By now, it has become obvious that companies that want to deploy new product development processes in support of their competitive position might consider investing in an Integrated Design Capability that supports a fast-cycle design process. This Integrated Design Capability ‘fuses’ organisational approaches (traditional and experiential project structures, competence versus project organisation in the innovation matrix), design methodologies (such as Quality Function Deployment, Value Analysis, DesignForAll methods, Product Life Cycle Assessment) and the aforementioned design technologies into one consistent support infrastructure for the company’s new product design and development process. This integration, of course, implies a serious investment and hence, becomes a strategic decision for the organisation. It also implies a clear strategic choice toward which market segments and application areas the company decides to turn its innovation attention. This is mainly because investments in design technologies are not fully application-independent, as illustrated by the arguments and discussions in the previous sections.

To this end, for example, the Dutch steel and aluminum company, Koninklijke Hoogovens (now part of Corus Group), has developed two Integrated Design Centres in the 1990s: the Centre for Packaging Technology and the Centre for Product Applications in Transport and Building Applications. Each of these centres creates and sustains an environment in which appropriate organisational approaches, combined with a set of design methods and techniques, are geared toward an effective and efficient new product design process for specific product-market combinations (e.g. packaging solutions, construction applications, automotive parts).

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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

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