Design Roadmapping: A Framework and Case Study on Planning Development of High-Tech Products in Silicon Valley
We propose a framework for design roadmapping that parallels existing product roadmapping and technology roadmapping processes. It leverages three needs we have observed in organizations as they use existing roadmapping processes: (1) to focus on development of customer and user experiences (UX), not just on features; (2) to increase engagement of designers early in the planning process; and (3) to provide a means for rapidly responding to changes in the environment. Design roadmapping is an attempt to reconcile differences that arise when customer/user needs are not considered simultaneously with technology choices. The proposed design roadmapping process assists project prioritization and selection. The process aggregates design experience elements along a timeline that associates key user needs with the products, services, and/or systems the organization wishes to deliver. To illustrate the design roadmapping process, we conducted a case study in which we applied the design roadmapping process to projects undertaken by a large corporation's innovation lab located in research centers in San Francisco and Mountain View, CA, in partnership with corporate stakeholders located in Asia. The five-step design roadmapping procedure is provided along with detailed information. The decisions from the design roadmapping process have been incorporated into the company's commercial plans. Key findings in this corporate case study bolster the positive impact of design roadmapping in moving strategic thinking from a technology/feature-driven process to one that is design/experience-driven. It shows how firms might weigh choices between user needs, design principles, and technological innovation.