Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

Design Thinking for Business

About the project

Scholars and practitioners are acknowledging the central role of Design Thinking as a driver of innovation and change. Design Thinking is not anymore an approach that can support only product innovation, but it is evolving across different domains: Business Strategy, Organizational Transformation, Digital Transformation, Service Innovation. Since the early 2000s we have investigated the competitive advantage provided by design and the strategic role designers can play in leading innovation. Design- Driven Innovation proposes a radical shift in perspective that introduces a bold new way of competing and on the role of creative industries in society.

Principal Investigators:  Claudio Dell’Era, Stefano Magistretti and Roberto Verganti

Researcher team: Emilio Bellini, Claudio Dell’Era, Luca Gastaldi, Stefano Magistretti, Silvia Magnanini, Roberto Verganti, Massimo Colombo, Vincenzo Buttice’, Chiara Franzoni, Cristina Rossi-Lamastra, Cristina Tu Anh Pham

Funders: Multiple

Duration: 2012 – ongoing

Partners: Multiple


  • Verganti R. (2009) Design-Driven Innovation. Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating What Things Mean. Harvard Business Press, Boston., nominated by the Academy of Management for the George R. Terry Book Award as one of the best 6 management books published in 2008 and 2009.
  • Magistretti S, Ardito L and Messeni-Petruzzelli A (2021). Framing the Microfoundations of Design Thinking as a Dynamic Capability for Innovation: Reconciling Theory and Practice. Journal of Product Innovation Management.
  • Verganti R and Dell’Era C. (2014). Design-Driven Innovation: Meaning as a Source of Innovation, in Dodgson M, Gann D and Philips N. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management, Oxford University Press, pp. 139-162.
  • Pietro Micheli, Joe Jaina, Keith Goffin, Fred Lemke and Roberto Verganti, “Perceptions of industrial Design: The ‘means’ and the ‘ends’ ”, Journal of Product Innovation Management. Vol. 29 (5), 2012: 687-704
  • Dell’Era C and Verganti R. (2011). Diffusion processes of product meanings in design-intensive industries: determinants and dynamics. Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 28, pp. 881-895.
  • Verganti R. (2011). Designing breakthrough products. Harvard Business Review, October, 2011, 114-120.
  • Roberto Verganti “Radical Design and Technology Epiphanies: a new focus for research on design management”, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 28 (2011); 384-388
  • Dell’Era C and Verganti R. (2010). Collaborative strategies in design-intensive industries: knowledge diversity and innovation. Long Range Planning, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp.123-141
  • Dell’Era C and Verganti R. (2007). Strategies of innovation and imitation of product languages. Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 24, pp.580-599.
  • Verganti R. (2006). Innovating through design. Harvard Business Review, December 2006.


  • DESMA: Gothenburg University, Aalto University, Imperial College, Cassina, Future Concept Lab, Volvo, Veryday, Livework, Philips, Living Labs Global, Engine;
  • LTM: Delft University of Technology, University College London, Brunel University, Bax & Willems, Material ConneXion Italia, Studio Edelkort, Aito Interactive Oy, Holst Center/TNO, Diffus Design IS, Fjord Spain SLU, Fuelfor Design and Consulting SL, Grade Zero Espace Srl, Lamb Industies Ltd, Minima Design Ltd, Pilotfish GmbH, Van Berlo BV;
  • Cre8tv.eu: University of Manchester, Bocconi University, University of Brighton, Copenhagen Business School, Corvinus University of Budapest, Eindhoven University of Technology, National Technical University of Athens, Technical University of Munich, University of Gothenburg, ZEW
  • dt4b: Aston Business School, Delft University of Technology, Reykjavik University, Stockholm School of Economics, College of William & Mary


  • DESMA, LTM and Cre8tv.eu: European Commission;
  • Observatory Design Thinking for Business: ACI; Alidays; Assist Digital; Banca Popolare di Sondrio; BCG; beNimbl Techedge; Deloitte Digital; DOING Part of Capgemini; E.ON; Edison; ENEL; ENI; EPAM Continuum; Fifth Beat; KPMG; NOI TechPark; Reply (Triplesense and Spark); Roche; Sketchin; Sogei; Tangity – Part of NTT DATA Design Network; TIM; UnipolSai; Vodafone.