Design Innovation is a human-centered and inter-disciplinary approach to innovate on and address complex challenges in our world.
Design Innovation addresses design challenges in many domains. It integrates the creative, technical, and analytical methods that emerged from 4 schools of thought: Design Thinking, Business Design, Design Engineering and Systems Engineering.
PEOPLE are our focus as individuals, communities, teams, organizations, cities and nations. We strive to understand and empathise with their needs.
PROCESS provides a flexible and customisable framework for tackling complex opportunities or challenges and allows any organisation to remain relevant in changing times.
METHODS compose a language for design and are guided activities to help teams work towards a desired outcome.
PRINCIPLES are the heart, mind, and soul of DI, and help to foster an innovative culture by guiding the way in which people think, communicate, and decide. They underpin the process and methods.
The DI process is an iterative process that provides an order of action in design projects holistically. It is built, in part, on the UK Design Council’s 4Ds, and represents a “sprint”. It has a dual diverge-converge cycle and consists of 4 phases: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver, and its associated mindsets: Empathy, Mindfulness, Joy and Non-attachment.
The sequence of the 4D process phases, Discover through Deliver, is archetypal; it acts as a general guideline. In practice, the unique context of each project will govern how the design team navigates its way through the design process. A project would constitute multiple sprints, pivots, and leaps between phases.
Of the vast array of methods out there, we have curated a set of DI methods and categorised them to the DI process phase they most naturally fall under. This categorisation gives a guideline on when each method should be executed in the DI process.Download
Please also find more guidance on how to execute key methods we believe are widely applicable across domains in our DI Learning Modules.
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DI principles underpin the process and methods and act as a reminder of best practices, pushing designers, engineers and professionals to seek better solutions for their users and stakeholders.
These are selected DI Principles that are embraced by the DI team, that we commend to you and all our collaborators and clients. Please find the full list of principles here.
Creativity should occur not only during ideation but throughout the entire design process.
Willingness to turn ideas into action and rapidly iterate after testing is essential to design. Hands-on experience provides valuable lessons that cannot be replaced.
Empathy is required so that true needs are uncovered to open the potential for a desirable outcome that impacts stakeholders in a positive way.
Utilising qualitative and quantitative data allows the design team to make observations that are both valid and insightful.
A positive and optimistic attitude is essential in discovering out-of-the-box ideas. Optimism, in supporting other’s ideas, is equally important for team coherence.
It is essential to accept that the outcome of an innovation process is unknown at the start and novel solutions will push our comfort zones.