Just Say “No” to Innovation?
Posted by Plish on March 24, 2009
Interesting and intriguing post over at FastCompany.
Mr. Gadi Amit attempts to (re)draw the distinction between Innovation and Design; that innovation is more analytical and design more intuitive. He writes:
Glorified by the likes of Bruce Nussbaum of BusinessWeek and David Kelly of IDEO, “innovation” blurs the boundaries between the worlds of engineering and design. It devalues the real strength of industrial design by forcing an analytical structure over the process of developing a non-analytical design. Similarly, it makes engineering play design, while over-selling its value in defining the “right design”.
Design also has a pre-eminent quality to it – one can design innovative product/processes but I’m not sure design processes can be innovated without recourse to…
Part of the ‘problem’ (if you agree there is one), is that the drive to innovate and improve innovation has been connected with quality measures and the Six Sigma process. Everyone wants to measure innovation.
That’s great, but innovative product development includes Design and “R” (irrespective of “D”.) These two disciplines often dovetail together (or are purposely overlapped!) early to mid in the product development process and what they bring to the table often isn’t measurable in terms of product performance per se.
It is not unusual for large companies (that claim they are innovative) to develop products according to established and measured performance values, then lose market share to ‘inferior’ products (according to the previously mentioned performance metrics)-simply because a smaller company has designed it with that certain je ne sais quoi.
Yes, there are techniques for measuring “intangibles”. While not totally objective per se, it does mean that judging good design, market rocking design, doesn’t have to be totally subjective.
Nevertheless, Mr. Amit’s point is well taken.
~Sometimes intuition in design isn’t given its due~
~Sometimes the design is right because it is~
~Sometimes you just know~
What do you think about Mr. Amit’s thoughts?