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Apple, Google,Yahoo, GE, P&G--design equals innovation.


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November 21, 2005

Apple, Google,Yahoo, GE, P&G--design equals innovation.

Bruce Nussbaum

Michael Bierut of Pentagram fame has cut through the blather to raise a really fascinating--and funny-- issue in Corporate America. Everyone loves design but no one wants to call it design. Top CEOs and managers want to call design something else--innovation. Innovation, that they are comfortable with. Design, well, its a little too wild and crazy for them. So they call it innovation.

I've been seeing this phenomenon for some time now--ever since design took off as a strategy and way of thinking inside big corporations. The same managers who are perfectly comfortable talking about "vision," whatever that is, don't like to talk about "design." Innovation, however, connotes measurement, control and has a kind of engineering tonality to it. So "innovation" is accepted.

As for me, I think that if managers are uncomfortable with the term design, they should call it a "banana." Bananas are beautiful, functional, organic, unique, measureable, portable, pleasurable and provide a delightful, emotional experience to consumers. Bananas embody what CEOs and managers are struggling to achieve in using design to create new products and services.

Yes, it took the legendary designer Michael Bierut to make me have this epiphany. Banana. Wow.

05:35 PM

design strategy

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A debate on design, innovation and business from Putting people first

Michael Bierut of Pentagram argues in the piece on Innovation is the new black at Design Observer that corporations are uncomfortable with the term design and prefer to call it innovation. This provoked a very insightful response by Larry Keeley of Dob... [Read More]

Tracked on November 22, 2005 11:20 AM

With all due respect Bruce, if the word design were to be replaced by "banana" you'd have designers singing, "Tally me banana... " instead of submitting RFP's. :)

Posted by: Niti Bhan at November 22, 2005 03:40 AM

I wholeheartedly support your banana notion.

Some dislike "design", others the term "creative" to refer to a designer.

I'd prefer to put an end to the crying and try banana.

But...wait...I think I prefer Apple...

Posted by: christina at November 25, 2005 09:22 PM


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