Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Corporate Design Challenges - 90yrs of Braun

Normally product companies work within their own fences, focusing on the applicability of the internal design team and within the framework set down by the CDO - Chief Design Officer or CPO - Chief Product Officer, relatively new positions within firms. Why? Marketing and Tecnology, CMO & CTO are often at odds with who "owns" the consumer. Why? Because firms often believe that customers know what they want - as Steve Jobs pattently knew: customers don't know what they want until they see it.

How do firms take advantage of this? By involving external designers, external experts and not relying solely on internal design navel gazing - something firms like Braun have been experts at for more than 90 years now. See how they do this.

These external and internal efforts, led by some of the best designers in Braun's history and certainly the world, such as Peter Behrens, and Dietrich Lubs and Ram's philosophy shaped an entire company, and more generation of designers. How many firms can say that? And how many firms are committed to keeping their R&D windows open? Not many. But those that do follow Braun's lead. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

5 Innovation Fail's - not to be ignored

Recently we were asked how exactly do you know where a New Product Development efforts fail point and more how can they apply to innovation processes? Naturally this means taking a hard look at "that which might destroy you can make you stronger" via the 5. 

Let's review: 
1) Innovation is episodic - and certainly not something you kill at the 1st sign of missing revenue. R&D does not come over night and New Venture teams do not produce cash flying out of their backside in one quarter
2) Resources are held hostage by incumbent businesses - let those who are in power determine where $$$ is spent on new development and they will always choose their own best interests: an instant innovation killer. 
3) Slamming innovation into the structure that you have - when an organization is not interested in growth by the architecture of the firm itself, trying to "make" innovation happen simply won't. 
4) Too little diversity of thought - when confronted with complex systems, a team with a broader range of potentially relevant experiences tends to do better as no one eye can see all possibilities. 
5) Treating assumptions like knowledge - relying on "managers of innovation" is just as stupid as asking Leonardo da Vinci to group think the Mona Lisa as managers are rewarded for being "right" when the easiest way to be right is to take very few risks and innovation has nothing to do with "few risks" occurs when direct refutable evidence is tested in the real world with real customers/partners/manufacturers/etc. 

The article in HBS online tells even more. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

When design matters - Google buys a design co.: Mike and Maaike

Naturally when the big players move, the market takes notice and taking center stage at Google in the physical design world are the advancements of Project Glass and the recent accquisition of design company Mike and Maaike into the Google fold.

Does this signify any radical shift of design importance in the hi-tech world? No. In the North American Market? Yes. Design-centric studios are at the center of technological direction, consumer value, brand perception, and of course functional development and product acceptance which we all understand as Apple soars to higher and higher levels of consumer demand because of it's aesthetic awareness putting a high value on it's internal design team and how it effects the bottom line. Should Google partner with Gucci? Prada? Hermes? Yes. Is it valuable? How can we measure this? As simple as the number of news, blog, and twitter postings of Google's aquistion of Mike and Maaike as reported in business specific publicatons such as Business insider, Tech News, CNN, C-Net, Fast Company Design, ID Magazine, etc. and naturally as in the design world as well.