Design thinking and radical innovation: enter the smartwatch

This paper aims to expand the understanding of the design thinking (DT) field and provides evidence that DT as an innovation mindset centered on user/human needs is able to lead enterprises to the development of radical product innovation. The study is based on an illustrative case analysis of four eras of radical innovations in the watch industry, from the mechanical wristwatches to smartwatches. The findings from the watch industry substantiate the developed DT triangle framework for designers, managers and executives, enabling the development of radical product innovation.

The study provides evidence for the claim that human-centered approach (rather than design-driven, meaning-changing approach) in DT can successfully lead to radical product innovations. For this, this paper distinguishes between “need” and “meaning” in the DT field and reemphasizes the role of creating empathy with users to be able to identify their newly shaped needs. Fulfilling these newly shaped needs would ultimately result in the development of radically new products.

Source: Emerald Insight


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