Design and innovation in successful product competition

Roy, Robin and Reidel, Johann C. k. h. (1997). Design and innovation in successful product competition. Technovation, 17(10) pp. 537–548.



This paper presents results from a project entitled ‘MArket Demands that Reward Investment in Design’ (MADRID). Among other aims, MADRID seeks to identify the contribution of design and innovation to product competitiveness in different markets.
The paper provides a conceptual analysis of the role of design and innovation in product competition. The concepts are employed to conduct an analysis of a sample of new and redesigned products using data from a previous study on the ‘Commercial Impacts of Design’ (CID). CID was a study of over 220 design and product development projects in British SMEs which had received government financial support for design.
The key conclusions from this re-analysis of the CID data are: in commercially successful product development projects more attention had been paid than in the loss-making projects to genuine product improvements rather than just styling or costs; commercially successful product development projects involved a multi-dimensional approach to design with a focus on product performance, features and build quality and, where relevant, technical or design innovation. Loss-making projects tended to involve a narrow, often styling-oriented, approach to design with more attention paid to cost reduction than to performance, quality and innovation.

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