studies that present, in an integrated
manner, the design as a driver for innovation. In this context, the next section takes
care of presenting the critical literature to the subject design-driven innovation.

Design-driven Innovation
The design must provide the various stages involved in the development of a
new product or service. The companies find in design a means for differentiation
and success, achieving significant competitive outcomes by adopting this strategy
(Ardayfio, 2000; Utterback, 2007).
The designer develops artifacts thinking beyond the object, but based on a
delivery system known as "product-system" (see in figure 1). According to Mozota
(2003), the design is a macro process that, in the corporate structure, impacts on
the operational level (the project), on the organizational level (department), on the
strategic level (mission) and on different existing areas, making it a relevant
resource to organizational management (Walton, 2000).
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19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference


Design Management in an Era of Disruption
London, 24 September 2014

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Figure 1 Product - system


Source: VIERA (2009).

Conducting projects' activities, in which the object is an integrated set of


products, services and communication (Figure 1), permeates the companies'
presentation to the market, their placement in society and the formation of the
strategy itself, being defined as strategic design (Zurlo, 2006). Based on this
approach, the relevance of design driven organizations is understood. This
methodology proposes an improvement to the models of innovation, market-pull
(pulled by the market) and technology-push (pushed by technology), as proposed
by Verganti (2009), in Figure 2.

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the author(s). Permission is granted to reproduce copies of these works for purposes relevant
to the above conference, provided that the author(s), source and copyright notice are included
on each copy. For other uses, including extended quotation, please contact the author(s).

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Figure 2 Innovation by design


Source: VERGANTI, 2009.

It seems, when analyzing the figure, that the innovation by design permeates
the classification of radical and incremental and is directly related to the generation
of new meanings. For the author, there are three types of innovation:
a) innovation pushed by technology it is a process that results of technological
research.
b) Innovation pushed by the market - part of the analysis of user needs, which
later turns to technological and language research that can actually satisfy you.
c) Innovation by design - starting from the understanding of subtle and
intangible aspects present in the sociocultural context, resulting in new productsservices with radical languages and meanings. It is characterized as: i) an
investigation into network; ii) embracing, acting outside the bounds of the
company; iii) based on knowledge sharing (sociocultural models, meanings and
languages); iv) influential and modifier of the sociocultural system.
Accordingly, firms practicing design-drive innovation, should be aware that the
main difference is that innovations are designed to provide a consumer experience
to end customers (Verganti, 2009). Humans consume by strong emotional,
psychological and sociocultural reasons. Therefore, organizations and individuals
may have different ways of relating to innovation (Hippel, 2009 apud Hall and
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Rosenberg, 2010). Considering that the consumer has stopped granting the highest
level of satisfaction to the aesthetic and functional characteristics for delivering
meaning.
A critical review of the literature presented was constructed to pervade the
discussion about organizational innovation and innovation and design, serving as a
foundation for the research proposed in this study. It concluded that innovation is a
key factor for companies to evolve and to differentiate regarding their competitors.
In order to pursue different strategies for the generation of innovations, it
highlights design as an element to be integrated into innovative processes. In order
to synthesize the concepts presented so far, the next section presents a theoretical
framework. Furthermore, as a basis for understanding the role of design in
innovation processes in a practical way, a model of design-driven innovation spiral
is exposed.

Conceptual Scheme Of Research


Considering the importance of the discussions held about the issues
organizational innovation and innovation and design, a theoretical framework was
developed (see in Table 2). The report presents a synthesis of the theories
discussed, classifying them in the variables that will be guiding the next steps of the
study.

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Table 2 Theoretical synthesis of the research


Section

1
ORGANIZATIONAL
INNOVATION

Concept
Attributes for the
construction of an
innovative
organization

Variable
- Management
of the
innovation
process

Classification and
types of
innovation

Representation of
the design

-Incremental
-Radical
-Product
-Process
-Culture of
innovation
-Culture of
Creativity
- The role of
design

Strategic Design

- Product-system

Design thinking

-External
partnership
-Relationship
between
innovation and
design
-Stages of the
innovation
process using
design
-Project of
design in the
innovation
process

Consolidation of
innovation culture

2 INNOVATION
AND DESIGN

Design-driven
innovatio

Principal Authors
Martin and Morich
(2011); Tidd, Bessant
and Pavitt (2008);
Manual de Oslo (OECD,
2007); Van Der Meer
(2007); Fetterhoff and
Voelkel (2006).
Manual de Oslo (OECD,
2007); Henderson and
Clark (1990).
Acosta, et al. (2012);
Barbieri and lvares
(2003); Kelley (2001).
Martin (2005); Mozota
(2003); Walton (2000);
Cross (1982).
Viera (2009); Zurlo
(2006);
Brown (2010).
Franzato (2011); Hippel
(2009 apud Hall;
Rosenberg, 2010);
Verganti (2009) and
(2008); Utterback
(2007); Ardayfio (2000).

