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Design, the Language of Innovation: A Review of the Design Studies Literature

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation
Issue number3
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)249-274
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date21/09/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


There is a vast body of research exploring the myriad ways design can contribute to business success. For example, businesses seeing to generate new products, services, processes, models, and strategies as part of their efforts to innovate often turn to design for support and leverage. But how clearly have scholars defined the relationship between design and innovation? Is it even possible to explain the connection between the two? In this article, we investigate whether the design literature published over the past thirty years contains an answer to these questions. We organize our findings into clusters describing the key roles that design activity plays in the innovation process, how designers personally play a part, and the internal and external factors that contribute to design/innovation associations. We also introduce the notion that design language—be it visual, methodological, or procedural—has become not only an organizing principle that supports innovative initiatives, it has become the language of innovation itself.