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HP Soars--Thanks To The Power Of Design.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on May 17, 2007

HP is on a roll—with great second quarter results. Much of this gain is due to HP’s strategic use of design. Behind the comeback for HP is a name you won’t find in the media this morning—Sam Lucente, HP’s design chief.

I was at a conference with Sam last week in Boston given by the PDMA and his presentation gave me a peak into what he is doing at HP. It’s shows the power of design to turn around a company.

Sam—and HP—uses design in three ways.

There is Design to Simplify. Design drives efficiency by cutting costs, a very important goal under the new CEO Mark Hurd. Designing products with fewer parts, easier assembly, cheaper tooling helps the bottom line. Simplicity also makes for better consumer experiences and drives what Sam calls the “attract rate.”

There is Design to Differentiate. By making HP’s laptops and PCs better and better looking, HP can create customer value and charge higher prices than competitor Dell (Sam didn’t say Dell but he meant it). Differentiation increases brand value and can extend the life of HP’s vast technology assets.

Then there is Design to Innovate. This is the hardest kind of design. New offerings and new markets can bring sharply higher rewards—but it is the hards and riskiest kind of design.

Here are some quotes from Sam on design and innovation:

“We simplified the consumer experience by adding a “back” button to the controls. We saw that people continually went back to what they were just doing. We simplified that.”

“Design helps turn technological innovations into experiential innovations.”

“Designers synthesize customer desires, business requirements and technological possibilities to imagine and create new offerings that optimize culture needs.”

This is good stuff. Keep it in mind when you read the HP has great results. It’s the “why” behind the numbers.

Reader Comments

Steve Portigal

May 17, 2007 5:17 PM

Thanks, Bruce, for offering some details. The NYT is all over the design->HP->profit story today but they provide no actual information about design in the piece. No mention of Sam Lucente, only the odd mention of "stylish" and bigger screens. That's what design is?

Glad to see it covered elsewhere with a bit more substance!

Chris Conley

May 18, 2007 2:49 AM

Congratulations, Sam! It is great to see the results coming out of HP. After having had Epson's for a number of years, I am back with hp. the interface on the 5100 and 6100 combination printers is fantastic. The simple and consistent main 5 button interface and the "direct" buttons for each of the functions makes using it a pleasure. I mean that! In addition, I set up the 6100 and without knowing it, stumbled upon that it was seemlessly connected to my 802.11 network. I can now print, fax, and transfer image files all wirelessly. it is clear the experience has been attended to.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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