The survey includes companies with different characteristics and realities. Thus,
it is important to define the variables that will guide the analyzes relevant to the
practical study. Because these analyzes pervade the discussion of the innovation
process and the impact of the design in this process, it was decided to adopt the
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Franzato model (2011), which proposes a spiral for design-driven innovation, as
seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Analysis model for qualitative research: Spiral design-driven innovation


Source: FRANZATO, 2011.

The model adopted assists in the analysis and discussion of concepts and
variables relevant to this study because it considers the analysis of the design
process with innovation as the center of this process, thus allowing us to evaluate if
the organization works with design driven innovation; if the companies work with a
culture of innovation that has the central role in the development of new products
or processes and, in addition, if design projects that go through the four key stages
to reach innovation are adopted in practice, generating a continuous cycle, and
working with innovation and design in an associated way.

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Methodology
The objective of this paper is to analyze the role of design in innovation
processes in companies recognized nationally as innovative, so the study is
characterized as exploratory, the most appropriate type of research, because it
allows the exploration and the search for understanding some phenomena
underexplored and it is characterized by flexibility and versatility with respect to
methods (Aaker, Kumar, & Day, 2007). The research was divided into five phases
(Figure 4).

Figure 4 Research Methodology

Phase 1 aimed to conduct a critical review of the literature, addressing the


themes organizational innovation and innovation and design. At this stage, the
methodological definitions were made.
Phase 2 is the development of the research instruments to be used during data
collection. Regarding the quantitative instrument, it was adopted an interview
script, present in the Vieras study (2009) developed after an analysis of scales
proposed by the Fundao Getlio Vargas (FGV), Fundao Nacional da Qualidade
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(2008) and Manual do Oslo FINEP (2004). A theoretical mapping of scales for
measuring design was also performed. Based on the analyzes and theories
presented, the questionnaire developed uses ordinal scales (Likert), composed of
an odd number of categories, so that companies could choose the central position
in certain issues (Babin, Hair, Money, & Samouel, 2005). At this stage, a semistructured questionnaire for the qualitative study was also developed.
Phase 3 corresponds to data collection and is divided into three stages. First, a
mapping of the organizations to be addressed was conducted. Institutions present
in technological parks in the south of Brazil, Tecnosinos and Tecnopuc, in the
ranking As Mais Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista poca Negcios de 2011 and in
the Frum de Inovao (FGV) were sought. An online survey was applied through
the software qualitrics with the companies selected in the non-probabilistic
manner, in the four bases mentioned (Babin et al., 2005). Proceeded by a prenotification by e-mail, about the research, seventeen respondents were obtained,
after a collection period of three weeks. It is noteworthy that among the seventeen
respondents, four belong to the ranking As Mais Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista
poca Negcios de 2011, and the others are present in the Frum de Inovao
(FGV) or in technological parks such as Tecnosinos and Tecnopuc.
In the context of this study, a qualitative research was applied, because it brings
together different interpretative techniques which seek to delineate and decode
meanings that make up a complex environment. In-depth interviews were
conducted (unstructured, direct and personal) (Malhotra, 2006). The three
interviews held with the managers of the innovation area with the firms present in
the ranking As Mais Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista poca Negcio de 2011, were
face to face and took an average of one hour. The collection period was one week,
and for the definition of the organizations approached, one of the determinant
factors was the availability to participate in the study. The interviews were
recorded and transcribed for later analysis.
Phase 4, consisted of the analysis and discussion of the results. For the
statistical analysis of the quantitative research, we used the Statistical Package for
the Social Sciences (SPSS16) with conducting descriptive analysis of frequency and
correlation analysis (crosstab).
The results from the in-depth interviews were transcribed and analyzed from
comparable units categorization and registration methods (encoding) (Babin et al.,
2005). These data came to the researcher in the rough, demanding processing to
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facilitate the work of understanding, interpretation and inference (Moraes, 1999).


The subsequent section presents the description and analysis of the results.

Description and Analysis Of the Results


The companies included in the study were classified into industry, activity and
size. According to the Comisso Nacional de Classificao (CONCLA), among the
organizations surveyed, nine belong to the sector of informatics (I.T.), eight work
with software and one with computers and accessories. One organization belongs
to the service sector, present in the advertising activity and seven companies
belong to the industry sector, developing different activities, including chemical,
energy, electrical equipment, appliances and aerospace. Regarding the size,
considering the variable revenues rank among them, ten are large companies,
three are medium and three are small companies. One organization did not
disclose this information.
To advance the results from these analyzes, it was necessary to apply a
qualitative research, encompassing three organizations of the ranking As mais
Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista poca Negcio de 2011 that had participated in
the previous stages of the research. The companies work with the activities of
appliance, chemicals and electrical equipment (technology), are considered large
regarding the companies' size and have their Brazilian headquarters in Sao Paulo.
Due to the information obtained from the contact made, the companies requested
that their real names were not disclosed. Therefore, we used fictitious names as
Alfa S.A., Beta S.A. and Delta S.A.

Quantitative Research
The quantitative survey covered several topics that discuss the relationship
between innovation and design. It was also attempted to understand if companies
develop innovation and what kind of innovation is present in each one of them.
Regarding the design, the analysis was based on the comprehension of the
concept, the understanding, the use and the role of design in the organization.
The organizations evaluated the relevance of various aspects related to the
innovation process. Analyzing the overall response of the seventeen companies,
there is no question, as described below, of what was classified as totally irrelevant
or irrelevant, according to Table 3.
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Table 3 Single Frequency: relevance of specific aspects in the innovation process


INNOVATION PROCESS
Assess the relevance of the following aspects in the innovation process
Totally
irrelevant

Indifferent

Relevant

Totally
Relevant

5,9%

47,05%

47,05%

100%

(N=1)

(N=8)

(N=8)

(N=17)

Culture for
innovation
and creativity

29,4%

70,6%

100%

(N=5)

(N=12)

(N=17)

Market
analysis and
understandin
g of the needs

41,2%

58,8%

100%

(N=7)

(N=10)

(N=17)

Development
(R&D)

47,1%

52,9%

100%

(N=8)

(N=9)

(N=17)

Strong
management
of the
innovation
process

Irrelevant

Total

Participation
of various
areas/sectors

5,9%

47,05%

47,05%

100%

(N=1)

(N=8)

(N=8)

(N=17)

External
support and
partnership

23,5%

29,4%

47,1%

100%

(N=4)

(N=5)

(N=8)

(N=17)

Participation
of the end
customer

5,9%

41,2%

52,9%

100%

(N=1)

(N=7)

(N=9)

(N=17)

It is apparent, according to the results, that the main aspect for generating
innovation consists of a culture for innovation and creativity to culture. Providing
leverage of creativity, it is believed that the culture for innovation is considered a
key element in companies (Barbieri, & lvares, 2003; KELLEY, 2001).
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We sought to understand, based on specific questions, the existence of relevant


activities to the innovation process. First, 64,7% (N=11) of the companies, when
questioned as to the field of patents, revealed that they have patents, while 35,3%
(N=6) did not have them. Regarding the development of new services or significant
improvements in existing ones, 88,2% (N=15) attributed yes to this answer. It
should be noted that among the companies that develop improvements, 82,3%
(N=14) reinforced the relationship with other partners in the development of
innovation.
Complementing the study, the types of innovation developed, we sought to
understand the reality of the organizations related to the innovation process (Table
4).
Table 4 Single Frequency: process innovation
Yes

No

Not
answe
red

Significant or new improvements in


the methods of manufacturing and
production

58,8%
(N=10)

29,4%

11,8%

100%

(N=5)

(N=2)

(N=17)

Significant or new improvements in


the logistics and distribution process

47,05%

47,05%

5,9%

100%

(N=8)

(N=8)

(N=1)

(N=17)

Significant or new improvements in


the support activities as maintenance
system,
purchasing
activity,
accounting etc.

