The influence of networks on design success: Design networks and design success

Helle Merete Bo Lauritzen

Student thesis: Master thesis


According to the literature about design-driven innovation (DDI), networks are said to be a key success factor. The influence of these, however, has not been investigated in other settings than those provided by Verganti (2009). The theory dares to claim that companies need to get involved with a design discourse, which must include interpreters from a variety of industries and fields. The network of interpreters should be integrated in the research process of the product to enhance the chance of success. To investigate these claims further, an in-depth, network study of Stelton (a prominent and successful Danish design company) was undertaken. Both the location and industry of the company is different from the ones researched by Verganti. The investigation strives to answer the following research question: How do Verganti’s claims around the interrelationship of design networks and design success hold true within a different research setting (non Italian, not furniture design)? Building the research on a positivistic stance, the purpose of the research is to observe general patterns within the design processes of the products head developers. These patterns can then give indications of similarities between the two groups of products (successful and unsuccessful). Through analysis and discussion the researcher will unfold how different network factors influence the design success. The findings will then be compared against Verganti’s theory of DDI (2009). Contrary to the literature, it was found that a design discourse is not the key success factor. Design driven companies are able to produce successful products without the involvement of a design discourse. Instead, it was encountered that the company’s network should include greater amounts of specific types of information sources. Knowledge sources and external sources were found to have the greatest influence on success, and these types of sources should create the foundation of any designers network. The research is exploratory and is only based on seven product cases and the results can therefore not give any general conclusions. Given these results, it can be stated that there is a tendency that networks do influence the success of a product and that there is an interrelationship between design networks and design success, though not in the way first anticipated.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages108