Gamification in concept design: Applying market mechanisms to enhance innovation and predict concept performance

Journal of Design, Business & Society

Soren Ingomar Petersen & Hokyoung Ryu


Abstract :Predicting the success of a potential breakthrough innovative business opportunity in New Product Development (NPD) is notoriously difficult and is synonymous with high market and technology risk. As a consequence, NPD organizations favour concurrent exploration of multiple concepts where the most promising concepts are evaluated and selected at each stage-gate.The two challenges associated with this approach are ensuring a sufficiently wide exploration of the market–technology space, followed by assessing the potential of breakthrough innovations. Individual designers usually conduct early exploration independently or within design teams, applying an organic and analogous search approach. In contrast, the project team members collectively make decisions for early design concept selection, applying a non-analytical and unstructured decision-making process. The combination of grounded exploratory study and hypothesis-driven study examines the use of gamification and, in Keywords breakthrough innovation concept exploration decision-making gamification risk-attitude business strategy business model concept design experimentation 96 particular, how gamification can assist in promoting the exploration of breakthrough innovative concepts in the early design concept phase, combined with concurrent and early identification of the most promising candidates. Studies conducted consisted of a pilot study at Copenhagen Business School where we identified migration of risk in the business phase and two other studies conducted in the Design Technology and Innovation Management project courses at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. The last two studies were a baseline study and an experimentation study, where we observed and collected teams’ market and technology risk-preferences, teams’ and external panel’s grading as well as Design Quality Criteria scoring. In the second study, we established the baseline for risk-preference migration and in the third study we implemented eight weeks of gamification, applying the Prediction Market approach. The findings showed that gamification promotes extended risk-taking, can assess team-confidence and decision-making ability and acts as an early indicator of the performance of the final concepts. Suggestions for future studies include testing of gamification on industry projects and making it operational by adapting the approach to the NPD culture, organizational structures and project decision-making processes.

The ramifications of this study for the management of breakthrough innovations is that gamification provides a superior approach for motivating design teams to take on more market and technology risks for an extended period of time, while offering an improved concept selection method when faced with concepts with a high level of market and technology uncertainty. It recommends that management place more weight on the performance assessment on teams with low levels of self-confidence as compared with teams with a high level of self-confidence.
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