55,9%

41,2%

5,9%

100%

(N=9)

(N=7)

(N=1)

(N=17)

Development of export markets

35,3%

58,8%

5,9%

100%

(N=6)

(N=10)

(N=1)

(N=17)

82,3%

17,7%
(N=3)

0%

100%

(N=0)

(N=17)

Development of products
services tailored to customers

and

(N=14)

Total

Most companies consider that the innovation process occurs in the


development of products or services tailored to the clients. Chase (2007) presented
that the ability of organizations to innovate is strongly related to the ability of
generating new products, so it is necessary to market them in order to provide a
new value to consumers (Fetterhoff and Voelkel, 2006).
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One of the issues with the highest level of relevance in the present study sought
to identify how companies perceive the design in their innovation process. The
majority, 76,5% (N=13), believe that the design is directly related to the form of the
product (style). This perception consists in a limited concept of the use of design.
However, it should be noted that the same percentage of respondents realize the
importance of design as an element to the business strategy, while 58,8% (N=10)
believe that it is the fundamental space for the development of a creative thinking
process. This perception was reinforced by the responses regarding the role of
design in organizations, in which 58,8% (N=10) consider it fundamental or
significant to the organizational context.
In order to understand the relationship between innovation and design, it was
questioned what was the percentage of products launched that, in the last two
years, incorporated design project. The result establishes itself in the realization
that, for 47,1% (N=8) of respondents, over 40% of the products launched in the
past two years has incorporated aspects of project design. The last block of
questions related to the tools used for the design of a product/service, as can be
observed in Table 5.

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Table 5 Single Frequency: tools used for the design of a product / service
Yes

Not answered

Total

Questionnaires applied to users

23,5% (N=4)

76,5% (N=13)

100%(N=17)

Analysis of customer needs

64,7% (N=11)

35,3% (N=6)

100%(N=17)

Information of suppliers of
equipment, materials, components
and software

41,2% (N=7)

58,8% (N=10)

100%(N=17)

Comments and suggestions from


users

64,7% (N=11)

35,3% (N=6)

100%(N=17)

Research of competing products

58,8% (N=10)

41,2% (N=7)

100%(N=17)

Consulting services

52,9% (N=9)

47,1% (N=8)

100%(N=17)

Access to scientific publications

17,7% (N=3)

82,3% (N=14)

100%(N=17)

Consultations
patents

17,7% (N=3)

82,3% (N=14)

100%(N=17)

0% (N=0)

100% (N=17)

100%(N=17)

Courses and training in company


hired

23,5% (N=4)

76,5% (N=13)

100%(N=17)

Partnerships with universities

41,2% (N=7)

58,8% (N=10)

100%(N=17)

Market research and commercial


viability

52,9% (N=9)

47,1% (N=8)

100%(N=17)

Research
analysis

technological

64,7% (N=11)

35,3% (N=6)

100%(N=17)

socio-cultural

17,7% (N=3)

82,3% (N=14)

100%(N=17)

Research about emotional aspects


of users

23,5% (N=4)

76,5%(N=13)

100%(N=17)

Evaluation of the significance of


products

35,3% (N=6)

64,7%(N=11)

100%(N=17)

the

industrial

Participation of investors

Analysis
context

and
of

the

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According to the data presented, it is possible to understand that, among the
most used tools for the design of a product or service one can find the analysis of
customer needs and, with the same level of relevance, research and technological
analysis. Contextualized theoretically, one of the tools cited by Verganti (2008),
discusses the importance of considering the need of consumers as a stage prior to
the development of the products.
In face of the correlation among the variables existent in the survey, it is
possible to emphasize that, for companies that develop innovations, 58,8% classify
the design as fundamental or significant, providing the understanding that design
plays an important role in the context of these organizations (Table 6).

Table 6 Correlation between variables: the role of design in your company and the
development of innovation
The role of design in your company * Develop innovation
Total

Develop
innovation
Yes

The role of design in your


company

No

Fundamental

Significant

Limited

Not important

15

17

Total

We also sought to identify the relationship between design and strategy.


