Design Roadmapping: Challenges and Opportunities
While product and technology roadmaps have been well-formalized in terms of their structures, methodologies, and frameworks, design roadmaps have not been explicitly explored nor studied from either an academic or industry practice standpoint. With increasing uncertainties, rapid changes, and complexities in market environments, companies are finding that they can no longer differentiate their products and services by relying on traditional roadmapping processes that focus on technologies and product features. Rather strategies that revolve around the holistic experience of products or services are more likely to be successful in today’s market. In this paper thirty-five interviews of product managers, technology managers and designers from San Francisco Bay Area consumer product companies were analyzed and synthesized. We summarize challenges and opportunities for the design roadmapping process in order to formalize its structure, framework and elements. We illustrate with Sproutel’s product, Jerry the Bear, (Sproutel.com, 2015) as an example of an integrated design roadmap model used in their product development and evolution.