innovation through design thinking

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This is a presentation I gave at the Dutch Design Workspace Shanghai on April, 11. Please check the SLIDENOTES to read my comments. It's about design and innovation in a worldwide context. You'll find some slides about my vision, some examples of innovative companies and I speak briefly about Designthinkers, a worldwide network of creative professionals on a quest for new meaningful ideas. Please share any thoughts that you have on this subject with me in the comments section! I would love to read about your vision and experience with innovation and value-based thinking. You can also follow me on Twitter: @thinkfresher For more information on Designthinking and DesignthinkingNetwork, please visit


  • 1. Here it is..the world as we know it...However, as you can see its turned upside-down.I like this map a lot, because I feel it gives some sort of perspective on the way the world is changing today.On top of this map are places like Brazil, Africa, India and China. Countries that are rapidly growing and have a powerful momentum going on.The changing world of today is a FERTILE GROUND for worldwide innovation and its challenging our existing ideas.

2. Mr. Louis Vuitton ..please tell me why I need to buy YOUR product when I can get one that has the same design, the same logo and arguably thesame quality on the streets for a mere 10th of your price?This is indeed a very challenging question but it provides an example of the growing need for brands to rethink the VALUE that they can addfor their customers.The copymarket in China as a catalyst for reconsidering a brands value. 3. Maybe the idea of a SANDCASTLE can explain to us the attitude that a lot of traditional Western brands seem to put on.We really want to build walls around what we think is ours... we want to protect the ideas that we have, hire shiploads of lawyers to battle itout in court.. but then there is this big wave showing up on the horizon..So again... what are we going to do? 4. What are other countries doing right now?This slide is a still shot from dutch documentary Tegenlicht (*), showing that African immigrants are moving en masse to China for work.China is actually OPENING UP, while Europe is closing down?I think what these guys are about is the value and opportunity of SHARING and WORKING TOGETHER.There is a lot to be learned from that.(*) 5. LEARN BY DOING..The Chinese are masters at taking a product, breaking it down, reverse-engineering it and than produce it in mass quantities.And they actually LEARN from this process of doing, because they get hands-on experience and a chance to know the product intimately. 6. I read an interesting article by Rainer Wessler from Frog Design (*), who stated that in Europe we feel that inventorship is valued more thancraftsmanship, while in China these two disciplines are actually on the same level of appreciation.Thus, for the Chinese, EXECUTING an idea is as important as INVENTING an idea.(*) Frog Insights China Report 2013 7. Everybody loves this guy in China! And he IS very cute, dont you think?His name is Hu Ti Lng and he is part of the immensely popular cartoon series of Xi Yangyang (*).This series is a good example of the learn by doing mentality of China. The Chinese have since long been avid fans of cartoon and animation,but the popular series they watched in the past all originated from either Japan or the US. Xi Yangyang is one of the rst homemade series that wonover the Chinese public.(Interesting twist in this story is the fact that the Chinese government actually REGULATED the market and more or less banned Japanese andAmerican cartoons from Chinese television, in order to make this happen...) 8. This here is a sign that you might nd near the entrance of fabric markets in Shanghai.It shows the government is actually taking steps to crack down on the illegal copy market industry, but if I was one of the brands mentioned inthe bottom part of this picture, Id be really thinking about what this means for me in the bigger picture.Remember the music industry?Once the oodgates are open... youd better be prepared for changing up your businessmodel. 9. These are some of the most well-known examples in the business that have succeeded in creating real value for their customers.These services are unique, robust and therefore almost impossible to copy.Nike and Apple found out that their combined technology enables a unique opportunity for runners to track and measure their performances.Zappos realized that providing outstanding service is what makes its online shop so valuable for customers. 10. Its all about the customer!And this customer is not just some number on a spreadsheet...This customer is you, me, our friends and our communities.Its for these guys that you want to create value. 11. And now on to some examples of companies that are doing some real customer based innovation..These beautiful fabrics are created by a dutch company called Vlisco.They sell these fabrics almost exclusively to the African market.Vlisco has always been an innovative company in terms of design, but now they are stepping up the pace in working together with tailors andcommunities in Africa to create even more value for their customers. 12. Invented by a chinese guy called Zhang Yibin while he was standing in line at a McDonalds restaurant, Velo is a digital coupon service that allowsusers to load discount coupons on their velo-card and then use them in restaurants.No more cutting coupons out of newspapers, but convenience through a digital and portable device using RFID technology. 13. China loves WeChat!Its actually a better and improved version of WhatsApp. It has a more intuitive interface and comes with a bunch of cool extra features such as smileys, instant voice messaging and social searching. 14. So.. what have these examples got to do with DesignThinkers Group?Well...we just LOVE this kind of stuff!We are inspired by these kind of innovations when we are helping organizations design brands, products service systems and cultures of trust.Through DesignThinkers Academy, we offer and co-create Training Programs for Professionals and Teams in Corporate and Governmentalenvironments, Study Tours, Masterclasses, Summer Schools and Personal Coaching. 15. DesignThinkers Group is a network-based organisation that works with multidisciplinary teams of professionals all over the world.Because in todays global society, we need to nd creative solutions that emerge and can exist in a broad context. 16. Learn by doingDont just think and talk but DO. Engage interact andimmerse yourself into the world you are exploring.We use tools such as Context Mapping, Customer Journey Mapping, Ideation Technics, and co-creation to help nd valuable andmeaningful solutions and make them happen 17. Please share any thoughts that you have on this subject with me in the comments section!I would love to read about your vision and experience with innovation and value-based thinking.You can also follow me on Twitter: @thinkfresherFor more information on DesignThinking please


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