Design Approach


Innovation Design brings innovation out of the mystical realms and makes it a concrete pragmatic process that can be explicated for the sake of learning in a series of steps. 

This is not to claim that one can equate pragmatic with easy or a guarantee of success. One is never done learning the craft of making, and each project we undertake, requires us to begin again and creatively re-invent the processes.


  1. Innovation is production of the genuinely new
  2. Design is a process of action towards an outcome =
  3. Innovation Design is the process for producing the genuinely new.


  1. The new is when change happens that produces a difference.
  2. There are two types of difference: Difference-in-degree, and Difference-in-kind
  3. These two forms of difference/change correspond to two distinct forms of Innovation: Developmental and Disruptive.
  4. Developmental Innovation is incremental, world expanding, quantitative, probabilistic, and improving.
  5. Disruptive is rupturing, qualitative, possibilistic, and world making.


There are four key processes that distinguishes Innovation Design:

  1. Engage: Beginning with a matter of interest or concern, actively immerse yourself in its world(s) in a way that involves deep and sustained fully immersive engagement. The Engage phase requires you to foster collectivity, commons, intra-dependency, belonging and open embedded engagement. Notice patterns, trends, and trajectories as they emerge. You are staging an encounter.
  1. Disclose: Via deep engagement (task one), disclose the underlying logic, habits, patterns, paradigms and world of your matter of concern. Uncover multiple qualitatively different modes and pathways. In this activity, notice unintended potentialities of solutions and practices.
  1. Deviate: Disruptive Innovation: begin by blocking critical aspects of an existing world,  paradigm, and / or habitual practices. Then via an iterative, open, experimental, embodied, and physically grounded process of deviation, evolve a radically new world or paradigm, habits and patterns. Relocate and or reconnect, and develop this world in an engaged manner.
  1. Emerge: Starting from either where you are, or beginning to develop your novel world (emerging from the previous phases), probe and iteratively co-evolve collectively to realize a concrete specific outcome


15 Tasks of Innovation Design Approach

Once oriented to the big picture, we can now move into the detailed process of innovation. While we can think of the innovation process as one where we move through four general tasks, what we are really doing is a series of sequential practices. Innovation is ultimately a journey — a strange and surprising journey of twists and turns, many dead-ends, strange leaps, shocks, moments of great beauty and wonderment, a lot of mundane work, and what might seem like endless repetition — all with the goal of making something emerge that is wholly unexpected.

4 Primary Tasks of the Innovation Design Approach

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

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