Table of Contents

International Perspectives on Business Innovation and Disruption in Design

International Perspectives on Business Innovation and Disruption in Design

Edited by Robert DeFillippi, Alison Rieple and Patrik Wikström

The third volume of the International Perspectives on Business Innovation and Disruption book series focuses on the role of design innovation in transforming industry practice. An international cast of scholars and practitioners examine how design innovation is impacting the creation of new business models, innovative forms of service delivery, multinational innovation practices, the role of aesthetics and psycho-spatial dynamics in fostering innovation, and the types of design capabilities found in the most innovative businesses worldwide. Theoretically, many of the chapters focus upon design thinking and conceptualize design as a user centered, empathic and participative practice that allows diverse stakeholders to creatively contribute to business innovation.

Chapter 7: Researching the design innovation process in a multinational: an empathic approach to the application of the Delphi technique

Mersha Aftab and Robert Young

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, knowledge management, organisational innovation


The notion of respect and trust is the basis of establishing any relationship, not least for organizations trying to align different functions like business, technology, design and marketing. When organizations are aiming for innovation breakthrough, they need to combine new technological innovations and new business models (Townsend, 2013), making it imperative for them to base these new connections on respect and trust. This chapter discusses the case study of a multinational that aimed to connect all the different functions in its innovation agenda, and establish the function of design as a leading functional discipline. As a leading consumer goods brand based in the Netherlands, this multinational celebrates a wide product portfolio with lighting, electronics and healthcare as its main focus. In 2009, it initiated its functional leadership programme, which aimed at integrating all recognized functions, namely, design, futures, technology and strategy under a single, strategic-level innovation process. This involved establishing design as a leading discipline and improving the relationship between design and other functions; consequently, shifting the application of functional leadership theory from war and business towards a more human-centred approach.

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