Design Led Innovation
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Childs, Peter; Leon, Nicholas; Runcie, Carolyn
Institution: 1: Imperial College London, United Kingdom; 2: Royal College of Art; 3: Royal College of Art
Section: Design Education and Industry
For the last three years a course has been offered to MEng students in their third or fourth year of studies called Design Led Innovation and New Venture Creation. The rationale for offering the course was a combination of demand for design orientated options as well as the desire to deepen students’ understanding and experience of the process of realising their ideas and ventures commercially. The premise for the course is that successful design-led innovation depends on blending customer insight and technical inventiveness to create value for customers and users as well as commercial value for innovative firms and their investors. Students are coached intensively in interdisciplinary teams by design experts, engineers and entrepreneurs to develop a project into a business proposition. The project ideas are formed in response to the positing of a meta-theme. Students are exposed to key concepts in design, creativity tools and the disciplines of human-centred design as well as strategies for introducing new products or services to a market and developing the necessary value networks. A key outcome of the course has been the emphasis necessary for ensuring that the process of preparing a new venture is considered and acted upon. This has been realised by means of intensive tutoring by experienced and practicing entrepreneurs. This paper reports the student experience along with the series of interventions that have been necessary in order to develop behaviours compatible with turning technical inventiveness into potentially viable innovation propositions.