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Paper info: Gaining More Benefits of Design: An Analysis of Relationships in Buying Industrial Design Services, a Finnish Perspective

Title


Gaining More Benefits of Design: An Analysis of Relationships in Buying Industrial Design Services, a Finnish Perspective

Authors


Asta Salmi
Helsinki School of Economics
Finland
Asta Salmi and
Virva Haltsonen
Helsinki School of Economics
Finland
Virva Haltsonen

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.

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Abstract


The aim of this study is to analyze the buying practices and expectations of customer companies buying design services. Design-oriented companies are studied to understand how a sporadic project-based utilization has been transferred into deep cooperative relationships. The research concentrates on industrial design consultancies, although the consultancies usually offer adjacent, supporting services to the clients. A longitudinal, empirical study concentrates on Suunto Ltd. The analysis is complemented with interviews of the cooperating design consultancies. Suunto has an established design function and has combined in-house design and external design consultancies, making design one of its key competitive elements. This paper supplements earlier IMP studies by analysing a new area of services: industrial design. Analysis of the buying practices in design services and the client-design consultancy - relations shows that in this context relationship endurance is a prerequisite for increased benefits in the cooperation between a client customer and a design consultancy. Design can be a considerable element in innovation creation and provide strong competitive elements to companies utilizing design. While design is primarily an outsourced activity in Finland, the client firm-design consultancy -relationship should be studied on an inter-organizational level to grasp the benefits of the cooperative practises, e.g. strategic level input and access to specialist knowledge.