I am crashing away, writing up the 2006 Industrial Designers Excellence Awards contest, and all I can say is that there are some pretty big surprises. Design/Innovation consultancies that have won in the past are absent and new design faces abound. Terrific.
Another surprise is Asia rising in design. This was a huge year for Asia in the IDEA awards. In 2004, the percentage of golds with design teams from Asia came to about 8%. In 2005, it was about the same. But this year, Asians took 26% of the golds.
What’s at work? I’m not sure but clearly comnpanies and designers based in China, Korea, Japan and elsewhere in Asia are doing much better design/innovation work. Just look at Samsung, and LG. The level has risen tremendously. They are also learning how to win contests—an essential skill these days. That takes a bit of time but it looks like they have the knowledge now. And they are hooking up with US and European design firms to help them in their design. You see this time and again, especially in China.
The structure of the design/innovation business model is changing rapidly. I call it the commoditization of design. More in our big package due out the end of this week.
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