Weapons of innovation as design

Many SMEs are looking for hints to create innovation as the next step.
Therefore, this time, we will unravel the well-known "design thinking" as a method of organization management of creativity.
Many students are instructed at Keio University Graduate School of Media Design (KMD), the leading designer of "design thinking" in Japan We will welcome Professor Naoto Okuide and ask how to use "design thinking" for innovation.

Thinking method of designing business strategy


You think that in many cases, the word "design" refers to the design of the product and the design of the advertisement and is used accordingly. So, when you hear "design thinking", you imagine vaguely that "drawing a visual" as it is, but you can not have a clear vision. So first of all, could you teach me something concretely about "design thinking"?


The act of design is the task of thinking about the composition that expresses it and deciding the final style if you come up with something or a new idea.

"Design thinking is to try to utilize the method that graphic designers and product designers initially use to produce visuals for corporate activities.

To explain the process in more detail, first observe customers with fieldwork. You create multiple prototypes based on "attributes" and "needs" of customers caught there.

Next, a method of keeping pace with customers and creating new value will be the basis of "design thinking".


First of all, it is the starting point to shape the idea first. What are the merits of applying "design thinking" to management?


First of all, the meaning of innovation changes drastically by "design thinking. " "Design thinking" is effective as a management tool for gradually understanding the creativity everyone has. From the viewpoint of management, you constantly operate an organization that creates innovative products and services. So anyone can acquire creativity if you acquire even a way of "design thinking".

However, to use "design thinking" correctly, practice is necessary.
By iterating the process of thinking (experience), learning with the body, you will be able to do so.

In addition, those who remember "design thinking" by the body can nurture the next talent. By showing such spread, you can build a creative organization that creates innovation.

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How SMEs can make use of "design thinking"


I think that it is difficult to promote a new project by one company of SMEs alone, in terms of budget. But I know some people may not be excited only by a marketing workshop.(lol) Therefore, how about some companies join together and distribute the project budget for half a year.

If prototype seeds mature, you will go on to product development for a full year with the additional budget.

I think exhibiting the completed product at the exhibition is very important. Rather than working on a workshop-like approach, actually "making something to be given out to the world" is essential in increasing your seriousness. There are several other reasons. First of all, it is that it can raise awareness by revealing new products to many people at once. Next, you can directly explain what kind of product it is, so it is easy to convey the contents of new products. Finally, we can hear about issues with a product. By putting it at an exhibition, it will be more likely to lead to concrete results.

To a certain extent, when the outlook goes forward, you will proceed to the next step "Development of actual products". Again, when it comes to cost of development with only one company, a small amount of money will be applied. By doing it with multiple companies, you will be able to create an innovative approach while reducing the cost per company.

Another important point is that breeding seeds to trees are not enough to make prototypes. So it is essential to develop to a "branding" stage.


Generally speaking, innovation is about starting with existing technology, while "design thinking" is drawing a big picture "branding", you can also start by bringing in your technology.


The prototype of branding is the concept of goods and services. The general traditional process was as the below flow: thinking concepts, making prototypes, and branding.

However, to use "design thinking" correctly, practice is necessary.
By iterating the process of thinking (experience), learning with the body, you will be able to do so.


Is Elon Musk of the Tesla car attracting attention now close to approaching the idea?


That's because people such as Elon Musk Musk and Steve Jobs have created innovation to date. What they methodized the heuristics of the activities of about 20 years of activity and is the basis of "design thinking".


It is an example that any small sprouts can become huge if you dig into them.

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SMEs compete with the integration they have.


When utilizing "design thinking" for management, it is very effective to think together with organizational behavior theory ※1. The basis of the organizational behavioral theory is a small group activity and collaboration. SMEs should use this method to compete with integration ※2.


Because it is SMEs with quick decision making, you can utilize the integration. Does it mean that you can speed up by practicing it, get out of the traditional field and tackle new projects?


The basis of innovation here is the reorganization of technology, a synergistic effect is very easy to come out if the partner is changed. By cooperating with different fields and applying it, it tries to create new value. By attaching a mechanism such as IoT and big data at that time as added value, it thinks that there are unprecedented vertical ※3 platforms to come out.

Organizational Behavior Theory: Organizational Behavior is a field that studies personal behaviors, collective behaviors, and behaviors of the organization itself that affect productivity and performance of enterprise organizations
Integration: It means combination
Vertical: It means limited here
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The next opportunity that Japanese companies have


Everything changes dramatically with IoT and big data.
There is a shipbuilding industry, for example. I think that this field has many possibilities.

However, in the current situation, most of the market share in the industry is occupied by a large shipbuilding manufacturer, so innovative companies still do not show off their heads in Japan. Even without the power to ship a large ship, if you can develop state-of-the-art technologies such as automatic piloting, it may produce excellent results. If the established software is installed on every ship, it should generate higher profits than gaining a massive share of shipbuilding.
Also, there is also a way to combine hands with multiple companies and create new ships without trying to do so alone here.

Not only the shipbuilding industry but also houses and power stations, many areas are still untouched. Even there may be an opportunity in the car industry. AI's technology never lags behind Japan at all. It took a delay in software, but I think that there are many opportunities for Japanese SMEs in the technology area ahead.
Also, the fact that Japanese firms feel the opportunity is that there are many companies with very advanced and specialized technologies and long history.

For example, Mie prefecture has many excellent affiliated companies such as automobiles and airplanes. Most of them are machining centers, with a small number of electrical companies dotted around.
Overwhelmingly lacking there is digital technology.
However, I think that the technology of the core to be brought here is hard to study on the scale of small and medium enterprises. Even if you can, the next one's margin will be gone.
So, instead of nurturing digital technology at your own company, you first set up with a company with technology. It is essential to work together with various companies to make use of each other's technologies and know-how.

By design thinking, you find out how to utilize technology and the direction of innovation, and a new mechanism will be created there.

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If you can make good use of "design thinking" that started from the US digital field, innovation will be closer to SMEs in Japan.

To do that, you have to reiterate the idea of using design thinking from day to day, actively integrate with many companies' technology and products, and master it. I think that you can practice by all means in order not to be left behind by the next wave.

Naoto Okuide

Naoto OkuideKeio University Professor

1978 Graduated from Department of Sociology, Faculty of Letters, Keio University, 1986 Graduate School of American Studies at George Washington University Ph.D. He has taught at Keio University since 1990. Based on a wide range of research achievements such as cultural anthropology, phenomenology, media environment theory, now we research and develop the framework that forms the basis of manufacturing in the 21st century, including interaction design and design thinking. Specialty fields: interaction design, media environment design, and design thinking.

Yoshiaki Nagasaki

Yoshiaki Nagasaki Navigator of New Value Creation NAVI / CEO of paragraph

He is an editor in charge of editorial planning such as "Begin" and "Men's EX", editor in charge when re-issuing "WIRED Japan version". Also experienced branding direction such as various fashion brands. Currently, he does numerous companies including WEB direction such as UNIQLOCK and Nikon, and he is doing various creative activities such as efforts by the editor of WEB magazine "TOKYOWISE" as well.

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