Although the risks and rewards of outsourcing product design have been argued extensively in the literature, little hard data on project outcomes exist to inform the discussion, and even these are methodologically suspect. To address this gap, this paper uses novel random sampling techniques to locate projects and measure the distribution of project outcomes in one particular type of design outsourcing, domestic design consulting. The results suggest that design consulting outcomes are generally good but vary significantly between projects and consultancies. Overall rates of product commercialization and market success compare favorably to results previously reported for in-house product design, and client satisfaction levels are comparable to those of other service industries.

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