Using innovation to improve performance
A Design Council case study

Page 1: Introduction

Within all types of organisations, managers need to constantly ask themselves ‘Where do we go from here?’ This is because, in a changing and competitive business environment, there is a continuing need for organisations to move forward and innovate as part of their strategic development.

Innovation involves making a change to something in order to make it either different and better, or new.  Innovation adds value to processes, products and services by providing either a new solution to a new problem or a better solution to an old one.

The UK has many companies that regard innovation as a fundamental part of their everyday thinking and practice. Businesses that innovate are more likely to improve performance and meet their objectives than those that do not.

This case study illustrates the importance of design as part of the strategic process of innovation and shows how the design process helps to apply new thinking to fundamental questions that concern all businesses. Key questions include:

  • Who are our customers?
  • What do they want now?
  • What will they want next year?
  • Why should they come to us rather than to one of our rivals?

The case study highlights not only how good design improves the quality of people’s lives but also how organisations that innovate through design put themselves in a position where they can develop a valuable competitive advantage over their rivals.

Design Council

The Design Council is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry. The Design Council works with business organisations, government departments and educational bodies to make sure that people in business, government and education not only appreciate the importance of design, but also understand how the effective use of design enables people within business organisations to transform what they do.

The purpose of the Design Council is ‘to inspire and enable the best use of design by the UK in the world context to improve prosperity and well-being’. To do this, the Design Council works with other influential organisations to make the most of their innovation and creative skills when using design to add value. For example, the Design Council works with:

  • UK businesses. The Design Council helps them to appreciate the contribution of design and also to use design as a central part of business strategy with a view to increasing their commercial success and competitiveness.
  • Government departments. The Design Council demonstrates to departments how they can make the best use of design. By using design well, government departments can improve public sector services and make them more customer-focussed.
  • Education establishments. The Design Council encourages them to develop learning initiatives related to design as well as resources and tools for schools, colleges, universities and businesses. Through events and publications, it also provides platforms for debate about education policy. By working closely with education bodies and organisations, The Design Council promotes the value of design in education and in lifelong learning. The emphasis is on the belief that effective design and the creativity that drives it, starts with education.

Design Council | Using innovation to improve performance

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