Thursday, October 28, 2010

Business + Design: Does Your Company Foster or Inhibit Design?

HBR (Harvard Biz Review) has a great article out today "Five Beliefs that Inhibit Good Design" it is definitely worth a read. Here are topics covered:

"....There are also persistent misconceptions that keep many business leaders from realizing its potential in their organizations....most common ones:" 

1. "Quality is more important than design in my business."
If your design is lacking, your product will be viewed as a function only product, and sell at a commodity price point, and then you will have to cut quality features in order to reduce costs. Hello chicken, please meet Mr. Egg.)

2. It is more important for me to offer a great price than a great design. 

Yeah, price is important, but again, if the design isn't there, then you may end up with a product you can't give away. (For more info on this topic, please watch I Love Lucy Re-Runs, she has loads of examples.)

3. I would like to have a great design, but I have to launch on time.

Argggh! I really get peeved at this one. If you don't plan in time for design (and all the required research, prototyping, etc.) then you shouldn't be leading the ship-period! That's like saying you don't have time to take a drink of water-go ahead, don't drink water for a few days, and see how well that works for you. The same principle applies to design being an integral part of the functioning of any company.

4. Design and aesthetics are too subjective — I need data to make decisions.

Not really, no. You need a market tested, trusted designer, design team, or creative director to provide you with a trend right, feature/benefit right, value engineered product that will sell. 

This is a design thinking (right brain/left brain) issue.I have many times had this discussion (calmly I'd like to add). My explanation to those who are corpous collosum-ly challenged, consider a stock investment: is there ever enough purely objective 'data' to make a 'decision'? 'Nuf-said! by committee is not an option. Committees only give birth to products that look like lab experiments gone wrong. (Reference US Auto designs for the last 20 years).

5. I will create the product or service; I trust the advertising experts to tell the story. 

Okay...consider the the I-pad?! The fact that Apple had the cogones to name a product after a feminine product, reinforces the assumption Apple knows they have created product sells itself, regardless of what they name it!

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