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Perspectives on Innovation: The Role of Engineering Design

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2019

Ola Isaksson
Chalmers University of Technology;
Claudia Eckert
The Open University;
Olivia Borgue
Chalmers University of Technology;
Sophie I Hallstedt
Blekinge Institute of Technology;
Andreas Makoto Hein
Université Paris-Saclay;
Killian Gericke
University of Luxembourg;
Massimo Panarotto
Chalmers University of Technology;
Yoram Reich
Tel Aviv University;
Anna B Öhrwall Rönnbäck
Luleå University of Technology
E-mail address:


The aim of the paper is to foster a discussion in the engineering design community about its understanding of the innovation phenomena and the unique contribution that comes from engineering design. The paper reports on the dialouge originating from a series of workshops with participants from different backgrounds in engineering design, systems engineering, industrial design psychology and business.

Definitions of innovation are revisited as used in business, management and engineering design contexts. The role of innovation is then discussed related to product development from (i) the management perspective, (ii) a systems architecture perspective and (iii) in relation to sustainable development as one driver of innovation.

It is argued that engineering design has a central role in how to realise the novelty aspect of innovation and often plays a critical role in maturing these into the valuable products, and there is a need to articulate the role of engineering design in innovation to better resonate with the business and management research.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
© The Author(s) 2019


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