Distinguishing Design Paradigms in Innovation Management


  • Hemonnet-Goujot Aurélie
  • Abecassis‐moedas Céline


  • Design management
  • Design thinking
  • Design-driven innovation
  • Innovation management

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What is design? Under the single term of design, there are a multiplicity of paradigms linking design to innovation in the academic literature, such as design thinking, design-driven innovation or design management. Distinctions between design thinking, design-driven innovation and design management are however still unclear. This paper’s objective is to open the black box of design in innovation. It contributes to theoretically refining and distinguishing the design paradigms used in innovation management. This paper proposes a framework that characterizes each paradigm. While design thinking is a method, design management is a process and design-driven is a strategy. Yet, this framework reveals that there is a definite overlap between design thinking and design management and between design-driven innovation and design management, while there is no theoretical overlap between design thinking and design-driven innovation. This paper brings a conceptual clarification of these paradigms while helping managers better consider how to use design.

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