Book Summary & Highlights -  Overcrowded: Designing Meaningful Products In A World Awash With Ideas By Roberto Verganti

Book Summary & Highlights - Overcrowded: Designing Meaningful Products In A World Awash With Ideas By Roberto Verganti



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Amazon Summary

The standard text on innovation advises would-be innovators to conduct creative brainstorming sessions and seek input from outsiders—users or communities. This kind of innovating can be effective at improving products but not at capturing bigger opportunities in the marketplace. In this book Roberto Verganti offers a new approach—one that does not set out to solve existing problems but to find breakthrough meaningful experiences. There is no brainstorming—which produces too many ideas, unfiltered—but a vision, subject to criticism. It does not come from outsiders but from one person's unique interpretation.

The alternate path to innovation mapped by Verganti aims to discover not how things work but why we need things. It gives customers something more meaningful—something they can love. Verganti describes the work of companies, including Nest Labs, Apple, Yankee Candle, and Philips Healthcare, that have created successful businesses by doing just this. Nest Labs, for example, didn't create a more advanced programmable thermostat, because people don't love to program their home appliances. Nest's thermostat learns the habits of the household and bases its temperature settings accordingly.

Verganti discusses principles and practices, methods and implementation. The process begins with a vision and proceeds through developmental criticism, first from a sparring partner and then from a circle of radical thinkers, then from external experts and interpreters, and only then from users.

Innovation driven by meaning is the way to create value in our current world, where ideas are abundant but novel visions are rare. If something is meaningful for both the people who create it and the people who consume it, business value follows.

About Author: Roberto Verganti

Author Presentations

Other Book Summaries


Innovation Of Meaning

Part 1: The Value

The Search For New Meaning

Competing Through Meaning

Part 2: The Principles

Innovation From The Inside Out

Make everyone's hypotheses explicit

Everyone within an organization harbors a sense of what could be meaningful to customers. Everyone nurtures hypotheses... If we do not expose them, they will in any case sway our interpretations when we listen to others... We do this by addressing this question: “What would I love people to love?

The Art Of Criticism

Part 3: The Process



Common Characteristics Of The Who

  1. They likely feel a sense of discomfort with the existing situation.
  2. They likely have a will to change and interesting hypotheses on where to go.
  3. They enjoy reflecting on the why of thing

The Meaning Factory

The Interpreter's Lab


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