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.