The design-led innovation framework enables organizations to systematically develop the design capabilities they need to pursue their innovation objectives. When a design researcher works in tandem with organizational stakeholders to implement the framework, the dynamic they create is complex. This article relates our efforts to apply narratives as a tool to effectively drive this process forward, given their demonstrated ability to sustain organizational innovation and frame new possibilities. During an eighteen-month action research project, we implemented the design-led innovation framework inside an Australian Airport Corporation. Our research revealed that three narrative techniques—low-fidelity narratives, realistic narratives, and strategy narratives—particularly supported several key stages of this creative innovation process. Narratives enabled us to surface internally-held assumptions and beliefs and test their validity with external customers and stakeholders; they established common ground among various stakeholders during the innovation process; they served to convince managers to pursue design-led innovation outputs; and they facilitated the co-creation and implementation of a company-wide strategy. This article contributes new knowledge and practical guidance for developing and applying narrative techniques during design-led innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-201
Number of pages16
JournalShe Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Action research, Design innovation catalyst, Design methods, Innovation management , Storytelling

ID: 47809752