Faculty Advisor

Steven S.Taylor


This thesis examines how the services of design firms, which belong to the category of service sector called Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS), contribute to the innovation in the product firms. In this study, I have examined the role played by the design firm IDEO, in the product innovation of a start-up technology firm, a matured technology firm and a matured consumer product firm. The services provided by IDEO satisfy different needs of the product firms in their product innovation. The services of the design firm is useful in showcasing the technology to attract more funding for the startup technology firms and in licensing the new technology to other established firms. For established firms with a strong focus in technology research, the services of the design firms, which have the expertise in the user knowledge, is useful in balancing exploration and exploitation of their technical knowledge. For a firm whose origin is in contract manufacturing, the services of the design firms is useful in its movement upstream along the value chain in establishing its own brand identity in the end. In this study, I have also observed that the design firms carry out research experiments to explore knowledge in the user domain and to understand new technology. With the increase in the knowledge of the design firms, product firms increase their collaboration with the design firms for product innovation.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Innovation, KIBS, New products, Design