Design Innovation began in the late 1940s. Across the U.S., companies saw a growing consumer market buying everything from cars to ready-made meals, diapers, and early televisions. Companies began searching for new models of innovation that moved beyond the top-down, optimization-focused models that had been developed earlier. A model that would help them "get three steps ahead" of their competitors and the growing interest of the emerging middle class.
These ideas deeply influenced John Arnold, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Professor Arnold took a multidisciplinary approach in his research and teaching. He had a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, plus practical work experience as a garage mechanic and research engineer. At MIT, Professor Arnold established a Creative Engineering Laboratory, and he was passionate about introducing more creativity into the industrial practice of engineering. By 1957, Stanford University coaxed Professor Arnold to California, with the promise of more opportunities to work with the emerging Silicon Valley...and sunnier weather. Professor Arnold went on to create the foundations of Design Innovation at Stanford University.
Today, this early work continues to make a global impact through the multitude of design firms, user-centric business models, and revolutionary startups that its spawned. From the early Design Innovation model laid down to Professor Arnold (see the Arcturus IV program of user-centric, prototype-led innovation), to the more modern "three circles" of Technology Feasibility, Business Viability, and User Desirability, Design Innovation continues to change how companies invent the future.
When teams need guidance or are stuck, our innovation guides provide workflows that offer the “proven path” on what to do next. These guides include quick video tutorials, step-by-step worksheets, and tool templates.
Our proprietary tools and techniques are designed explicitly for team innovation. They were developed based on work at Stanford University and tested with hundreds of teams around the world over the last decade.
Our platform integrates hand-on workshops to prepare, engage, and encourage teams to refine skills in co-creation and collaboration. We can lead workshops or work with your group to design effective innovation workshops.
Do you have a coaching model? We maintain a global network of innovation coaches, who can accelerate your team collaboration, certify internal trainers and coaches, and deliver faster innovation results with higher quality.