Author(s): Jay Greene
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; and, 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. It helps you to 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.
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Jay Greene, former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and an award-winning journalist, has written about business and technology for more than two decades. He has also written for the Seattle Times, the Orange Country Register, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Variety. He lives in Seattle.