Referring to the twelve respondents, 41,2% (N=7) classify the design as a strategic
tool for business (for differentiation), but operate from the standard model of
product in the market (Table 7). It is possible to interpret, in this sense, that
organizations use design as a propellant for incremental innovations.
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Table 7 Correlation between variables: a strategic tool for business (for differentiation) and
design in your company
A strategic tool for business (for differentiation) * The design in your company
Design in your company
Rompe
market
standards

A strategic tool for


business (for
differentiation)

Operates from
standard
model of
product in the
market

Total

Yes

12

Total

12

The framework then evaluates the relationship between the importance given
to the culture of innovation and creativity and the perception of design in the
organization. It can be seen that among the nine companies that consider the
culture for innovation totally relevant, 55,6% (N=5) operate from the standard
model of product in the market. This issue reinforces the distance between the
speech of the importance of innovation culture and the actions developed in
practice Table 8.
Table 8 Correlation between variables: culture for innovation and creativity and
design in your company
Culture for innovation and creativity * Design in your company
Design in your company

Rompe
market
standards

Culture for innovation


and creativity

Operates from
standard model
of product in the
market

Total

Relevant

Totally
relevant

Total

15

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Running head Even]
According to the representativeness of this analysis for the development of the
next stage of the study, the radar of innovation and design (Figure 5) was
constituted, in order to easily recognize the guidance level of the companies
regarding innovation and design. It provides an overview of the maturity of the
seventeen organizations to innovation, design and design-driven innovation. It is
highlighted that the result considered for the generation of the radar was the
percentage of respondents for each question.

Innovation

Design

Design and Innovation

Culture for innovation


and creativity is
important,
Designextremely
is a strategic

Companies that
innovate
Culture for innovation
and creativity

tool, but develop


incremental
Innovation with design
project

Have Patents

Design as element for


organizational strategy

Developed Innovations
in partnership

Uses design to analyze


the need of customers

Develops custom
product or service
Considers design
Design is a strategic
fundamental or
tool
significant
Relates design to
product form (style)

Figure 5 Radar innovation and design

The representativeness of innovation indicates that the organizations in the


study have a higher drive to the innovation and, at lower levels, to the design. It is
significant, however, that the number of companies that innovate and consider
design as a relevant element to the organizational strategy, in practical terms, still
use it in a restricted way. It denotes that the level of guidance of the companies to
design-driven innovation questions is not relevant.
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This section aims to describe the role of design and how it translates action into
practice, regarding the innovative processes. Accordingly, the next section was
developed in order to present the data obtained from the qualitative research,
done to analyze the existence of design-driven innovation in the context of specific
organizations.

Qualitative Research
The qualitative research was necessary because of the goal to deepen the
results obtained on the previous stage. With this next stage, there was the
possibility to deepen the concepts of design oriented innovations in the practical
context of the companies. For this, we brought up topics such as the building of an
innovative organization, culture for innovation, types of innovation and innovation
and design, as described below.

Attributes for the building of an innovative organization


The process of innovation management differs in some aspects when the cases
of each company studied are analyzed separately. However, they have a
continuous innovation process, in which principles of open innovation are used
through partnerships with universities, providers and others to internal channels
involving workers, so as to the ideas to be spread.
Alpha structured the innovation process in the year 2000, supported by
Strategos, a global consulting company. The focus of the adopted methodology
consisted on the diamond thinking, which involves a process of diverging to
converge and reach the best ideas. There are three criteria that guide the process
(consumer and brand, being unique in the market and generating value for
stockholders); it is also measured by the result, through previously defined metrics
and goals. We must highlight that the Design Thinking process, proposed by Brown
(2010), preconizes that the process of diverging and converging is the main form
for the use of design oriented innovation methodologies.
Beta company presents a similar process of innovation management, following
the logic of a funnel of ideas. Several activities are proposed to promote the
creation of ideas, which go through a prioritizing process that defines the ones that
are going to be developed.

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A global level structure for the innovation process is used by Delta organization.
As a result, no unity of business works alone, for there is a continuous innovation
process that involves many departments and areas. Every year, the amount of
projects in R&D that will be developed on a global level is defined. However, the
unities have the autonomy to admit other R&D projects.
Regarding the existence of specific programs that allow the participation of the
internal workers and external agents on the innovation process, the three
companies have programs for the creation of ideas. At Beta, it is believed that the
creation of programs, tools and events that allow the participation of everyone in
the creative process is extremely relevant. An annual event is held with the aim to
bring up several ideas. The complete process consists on a first screening of ideas,
e-mail voting, ideas fair and inquiries with the end users. The ideas which are ready
to be implemented become projects that go to the stage-gate, a tool for innovation
management.
Like Beta, Delta also works with formal programs for the internal workers to
generate ideas. They have the liberty to give suggestions that may refer to different
aspects, such as the improvement of the processes and the development of
products.
Adopting a different strategy, Alpha does not have formal programs for the
creation of ideas. It is believed that, on the current context, a traditional model
would not add value to develop the chosen strategy. According to the interview,
From the moment I have my strategic direction, I know which are the challenges
of the company for the next years [], I start a whole innovation process, which
lasts for months []. During the stages of this process, people are invited to
contribute and give their ideas, but on that established context []. Therefore, I
guarantee the idea will be finished.

