Yep, it’s time for Dutch Design Week again, and the Philips Design Probes site is getting a head start on bridging the gap between design, business, and where the next generation of viable innovative products will come from (via Yanko Design). Fascinating stuff:

The Design Probe projects carried out by Philips Design are part of a wider strategy aimed at improving the innovation hit rate. Growth through innovation is high on corporate management agendas throughout the world yet, according to figures in Business Week, “up to 96% of all new projects fail to meet the targets for return on investment.”

Many companies try to drive innovation by using a ‘funnel model’ in which research results, new technologies or user insights are filtered in a very linear way, with the concepts that are left – those deemed most feasible – being quickly forced into business cases. Given the pitifully low success rate of innovations in general, it is obvious that such a model has its limitations.

Philips Design proposes an alternative view; that imaginative ideas should be explored on a case-by-case basis, rather than trying to impose a business ‘straitjacket’ too early. The Design Probes are fully in line with this philosophy, because they can produce valuable input for the innovation process through structured exploration of weak cultural signals and non-mainstream topics.

Read the rest (including two pretty interesting probe samples) here.

*The Dutch Design week will run from October 20th to 28th in approximately 40 locations throughout Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The probes presentation is part of a Philips Design exhibition in on the 4th floor of the Witte Dame. Daily at 17.00 Philips Design will organize a workshop around a theme of a currently project Philips Design is working on.

image: greenthumbs on miniature – courtesy of Yanko Design.