Friday, 2 November 2012

Want double digit growth? Design Disruption is the way.

When Harvard Business Review speaks, people tend to listen. Especially when phrases like double digit growth are bantered about. In a recent HBS Article entitled "The Idea that led to Double Digit Growth" past Chair and CEO of Medtronic, Bill Bill George describes how his firm consistently was a leader in their field and simplistically, it's a +2 rule, two extra percentage points above the industry standard 10% invested in R&D each year. 

iGNITIATE blog entry for Double Digit Design Growth Gregory Polletta

Medtronic is a leader in specific technological tools and devices. They can be, for the most part, not considered a "Design Disruption" firm even though, yes, their devices are designed, engineered, and launched as products. Medtronic is a healthcare technology firm. But, they clearly adopt a strong R&D window, a specific design and innovation launch process and have embedded in the organization a DNA of breakthroughs. How? Three simple rules: 

1) increasing R&D budget from 9% to almost 12% of revenue. 
2) separate venture group from existing business units - no fiefdom politics
3) selected acquisitions of new technologies to expand into related product categories. 
4) top executives supported the ventures group spending time in the labs with them, understanding their work, and championing the adoption of venture labs investments

So how does this translate into firms not steeped in technological advancement or the development of game changing business models? How does this work within the areas of "design" specific products? Surprisingly Tom Ford has a very specific approach as detailed in "Design and Business Insights from Tom Ford" and enumerated as: 
1)   Once your on top, you're on the bottom
2)   Design is an architecture exercise. 
3) Design disruption comes from doubt and questioning
4) Success =  work and obsession: relentless drive, focus, passion and toughness 
5) Business = a "survival mechanism”
6) There is no retire 
7) THE difficulty is creating and disrupting on demand
8) creating a specific design team identity &  which is different or individual

R&D and Design are a mix that when carefully applied produce results beyond what only 1 can specifically achieve on it's own.