Smart Design is a consultancy that’s helped design the OXO Good Grips line of kitchen tools, the popular Flip digital camcorder, and the Fusion dashboard for Ford. Last week, we gathered at Smart’s gorgeous New York City headquarters with about 50 executives from a variety of industries, from venture capital to healthcare, to talk about the relationship between industrial design and the economy. One of the highlights was a chart that Smart co-founder Davin Stowell created for the event. It looks at the stock market and correlates important highlights from design history— the debut of Cadillac’s iconic fins; the first personal computers) and spikes in trading. Here’s the chart, below (and you can download a larger version on Flickr):
While at Smart, I sat down with Stowell for a podcast. We discussed the chart in detail, along with the role that industrial design plays during today’s recession and how, um, smart companies will deploy design as a business strategy as consumers change their shopping habits. Here’s the podcast I recorded with Davin. Please feel free to use this blog’s comment section as a place to open the discussion further on the points that Davin makes.
And stay tuned to the NEXT blog to see video clips from the panel on evolutionary and revolutionary design that BusinessWeek held with Smart’s co-founders Stowell, Dan Formosa, and Tom Dair, and Smart’s VP of Industrial Design Richard Whitehall. Bruce Nussbaum moderated.
What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles 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.