[ Innovating by Making Sense of Things ]


Every product has a meaning. Yet many companies do not care about how to innovate meanings. They strive to understand how people currently give meaning to things—only to discover that this meaning has been suggested by an innovation designed by a competitor. [IN THE ILLUSTRATION On the wall: Kartell’s Bookworm bookshelf. The computer on the small table runs Intuit QuickBooks.]

MANY COMPANIES ACKNOWLEDGE that market competition is driven by products’ meanings—by “why” people need a product more than by “what” they need in a product. People buy and use products for deep reasons, often ...

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