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Five Questions for Bruce Claxton, Senior Director, Design Integration, Motorola

Posted by: Helen Walters on November 10, 2008

Claxton.jpgIt hasn’t exactly been the best of times for Motorola of late. As we reported recently, this year the company’s market share plummeted to 8.4% globally, down from 22.4% in 2006, when its Razr handset was all the rage.

Bruce Claxton has been with Moto for more than 25 years and is now the Senior Director of Design Integration in the firm’s Network and Enterprise Group. He’s in charge of the firm’s industrial design and human factors innovation teams and has won nearly every design award under the sun. He’s coming in to see me on Tuesday 18 November, to talk about new initiatives — and to answer your questions.

Usual rules apply, post your questions below and include your full name (or however you’d like to be credited) and location. We’ll post the video here the following week.

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Reader Comments

Nancy King

November 11, 2008 03:10 PM

Cell technology and design is constantly changing but it is beginning to seem like the changes are of incremental benefit to the consumer. Keyboards, sizes, applications are evolving but big improvements like GPS came from Google not a cell manufacturer and was popularized and optimized by iPhone. Don't you think the real opportunity for leadership in this space is going beyond shuffling the existing deck of features, and moving towards solving problems like seamless integration with other devices or alternative charging methods that don't require plugging in, cords, adapters? What do you think is going to be the most significant consumer need in the next couple of years?


November 12, 2008 09:02 PM

You have to ask your self that after throwing away a leading micro-processor business, then a data networking business then a wireless telephony, anyone is left even bothering to ask why.. Arrogance, hubris or incompetence take you pick.. who cares..

Pavan Soni

November 13, 2008 08:46 AM

What could be the greatest disruption to the cell phone market, in your view. And how prepared is Motorola for ride such a wave.

David L

November 13, 2008 06:27 PM


You've ben through many 'eras' of leadership at Motorola, both at the corporate level and at the design level. Some of those eras have produced more successes then others - the leadership configuration that brought about the Razor is a positive one. What's the formula for success there? How can Motorola 'get it' again and 'keep it' this time?


November 13, 2008 08:58 PM

Beyond the advent of thin (the RAZR), cozy keyboards (BlackBerry), and touch-screen magic (the iPhone), are there any true game-changers to be had in terms of mobile hardware, or is it all about software going forward?

B. Warren Harding

November 13, 2008 10:24 PM

With Google and Apple introducing swift, streamlined operating systems, what appeal is there in a cumbersome platform like Windows Mobile? In fact, given BlackBerry's dominance among business users, you can't even argue that tighter integration with Windows-based PC's is a compelling reason to put up with Mobile Windows and it's time-swallowing hour glass.

Sri Jay

November 14, 2008 02:06 AM

I admire the hardware design of motorola's phones.they surpass industry standards and also customer expectations.But why does is it that motorola dosent seem to place enough importance on its software /UI development?
for example, the RAZR remains one of the best designed handsets ever , until one opens it up to interact with its software, which lets users down on the experience.

Huy Nguyen

November 14, 2008 10:52 AM

They screwed up big time. Look at Apple, the IPhone is the ultimate design expression of elegant. Motorola is the GM of the automobile world.

Bill Salmon

November 14, 2008 03:16 PM

From the public service perspective, Motorola has designed many significant technologies to support these operations, specifically Police and Industry, but very little specifically for Fire Response. Can you elaborate on your vision for Motorola to better understand firefighting operations, equipment, and design needs? I ask you to break them down into categories which you feel are significant, such as portable radio use, mobile radios, microphone development, cell phones, and mobile data possibilities.


November 14, 2008 04:42 PM

What design features are you looking to incorporate into your products
that will enhance their utility for law enforcement organizations?

Because of the focus on Homeland Security, do your products address
interoperability issues currently facing local and federal law
enforcement agencies as well as defense organizations?


November 14, 2008 04:50 PM

My Q would be: "Bruce, what business does Motorola consider itself to be in (now and tomorrow): producing cellular headsets or.....?"

Jason Matthews

November 16, 2008 10:53 PM

The consumer is driving the market for smaller and more stylish handsets. This has affected public safety products, as many of our users are now demanding public safety performance in a consumer package.

How and where do you see this trend going as we move forward, when it comes to size, and especially battery life?


November 17, 2008 11:33 AM

What exactly does your group do on a day to day basis to provide value to Motorola and your customers? More specifically do you work in the product definition space and how far out in the future are looking?

Denise Anderson

November 17, 2008 12:02 PM

We have read about Motorola's new focus towards Androïd and WinMob. It's certainly a good idea in order to reduce costs and increase the reliability, but how about do you plan to manage the differenciation between your handsets and the many other manufacturers producing these kinds of devices ?

November 17, 2008 05:37 PM

Aside from adding more and more functionality to cell phones and PDAs, which I'm not sure hits the mark, how can your team design a device that truly evokes a user's emotion rather than just giving him/her utility?

Is it possible -- maybe through simplicity and thinking about basics like how people use and hold a phone, etc. -- to make a cell phone or PDA that has longevity.. like the Eames lounge chair of devices? I'm not sure if this would be done through shape/form, manufacturing, materials, colors.. but I'm curious to know what you think.

Thanks, Bruce.

Thanks, Helen.


November 17, 2008 08:53 PM

Industrial design is mostly associated with consumer electronics product design - with the likes of the iphone, ipod, razr. Do you suppose it will make its mark in the b2b sector?


November 18, 2008 02:29 AM

How do you deal with the challenge of making devices smaller while at the same ensuring that it functions better (eg. the keypad, the knobs)? This is especially so when designing products for public safety.

Also, is Motorola going to explore incorporating consumer-focused technology and design into the design of government and public sector products?

Helen Walters

December 2, 2008 05:00 PM

Hi. Helen here. Thanks so much for all the great questions. You can see Bruce answer five of them here:

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What comes next? The BusinessWeek Innovation and Design team of Michael Arndt and Helen Walters chronicle new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.

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