"It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."-Steve Jobs
There's a new race in business to embrace "design thinking." Yet most executives have no clue what to make of the recent buzz about design. It's rarely the subject of business retreats. It's not easily measurable. To many, design is simply a crapshoot.
Drawing on interviews with top executives such as Virgin's Richard Branson and Nike's Mark Parker, Jay Greene illuminates the methods of companies that rely on design to stand out in their industries. From the experiences of those at companies from Porsche to REI to Lego, we learn that design isn't merely about style and form. The heart of design is rethinking the way products and services work for customers in real life. Greene explains how:
-Porsche pit its designers against each other to create its bestselling Cayenne SUV
-Clif listened intently to customers, resulting in the industry-changing Luna energy bar
-OXO paid meticulous attention to the details, turned its LiquiSeal mug from an abysmal failure into one of its greatest successes
-LEGO started saying no to its designers-saving its brick business in the process
Greene shows how important it is to build a culture in which design is more than an after-the-fact concern-it's part of your company's DNA. Design matters at every stage of the process. It isn't easy, and it increases costs, but it also boosts profits, sometimes to a massive extent. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, design represents the best chance you have of transcending your competitors.
A series of case studies of attractive and efficient design, from journalist Greene, makes a persuasive case for regarding design as an essential component of the development process of any product, which must be attended to at all stages, not just at the end. The best service or product design, according to Greene, creates a singular experience for the customer. Through case studies of design-savvy companies like Porsche, Nike, LEGO, OXO, Clif bars, and Virgin Atlantic, Greene discusses the brands origins and presses home the point that successful companies turn their customers into cultists of a sort, admirers of both the form and function of the products they re using. Porsche drivers love the experience of driving the car, not just its clean lines; OXO identifies its customers cleaning pet peeves, then designs products around them; REI doesn t just sell gear but authenticity. While Greene s enthusiasm is clear, and design aficionados will lap up the case studies, the omission of prescriptive instruction and slight analysis make this a hard sell to the general reader.
Not a major work
But interesting nonetheless. Some new examples, too, not just same old same old. It was a breeze to read and not too full of itself.
Design is how it works
Sadly, there is very little new here. A few interesting case studies with no significant insights. Disappointing!