What is Design Innovation?

Design Innovation is a human‐centered and inter‐disciplinary approach to innovate on and address complex challenges in our world.


Individuals with domain knowledge in various fields, including engineering, architecture, science, psychology, and business, come together as a team to understand the underlying issues, and—through a facilitated process — solve these in an innovative manner. It is human‐centric at its core, with an emphasis on developing empathy of users, collaborating in a multi-disciplinary team, and rapid prototyping.

DI integrates the needs of people (desirability), technological feasibility and economic viability in the way it address challenges. DI does it in a creative exploratory manner, boldly aspiring to design the most innovative solutions possible.

IDC's DI Approach is centered on PEOPLE and comprises of 3 distinct yet tightly integrated facets:

PEOPLE are our focus as individuals, communities, teams, organizations, cities and nations.

PROCESS provides an order of action in design projects in the big picture as well as in governing the transition between individual methods.

METHODS are well-defined, short term activities with a specified action set and an expected format of outcome.


PRINCIPLES are ubiquitous best practices, or mindsets, guiding the way we think, communicate and decide in executing design methods throughout the design process.

IDC's DI Approach


IDC's Design Innovation Approach addresses design challenges in many domains. It integrates the creative, technical, and analytical methods that emerged from 4 schools of thought: Design Thinking, Business Design, Design Engineering and Systems Engineering.

Practical Application of DI

IDC's Design Process archetypally progresses through 4 phases, from Discover, to Define, to Develop to Deliver and iterating through that.

In four diverse projects IDC had with with industry, we plot chronologically the Design Methods used and time spent in them throughout the project. We see how they follow the Design Process in a broad and general way, while deviating from it in many specific instances, as needed due to project circumstances. We also see variation in the time apportioned to each Design Process Phase and the iterations involved between Design Process Phases.