In order to support the Experience-Driven Innovation process, companies may take several organizational measures. We have gathered some of these below. These measures were mainly obtained from the innovation management literature in which a central role for the design process is emphasized. Our list is intended as a source of inspiration, providing an overview of all different types of aspects that are likely to support the ExpDI process; it is unlikely to be complete. If you have any suggestions for additions, please let us know.
Develop overarching company mission
The company we look for has an overarching purpose in order to provide a sense of direction for the individual projects. Preferably, the company could indicate what and how they would like to improve consumers’ lives. Possibly, the organization takes a leadership position on important social issues, such as sustainable production and thoughtful consumption. Ideally, every employee needs to understand, appreciate, and should have the ability to contribute to the overall vision of the company.
Integral project management over time
In order for experience-driven projects to deliver superior outcomes, the project management should make sure that original ideas, including the richness of the design, do not get lost somewhere down the line. Consistent management over time makes sure that the original value of the concept is communicated to the entire team, and is maintained until the end product is produced. Management should recognize the importance of intangibles to the firm’s value-creating processes. Teams need to avoid being diverted by constraints emerging downward in development that can jeopardize the identity of the vision (Verganti, p. 186). Experience design processes tend to be rather unpredictable, especially during the initial stages (Rozendaal, 2010) and, therefore, it is important to share initial viewpoints among all stakeholders and to communicate frequently among the project partners, in order to keep everyone on track and involved.
Strategic road mapping
Road mapping enables the organization to make strategic decisions about the optimum timing for specific activities, such as the consecutive introduction of new technologies, consumer experiences, or product variants on the market.
Departments within a company and people in different fields of expertise tend to use their own mental models and interpretive schemes. They may live in different worlds of thoughts, thus hampering communication. Each discipline has a distinct system of meaning which colors its interpretation of the same information, focuses on particular problems while neglecting others, and produces a qualitatively different understanding of the innovation process. Each discipline has knowledge that contributes to the final design and, therefore, forming multidisciplinary teams in which all departments are represented is important for successful innovation (Dougherty, 1992). Also, people with different levels of experience may be useful, as new comers bring a new perspective on established practices. Team members should not only defend their personal expertise and be responsible for part of the project. They should also form new ideas together. They should collectively own and feel responsible for all ideas generated and the project as a whole (Brown, 2009). According to Roscam Abbing, companies should employ so-called T-shaped people as design managers, who combine a broad view on matters with in depth expertise on specific topics, they should be left- and right- brain people: They need to have eye for details, but also should be able to constantly relate the project progress to the bigger picture.
Break through organizational routines
Organizational routines tend to reinforce the separation of thought worlds by limiting the interactions between people from different departments. Existing procedures typically promote within-department efficiency and inhibit the collective action that is necessary for innovation (Dougherty, 1992). Another problem with standardized tools and procedures is that others can copy them. Therefore, in order to be innovative, each project has to create its own organizational structure, depending on the specific needs of the project. Corporate management should establish incentives for business units to collaborate in new ways.
Use and develop human resources
The success of product innovation processes highly depends on the quality of the company’s employees. Companies have to learn how to spot the most innovative thinkers within the organization. In addition, they can develop their innovation potential by giving workshops, performing pilot projects and sharing inspiration within the organization.
Create employee freedom
Create an environment that values risk-taking and constant questioning in the pursuit of continuous improvement (Brown, 2009). Employees should be permitted to explore the full range of their faculties. Any experiment should have a chance to gain organizational support. A physical space where a group of people can be creative will support the innovative process. This space should allow project materials, such as photos, storyboards, concepts, and prototypes to be available all of the time. The project space will support better collaboration and better communication with partners and clients. In addition, a project website or wiki helps to keep team members in touch when they are out in the field. Flexibility is a key element of design thinking. Therefore, the designated physical and virtual space, and also the budget should be adaptable.
Build external relationships
Many innovation projects benefit from external input. Therefore, it is important for the company to set up a privileged network of relationships with external parties. Relational knowledge is tacitly preserved and nurtured by the people in the organization. As it involves their personal relationships to others, this cannot be easily copied by others (Verganti, p. 204). The nature of these assets is cumulative: the more privileged relationships you have, the more you are likely to use these contacts to develop breakthrough innovations and develop seductive visions. You can also hire external experts on a project basis: The active participation of partners will yield more ideas and creates a web of loyalty that will be hard for your competitors to erode. Alternatively, you could set op open innovation projects, or involve external designers by initiating design competitions.
Internal technological development
You have to master unique technologies, in order to be an interesting partner for cooperation or discussion. Invest resources in research and development that provides new technology in order to develop new solutions. Develop technologies that you yourself or others would like to use.
Build knowledge on latent user needs
In order to design a successful new product, you would like to know what your future clients do, think, and feel. Therefore, you should not focus on determining current user needs, but you should uncover the latent needs they may not even know they have, in order to accommodate their future needs. Typically, this requires nontraditional marketing research techniques, including observational work, ethnographic studies, and in-depth interviews. It is important to focus on the quality of the information obtained, not on quantity. Use photographs and videos, not just text, to capture consumer data. You need to find out where your future clients work, how they live, relax, and play. In some cases, observing extreme clients (e.g., collectors) may be more interesting than investigating the average client. Try to connect with the people you observe by getting in their role: Experience the design from the client’s point of view. In addition, it is important to research beyond the individual: evaluate the effect of your product on interactions between individuals, group processes, networking, and culture.