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Free Content Gamification in Concept Design: Applying Market Mechanisms to Enhance Innovation and Predict Concept Performance

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Predicting the success of a potential breakthrough innovative business opportunity in New Product Development (NPD) is notoriously difficult and is synonymous with high market and technology risk. As a consequence, NPD organizations favour concurrent exploration of multiple concepts where the most promising concepts are evaluated and selected at each stage-gate. The two challenges associated with this approach are ensuring a sufficiently wide exploration of the market–technology space, followed by assessing the potential of breakthrough innovations. Individual designers usually conduct early exploration independently or within design teams, applying an organic and analogous search approach. In contrast, the project team members collectively make decisions for early design concept selection, applying a non-analytical and unstructured decision-making process. The combination of grounded exploratory study and hypothesis-driven study examines the use of gamification and, in particular, how gamification can assist in promoting the exploration of breakthrough innovative concepts in the early design concept phase, combined with concurrent and early identification of the most promising candidates.

Studies conducted consisted of a pilot study at Copenhagen Business School where we identified migration of risk in the business phase and two other studies conducted in the Design Technology and Innovation Management project courses at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. The last two studies were a baseline study and an experimentation study, where we observed and collected teams’ market and technology risk-preferences, teams’ and external panel’s grading as well as Design Quality Criteria scoring. In the second study, we established the baseline for risk-­preference migration and in the third study we implemented eight weeks of gamification, applying the Prediction Market approach.

The findings showed that gamification promotes extended risk-taking, can assess team-confidence and decision-making ability and acts as an early indicator of the performance of the final concepts. Suggestions for future studies include testing of gamification on industry projects and making it operational by adapting the approach to the NPD culture, organizational structures and project decision-making processes.
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Keywords: breakthrough innovation; business model; business strategy; concept design; concept exploration; decision-making; experimentation; gamification; risk-attitude

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ingomar & Ingomar Consulting 2: Hanyang University

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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  • The Journal of Design, Business & Society is a double-blind peer reviewed scholarly journal that aims to publish high-quality academic papers that examine the role of design in business and/or society, case studies, design critiques, and book reviews of relevant literature. Our aim is to promote cross-disciplinary research in the field of design. Therefore, in addition to design papers we are also interested in receiving manuscripts on research about design that are coming from non-design areas, such as business, marketing, management, health, psychology, social sciences, environmental sciences, and others.
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