OCAD University Open Research Repository

Designing for emergence and innovation: Redesigning design

Van Alstyne, Greg and Logan, Robert K. (2007) Designing for emergence and innovation: Redesigning design. Artifact, 1 (2). pp. 120-129. ISSN 1749-3463


Download (310kB) | Preview
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17493460601110525


We reveal the surprising and counterintuitive truth that the design process, in and
of itself, is not always on the forefront of innovation. Design is a necessary but
not a sufficient condition for the success of new products and services. We
intuitively sense a connection between innovative design and emergence. The
nature of design, emergence and innovation to understand their interrelationships
and interdependencies is examined. We propose that design must harness the
process of emergence; for it is only through the bottom-up and massively
iterative unfolding of emergence that new and improved products and services
are successfully refined, introduced and diffused into the marketplace.
The relationships among design, emergence and innovation are developed.
What designers can learn from nature about emergence and evolution that will
impact the design process is explored. We examine the roles that design and
emergence play in innovation. How innovative organizations can incorporate
emergence into their design process is explored.
We demarcate the boundary between invention and innovation. We also
articulate the similarities and differences of design and emergence. We then
develop the following three hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1: “An innovative design is an emergent design.”
Hypothesis 2: “A homeostatic relationship between design and emergence is a
required condition for innovation.”Hypothesis 3: “Since design is a cultural activity and culture is an emergent
phenomenon, it follows that design leading to innovation is also an emergent
We provide a number of examples of how design and emergence have worked
together and led to innovation. Examples include the tool making of early man;
the evolutionary chain of the six languages speech, writing, math, science,
computing and the Internet; the Gutenberg printing press and techniques of
collaborative filtering associated with the Internet.
We close by describing the relationship between human and naturally “designed”
systems and the notion a key element of a design is its purpose as is the case
with a living organism.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Labs > sLAB (Strategic Innovation Lab)
Date Deposited: 26 May 2016 18:42
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2017 06:57
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/880

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View