Strategic Acting as Stagesetting: The Case of Industrial Design
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- Discussion Papers 
Recent research in strategy, organization theory and industrial marketing is emphasizing the new complexities of gaining a dynamic resource-advantage that can reinvent and differentiate the industrial firm's offerings. This paper examines the dynamic capabilities contributed through industrial design and product innovation. An expanded understanding is needed to capture the specifics of industrial design expertise and its role in developing products as well as business organizations. Industrial design is an intensive transforming and mediating "technology" and the expertise is highly tacit, mobile, and relates to emergent realities of notyet-embodied knowledge. It tends to be embedded in dyads as well as multiple networks that construct new path-dependencies and can enact market, consumer and technological shifts in the business environment. The paper therefore extends the exploration of firm-specific dynamic capabilities to a relational-expressive level by focusing on the collaboration with (partly) independent design partners. Based on in-depth case studies of five Scandinavian firms and their allied industrial designers, a set of potential strategic gains is identified and these relates to four design-strategic processes, which are discussed. Finally, a new framework is presented that may capture how these dynamics between design and innovation actually is constituted and staged through a creative "relational constructing" within new design/business hybrids.