Design and competitive advantage: collaborative strategies enabling radical innovations of meanings

Monday 30/04/2012 13:00-14:00
Location: Brunel University, Howell Building, Room H313
Speaker: Dr Claudio Dell'Era, Assistant Professor at Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering - Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

Customers are paying increasing attention to product design, whether the aesthetic, symbolic or emotional meanings of products. Designers can support companies in exploring customers’ needs and the appropriate signs (such as form, colours, materials, etc) that give meaning to products. Managing collaborations with designers is therefore a critical issue for companies that operate in design-intensive industries. The seminar discusses how a company may develop a proper collaborative strategy by identifying an effective portfolio of designers. It shows that companies that innovate collaborate with a broad range of external designers. Most important, innovativeness does not depend on diversity brought by an individual designer, but on diversity brought by the entire portfolio of designers of a firm. The implication is that companies should not focus only on the characteristics of single external parties when developing a collaborative innovation strategy, but, rather, manage carefully a balanced portfolio of collaborators.

Claudio Dell’Era is Assistant Professor in the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering of Politecnico di Milano, where he serves also as Co-Director of MaDe In Lab, the Laboratory of Management of Design and Innovation of MIP Politecnico di Milano. Research activities developed by Claudio Dell’Era are concentrated in the area of Management of Innovation. Specifically research interests are about two main streams: the former concentrates on innovation strategies developed by leading companies that operate in design-intensive industries where symbolic and emotional values represents critical success factors to generate competitive advantage (Management of Design-Driven Innovation); while the latter analyzes approaches and practices adopted during innovation processes by high-tech companies that face turbulent environments (Management of Technological Innovations in Turbulent Environments). He has published in relevant international journals, such as Journal of Product Innovation Management, Long Range Planning, R&D Management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Industry & Innovation, International Journal of Innovation Management.