In most cases, the workers that had their ideas accepted and used received an
extra payment.
Alpha, Beta and Delta companies all have a channel with universities. With
Alpha, it is through an innovation award based on engineering and design
competitions. Beta also develops an innovation competition, which happens every
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year and involves architects, young dcor and architecture professionals and young
students. Delta, on the other hand, had an online competition, in which consumers
talked about their dreams for the future, and this was the input for the
development of a new product. Next, we present a synthesis of the analysis of the
innovation process regarding the three studied organizations (Table 9).
Table 9 Synthesis of the Analysis of the Innovation Process
Company
Alpha
Beta
Delta
-The process was - Fully established - Has a global level
structured in 2000;
process - funnel of innovation process;
ideas and stage- Holds a program
Variable of
- Fully established gate;
analysis
process - funnel of
for the creation of
(management of
ideas and stage-gate; - Holds a program ideas;
the innovation
for the creation of
- Has partnerships
process)
Holds
a ideas;
with
external
differentiated
program for the - Promotes internal agents.
creation of ideas;
events for the
creation
of
- Has partnerships innovation;
with external agents.
- Has partnerships
with
external
agents.

Culture for Innovation


According to Barbieri and lvares (2003), the culture for innovation is one of the
elements that constitutes an innovative organization. Regarding the investment in
innovation, Delta company invests 5% of its billing for that purpose. Beta invests
7%, which is estimated in the market in 630 million, as published by poca
Negcios magazine in 2011. Alpha does not authorize the disclosure of the
percentage. It is understood that, as for 2011, 22% of Betas billing came from
innovative products. For Alpha, the amount was of one third of the billing.
Alpha and Delta organizations are quite similar, once they consider they work
with a culture for innovation not only for the awards in the area, but also for the
fact that innovation is part of the personal goals of the executives. For Archer and
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Walczyk (2006), there are different forms to build a culture for innovation,
regarding the learning process and the individual as the focus.
The companies we studied believe in the importance of obtaining patents. In
2011, Alpha obtained the command of 200 new patents. Beta, around the same
year, had a total of 3,183 (Inspirao para inovar poca negcio, 2011). As for
Delta company, according to the interview with the innovation area, they had
accumulated 53,300 patents on a global level until 2011.
The organizations we analyzed have a formal area for innovation, designed to
help this process to happen on a practical level. Delta organization works with
technology, and the innovation area is formed by an engineer or a R&D manager in
each unity of the company. However, there is also the technology and innovation
area, which helps these managers in terms of searching for fomentation,
developing business plans and projects to get resources through edicts and specific
partnerships to certain demands.
For Alpha and Beta, innovation is market driven and it is formed by teams with
different backgrounds, such as designers, advertising people and administrators.
According to Betas interview, what we do today is to centralize the leadership of
the new innovation projects and put a person of each area involved in the
development of each project. Corroborating this idea, the innovation manager of
the organization also says:

I use to say that, if you try to explain our area by metaphors, we would be the
conductors that would say now is the time to play this instrument, that one, that
other one and, at the end, this is the music, a merit of everyone, that happens in
the group.

There is an area for innovation at Alpha, which is the base for the development
of the innovative process. This is an area dedicated to thinking about the processes,
the result, the mindset and the culture for innovation. According to the responsible
for this area, we do not implement innovation, we just incite it. But it happens in
areas such as product development and new businesses.
Different authors reinforce that the building of a design oriented innovation
process is born from the building of interdisciplinary teams (Brown, 2010; Kelley,
2001; Verganti, 2009). Thus, working with teams with different backgrounds has a
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positive impact when implementing a design oriented innovation process. Finally,


the results of this section are described in Table 10.

Table 10 Sntese individual


Company

Variable of
analysis
(culture for
innovation;
culture for
creativity)

Alfa
-1/3 of the revenue
comes
from
innovative products;

Beta
-22% of the revenue
comes from innovative
products;

Delta
- Executives have
one
innovative
goal per year;

- Executives have
one innovative goal
per year;

- Has a market oriented


innovation area;

Has
an
innovation area
responsible to find
resources for the
projects;

- Has 3,183 patents.


