Traditional manufacturing relied on a few people ideating, a top down decision process & many people producing the thing ‘as designed’ by the few. This model worked very well for quite a while. Largely because the uptake of the innovations took years or decades. See the adoption curves for radio & TV. Design changed when IT became the innovation substrate. Different kinds of creative acts became possible because IT was more flexible. A few more kinds of roles generated a few more kinds of innovative solutions. But the process was still largely held by a few. Now that hardware has disappeared into the cloud and software is so advanced, with very few limitations, the innovation substrate is greatly expanded.

Now product is rarely limited by hardware or software. The product is largely Intellectual Property (IP). Creativity, as a portion of the total effort, is much higher. Business model innovation can now trump technical innovation. The way that this kind of innovation is designed is much different than manufactured goods or IT.

When there are more degrees of freedom for innovation we change from an engineering culture, which is mostly about constraints & analytical methods ~ to a design mode where all aspects of product are fair game. Business models, product development methods, operational models & ecosystem relationships – all of these are targets for innovation.

It’s a great time to be a designer!

Dr. Tim Pavlick
CTO at IBM Public Sector
Washington DC xCHANGE – Keynote Speaker