Overcrowded: Designing Meaningful Products in a World Awash with Ideas


Overcrowded: Designing Meaningful Products in a World Awash with Ideas, challenges the conventional wisdom that innovation is all about problem-solving and that the key to success is creating more ideas to solve problems.

In a world full of ideas, the author Roberto Verganti argues, the advantage lie with organizations that can craft innovative visions, rather than those that can find yet one more idea. This is a provocative book that will get you to think about innovation in an entirely new way.

This book is a beautiful demonstration that the sense of innovation has changed. Product breakthrough won’t make the difference: the pioneers who imagine the world that didn’t exist before are the ones to succeed. Roberto Verganti reveals a strategic key to business leadership: value creation is fundamentally about sharing a powerful purpose and creating experiences that inspire people inside and outside the company.

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.