Design thinking and its contribution to innovation capabilities in large firms
Research Project , 2012 – 2013

Fulfillment The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of Design Thinking (DT) on large firms. It is the first part of a larger study dedicated to investigating how the value of applying design approaches can be understood and evaluated. The purpose is therefore to produce a more systematic understanding of DT contributing to research, management and policy development. This is relevant, given the strong interest in DT from large firms as well as the governmental bodies such as the EU. Result and Expected Effects - Outcome Although the various parts of Design Thinking (DT), e.g. user focus, are not new, DT as a whole leads to change on an level that seem to contribute to an firms general ability to innovate. First, DT fosters a new innovation paradigm that is human-centered in contrast to technology driven. Second, it is used to structure decision-making in the fuzzy front end of innovation. Third, it democratizes the innovation function across the development teams. Results also show that value is created on many levels, individual, team and organization. Approach and Implementation - Analysis The project is a case study of two companies with extensive experience of applying Design Thinking (DT), SAP and Procter & Gamble. In each firm interviews where conducted in 5 projects, incl. different team members and managers/facilitators. The interviews have been recorded, transcribed and coded thematically. To get a better contextual understanding, DT experts and general managers in both companies where also interviewed. Both companies have been visited to collect additional material such as documents and pictures of office/design space that seems crucial to DT.


Maria Elmquist (contact)

Bitr professor vid Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics

Lisa Carlgren

Forskarassistent vid Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Innovation and R&D Management

Ingo Rauth

Projektassistent vid Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Innovation and R&D Management



Funding Chalmers participation during 2012–2013 with 247,500.00 SEK

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