- Has a market
oriented innovation
area;

Has
patents.

58,600

- 200 new patents in


2011.

Types and Classification of Innovation


From the research, it is possible to notice that the development of
improvement innovation is more frequent. The relevance of developing radical
innovation is seen under different perspectives. The only company that responds
for annual goals, regarding the development of the two types of innovation, is
Alpha, while Beta and Delta choose to develop the radical ideas naturally, believing
that the ideal is for them to arise without the necessity to respond to established
goals. The responsible for the innovation area in Delta says:

We believe that radical innovation comes with the innovation culture. It is not
possible to say, for instance, next month we will make a radical innovation [].
Thus, developing a rupture is not so uneventful, even because, in most radical
innovations, the costs and the risks are higher.

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For Alpha, there are annual goals to be accomplished regarding both types of
innovation. As said in the interview, many radical innovations happen in the
process, including the necessity to come up with new business models. For
instance, the organization needed to look for blue oceans, considered by Kim and
Maubogne (2005) as a way to out-top actual competition to a level in which
competition becomes irrelevant. The company developed a new product, similar to
the already existing one, but a new business model was created, as well as a
convenience for clients, as the responsible for the innovation area points out:
Nowadays, we sell convenience for the clients. The products are ours; therefore,
the client, when acquiring them, buys the convenience of having our product and
our service when necessary, paying a monthly fee.
At Delta, there is a person responsible for a program called Delta Production
Systems (DPS). The complete production line and the administrative processes are
analyzed, and a Trimap is made to identify possible improvements. This process
helps in the development of innovation for the production and administrative
areas. Finally, on Exhibit 16, we present the individual concepts regarding the types
of innovation of each company studied.

Table 11 Sntese individual


Company
Variable of
analysis
(improving;
radical;
product;
process)

Alpha
- Product, service,
channel
and
business;
- Imprvement and
radical innovation
(based on goals).

Beta
- Product, service,
channel and business;

Delta
-Product and
process;

- Improvement (on a
higher level) and radical
innovation.

- Improvement
(on a higher
level)
and
radical
innovation.

Innovation and Design


The companies present different perceptions about innovation and design. The
ones that invest in design highlight that the way of thinking of the professionals of
this area allows the improvement of the product considering market matters,
reaching directly the end users. In the 1990s, an innovative approach of design
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started to be developed and, ever since, the concept of strategic design has been
disseminated (Zurlo, 2006).
Beta company works with design mostly because it believes that there are
design methodologies, like design thinking, which are forms of creating ideas and
developing innovation thinking about the process as a whole. The organization
believes that design is relevant to help the innovative process regarding market
issues of the products. In other words, the design professionals are concerned
about aspects that the engineers and technicians in general put aside, as these are
not part of their area.
Opposing the presented concepts, Delta believes that, due to the fact that the
company sells energy and technology related projects, design is not directly
associated with innovation. Only some sectors in which the organization acts work
with design concepts, but it is not the case of the unity considered in this study.
As analyzed, the studied companies believe design is a tool responsible for
supporting the innovation process. When asked about how design oriented
innovation happens on a practical level, Alpha and Beta believe that design is an
influence for the creation of ideas, the improvement of these ideas and the
concern about the development process of the complete product. For example,
Beta makes the horizontal management of its projects, meaning there is a
responsible person of each area for every project, which allows the focus of the
product not to be only about technical aspects.
Alpha mentions that designers think differently from people who work with
technology, because they abandon the technological look in favor of a more market
driven work. They believe technology is only a solution; therefore, in the innovation
area, there is always space for the design projects. As the interviewee says,
innovation is linked to design. Our focus is what we deliver to the consumer, and
design goes along with this atmosphere. We start from the consumer and
technology helps us turn the ideas into something concrete.
To bring context to this way of working, which values, besides the technological
aspects, a humanistic approach to the development of innovation, we found the
following example of innovation commercialized by Alpha. Alpha Independent is
a product line developed after representatives of the innovation and design area
followed the daily routine of people with physical disabilities, visual and hearing
impairment. They comprehended the main difficulties in handling household
appliances. This served as an input for the creation. The goal was for the users to
have a better interaction with the appliances.
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The organization uses the design thinking approach to develop innovation in
partnership with the consumers. The user is placed at the center when the
validation of some prototypes is held.
The synthesis of these concepts is as follows (Table 12).
Table 12 Sntese individual
Company
Variable of
analysis (design
role; systemproduct; external
partnership
(consumer);
relation between
innovation and
design; stages of
the innovation
process which use
design; design
project on the
innovation
process.)

A
- Design helps
innovation
considering
market issues of
the products;

B
- Design helps
innovation
considering
market issues of
the products;

- Has design
projects in the
innovation
process;

- Has design
projects in the
innovation
process;

- Works with
system-product;

- Works with
system-product;

- Uses design
thinking.

- Uses design
thinking.

C
- The company
works this concept
only in some
unities, which are
not included in the
study;
- Pushed by
technology.

The analysis developed considered four relevant variables for the


comprehension of the role of design in innovation processes at the organizations.
The aim was to evaluate, first, aspects regarding the organizational innovation,
beginning with the understanding of how these matters are structured in the
context of these three companies, so, from the analysis, it would be possible to go
on to the innovation and design approach.
Based on the results presented, we emphasize that the organizations of this
study can be classified according to figure 2, presented in the subchapter 3.2.
Companies Alpha and Beta are driven by design (innovation by design), while Delta
creates innovation pushed by technology, fact brought up during the analysis of the
results, as presented in the next subsection.

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Global Analysis
Summarizing the results obtained during the qualitative research, we
comprehend that most companies see the design directly related to the form of the
product (style), which indicates a limited perception as for the use of design in the
innovation process. However, there is a comprehension regarding the importance
of design as an element for the business strategy, influencing on the development
of a creative thinking process.
The organizations consider that design has a fundamental or significant role;
eight companies responded that more than 40% of the products released in the last
two years incorporated design projects. It is also noteworthy that the analysis of
the clients necessities is seen as a fundamental tool for the design of a
product/service, which is related to the results we got during the qualitative
research, pointing out that consumers are considered the center of the innovation
process. Considering the qualitative analysis, Exhibit 18 summarizes the process of
individual innovation of the organizations studied and the role of design in each
stage of this process.

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Figure 6 Synthesis of individual and global innovation processos and design level
used

Final Remarks
The main goal of this study was to identify the role of design in the innovation
process of the companies, using quantitative and qualitative research methods,
which are justifiable once the first gave a broad vision of the theme, deepened by
the second method. We would like to highlight that in the quantitative phase
seventeen companies were researched; four belong to the ranking As Mais
Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista poca Negcios de 2011 and the others are
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present in the Frum de Inovao (FGV) or in technological parks, such as


Tecnosinos Tecnopuc; in the qualitative phase three interviews were held with
firms present in the ranking As Mais Inovadoras do Brasil da Revista poca
Negcio de 2011.
The research contributed theoretically for the studies of Verganti (2008),
directed to the comprehension of the design oriented innovation methodology, in
which design has a fundamental role considering the attribution of meanings,
languages and messages to the innovations. It is noticed that companies, while
searching for strategies to help creating innovation, use design as part of the
process.
The organizations considered in the quantitative study are located in
technological parks or appear in innovation rankings. Therefore, they are already
guided towards innovation. As for design, the organizations believe it is strategic
and use it as a tool for differentiation. But, in most cases, it is operated based on an
already established market standard, being translated into actions mainly on the
development or improvement of innovation. Furthermore, on a practical level,
some companies relate design only to the form of the product (style), restricting its
use as part of the innovation process.
Regarding the qualitative analysis, it is believed that, due to the fact that the
organizations researched are large companies, which appear in the ranking of the
most innovative ones in Brazil, they intrinsically have the culture for innovation.
Mozota, Klpsch and Costa (2011) says that the creative process of design presents
characteristics similar to the ones of the innovation process. So, innovation and
design cannot be dissociated. Design must be present in every stage of the
innovation process, contributing to add value to products and services. It is
noteworthy in the three companies considered that two of them develop design
oriented innovation, while the other focus on the market driven development of
technologies.
A limitation for this study was the fact that the companies we studied are
located in the state of So Paulo and, because of that, they were visited only once,
for the interviews. Besides, we used some documents about the studied context.
The focus on companies located at technological parks or appearing on innovation
rankings can also be considered a limitation, for, even though they are from
different areas and have different scales, they naturally present an orientation for
innovation. In this aspect, we suggest that in the future, this study might be
conducted with another focus, for a possible comparison of results.
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