I would like to add some thoughts to Clive Grinyer’s and Helen Jones’ stimulating article on product design (DW 22 September).
Yes, it is a great time for product design. I don’t know whether product design is dead, but I do agree that creating products and services within the context of a brand/ marketing strategy is the reason for the renaissance. This is because the brand has joined with technology to replace labour and materials as the major inputs of value in a sophisticated economy.
Certainly, there are increasing opportunities for creativity and the development of strategic thinking roles in the sector.
Successful businesses in the future won’t necessarily do their own in-house product design. They will seek to develop strategic relationships with organisations with competencies that complement their own. Highly sophisticated creative houses are emerging that understand consumer requirements and manufacturing and have the resources to turn a concept into a product.
Another point is that whatever strengths a business has, the winners will be those that own the ‘genius’. That genius can either be an innovative technology or device, a drop dead gorgeous brand or just some very clever logistics. The reality is that the product reflects this genius.
You can have the sexiest product range in the world, but if you don’t hold the genius then your lead in the market will be tenuous. An excellent example has to be Apple. Great product and yet the market capitalisation of Apple Computer is diving through the floor. Why? Because Microsoft’s operating system has the genius that consumers actually need.
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