Understanding where in the new world of IP-based computing that human communication and interaction are critical will enable new ventures to create innovative applications and application platforms. Understanding the design process, human communication, and unique visualizations will help to sustain innovation.
Design is critical to long-term innovation
When we look at the companies that are perceived as continually innovative over the course of time, we see that design and the user/customer experience is critical to their success. These companies are diverse, ranging from entertainment to automobiles. For example:
- Apple Computer
- Walt Disney Corporation
- Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works
- Xerox PARC
- Sony Corporation
All of the above examples have embraced design for different purposes but design has been a critical component of their ongoing innovation and market acceptance. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works used design to successfully build the fastest, highest-flying spy plane to date (based on available data and records available in aviation annals). Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich believed that the way to remove the engineers and aircraft designers from their ivory towers was to require that when designing an aircraft that would hold two persons the lead designer should accompany the test pilot on the incredibly dangerous tests including the first flight (Johnson & Smith, 1989; Rich & Janos, 1994). This philosophy ensured that his designers and engineers would build great planes that could fly; it also created an open door policy among the users (the pilots) and the designers that ensured that designers and pilots could work together to build the best planes.
Apple Computer successful commercialized the first mass adopted graphical user interface and personal computer with the Macintosh in 1984. Apple has since had its ups and downs but is still on the forefront of personal computer innovation. The Macintosh and the Mac OS was revolutionary in 1984, focusing on building a computer that cheap, easy to use, and user friendly. Apple helped create the personal computer market and through the 1980s and early 1990s. Apple continues to use a blend of design, technology and business to be successful.
Great innovative companies require a strong foundation in business, technology and design.
How does design and design research contribute in the creation of these innovative organizations? Design and the design process inform the products and services that innovative organizations bring to market.