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Wow. Samsung beat out Apple 8 to 7 in this years annual Industrial Design Excellence Awards sponsored by Business Week. This is a remarkable achievement for the Korean company.
I remember meeting Samsung executives year after year at the annual dinner given by the IDSA and Business Week. Each time it was a table of middle-aged males in suits. Then about a dozen years ago, we had dinner and it was different. With the suits were two young, flamboyant guys in colored shirts and ties who knew the language of design. Something was happening at Samsung.
Later, IDEO opened up it’s IDEO U, mainly for Samsung, as I recall. Dozens and dozens of Samsung managers and designers spent months in IDEO’s offices in California learning, absorbing, engaging in the culture of design. A bit later, I put Samsung on the cover of Business Week’s Asia edition when it won big in the IDEA awards for the first time ever.
It’s hard to believe today but in the early 90s there was a lot of talk about how hard it would be for Confucian-based cultures to be creative. The argument was that these cultures (Korea, China, Taiwan), were conservative, hierarchical, with long traditions of copying older artists.
Well, yes, in schools throughout Asia, there remains a strong element of that culture. But Samsung shows that history is not always a guide to the future, that people can break out from their cultural straight-jackets and that in the competitive world of business, old ways of doing things can be sacrificed for the new when the new can show it creates value.
Samsung’s success should be copied—and there is no better country to start copying than the US. American business culture has resisted innovation and creativity for far too long in the chase for short-term profits.
And check out the interactive gallery of all 151 winners.
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.