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Design-driven laboratories: organization and strategy of laboratories specialized in the development of radical design-driven innovations

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Nowadays, consumers are paying increasing attention towards the socio-cultural aspects of products. For this reason firms must consider the need for linguistic and semantic innovations as well as technological and functional innovations. Historically, the knowledge needed for each kind of innovation has been separately developed and interpreted: while technological knowledge is developed by industrial R&D centers, the knowledge about socio-cultural trends is often tacit and developed by design studios and marketing agencies. The paper analyzes nine in-depth case studies about companies that develop radical design-driven innovations for the household environment. It aims to identify the principal characteristics of the companies' R&D organizations [their design-driven laboratories (DDL)]. It introduces a classification of DDL that reveals how specific organizational characteristics might facilitate different innovation strategies.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. da Vinci, 32 20133 Milano, Italy. ;, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2009


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