Can the fashion industry innovate radically? A framework to identify and create radical innovation

Kristian Gørup Justesen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Design-driven innovation is a radical innovation of the meaning people assign to products and services. It is a relatively new theory suitable for every industry and will create growth – except in the fashion industry since this industry only produces incremental innovations. The new theory of stylistic innovation describes the innovation process of style in the fashion industry. In order to raise awareness about the possibilities of growth in the Danish fashion industry, the industry's business association and an inter-ministerial corporations have issued reports with recommendations to support growth. None of the recommendations were about innovation of meaning, though. Hence the aim of this thesis is to create a framework to identify and create radical innovation of meaning within the fashion industry in order to secure future growth. Firstly, a comparative analysis of the theories of design-driven innovation and stylistic innovation is conducted in order to create a theoretical framework of the similarities of the analyses. Secondly in a case study, theoretical experts and fashion cases have been interviewed to validate the theoretical framework. Finally five additional findings outside the scope of the theoretical framework emerged and these will be included too. After a discussion of the 7 points in the theoretical framework in relation to theory and empirical findings, a revised framework with 6 factors to identifying and creating radical innovation is formed. The 6 factors are as follows: Factor 1: Company size and attitude; Factor 2: Experts; Factor 3: Diffusion; Factor 4: Sociocultural model; Factor 5: Value Chain and Factor 6: Radical innovation. The additional findings in the analysis are: Competitive factors, New target group, Its just clothes, Mistake innovation with creativity or technological innovations and The next radical innovation. The additional findings support a) the need for the revised framework to create radical innovation in the fashion industry, and b) that radical innovation of meaning can be an additional recommendation to the reports. Finally does especially the additional finding The next radical innovation support Factor 6 in the revised framework and contradict the allegation of the fashion industry being suitable for design-driven innovation.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages141