Wednesday, 27 April 2011

mass customization = innovation and pure design

The Milan furniture fair is one of the largest worldwide design events spanning everything from office, home, lighting as well as new product development. The biggest names in design from every continent arrive and for 7 solid days it is the hub of innovation.

The largest firms are present with some quite intense "breakthroughs" of design and engineering thinking - the kinds of things you won't see in you home for 5 years - 3 to be agressive. Companies like Whirpool and Aston Martin for interiors but not even limited to that as they unveil their new Cygnet at the wallpaper event. Salone is not just for furniture or design it is where some of the next big products get launched for a truly international audience

But this is often regarded as the more artistic side. So what happens when the worlds of mass customization and art come together? Projects like SketchChair are born and as reported by Fast Company. Not only can this be considered "design" is a relative sense, but the fact that upon paying for your design it is flat shipped to you. CNC and laser cut this is just another example of how consumer art in the future may be delivered to clients. Nike and many other companies have experimented with this as micro customization for some time addiding even more to the visibility of their innovator status.

Monday, 4 April 2011

ROI and "good design"

A constant question asked both in the executive education work that we do, the client drawing table, board room and around the office is "what is good design" and what is "design innovation" - a quite loaded phrase these days.

The answer, is one most may not agree with as it is a question - "what are the criteria" and none better seem to review and understand this as the "Good Design Awards" started more than 50+ years go and which is now taking applications for the 2011 award.

What is important to note is that the jury is truly an international body composed of the 3 most basic areas: design, engineering and finance. Their criteria for review is nothing short of a mystery, by voting and peer review. Their numerical review is not published and the process is as comprehensive as it is complicated in the same way as a VC funding review. What IS important is to note that no one area takes precedent: design, engineering & manufacturing or finance & ROI nor is this limited to the scope of "is this beneficial" to the company that produced the work.

What IS important is the fact (which cannot be easily seen from the results of the award) is the creativity and value that the design brings above and beyond what exists in the market, e.g. the competition to the product that has been designed and released. THIS is the true value of design and potentially the underlying value of the award itself and should be noted as you look through the many categories of fine output.