Integrating Design Thinking into the Strategic Planning Phase of Product Development
Hillary Carey, Craig M. Vogel, Jonathan Cagan, Laurie R. Weingart
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Corporations are becoming more and more aware of the value which good design adds to a product. Yet most large corporations have their heritage in Manufacturing and Engineering and are unsure of how to make the transition to a truly integrated product development process. It is difficult for manufacturers to understand what the role of Design is today and how to build a partnership with a creative group. This paper draws on several years of researching integrated product development in large corporations and make suggestions for how to align cross-functional teams along a common goal of customer-centered decisions.
A model is presented here which illustrates the responsibilities for each function through six phases of product development in order to ensure that information is shared between all disciplines. Bringing Industrial Design into the earliest planning stages is imperative to building a well-integrated team. When a strategy is built with expertise from all areas, companies can set a path for a product that fulfills customer expectations while reducing conflict, delays and added costs, and improving quality. Successful product development balances measured cost-control and revenue generation with compelling aesthetics that evoke strong emotional response in consumers.
This theory was built from observation and interviews ranging from top executives to entry-level team members from all major disciplines at a large automobile company. The goal of which was to develop a model for integrating design and engineering more effectively in product development. By bringing Design consideration into the earliest phases, companies set a strategy for creating a product that fulfills customer expectations through a truly integrated process.