Billboard er um BusinessWeek's Top 100 Innovative Companies

Good question. I would would hazard a guess, maybe it is a poorly labeled chart. I would assume one is new products for existing customers and the other is new products for new customers with the higher percentage for existing customers. Also, since those numbers add up to 111%, I would say it was the number of respondents who chose extremely important, somewhat important and important.

I would agree that their wording is poor. I would have done a 5 point scale of extremely important, somewhat important, neither important or unimportant, somewhat unimportant and extremely unimportant.

I would also suggest that they are holding back on the report so paying customers get the full read.

Yes, the end user is the person using the product. They don’t purchase the product and have very little influence in the decision-making process. For example, you may be expert at Pro-E but when you got hired your employer bought you a Solidworks seat because that is what the office uses.

In the context of a particular operating system or software application in use in an organization your point is relevant and valid. In the previous post, however, you use the concept of medical devices as an example, citing

“I can’t speak for all non-consumer products but in the medical device industry I would estimate 95% of the end users (typically technicians and nurses) have about 5-10% say if the device should be used or which brand of device should be used. I am certainly not saying they should be dismissed but in the overall scheme, they are low on the totem.”

In this specific instance, your point is that regarding the actual choice of product/brand, that is, purchasing decisions or vendor choice - agreed, the end users ‘usually’ have little say.

However, in the context of Industrial design, when you’re design products for use by people, particularly in the area of medical devices, the focus is or should be on how the users navigate the systems and interact with the machine/product in order to improve performance and minimize errors.

These, to me, are two entirely different thiings - the choice of what to buy, and the industrial designer’s focus on how it should work. Your point is that (and please, correct me if I’ve interpreted it wrong) because the end user is the low man on the totem pole, it doesn’t matter in B2B situations what hte design is like ?

I agree with you completely. The context in which I was trying communicate (and not very well I might add) was on a more strategic level that the BCG reports are aimed. Design is important but not necessarily as important as other business and engineering issues. The interface on an MR needs to be easy to operate not because of an overall design goal but because the easier the design, the lower level of education the operator needs and therefor you can pay them less. Also, the interface needs to be easy to use but more important is the efficacy of the procedure and the ease of reimbursement for the procedure. Sometimes design can improve outcomes but most of the time it is seen as an “added” benefit. Also, equipment can be bundled from a vendor. You buy this equipment and you get the the other equipment at a discount. There are many other examples where design is not an important driver for a purchasing decision.

Quite. Let me guess, you’ve a Top 10 MBA perchance?

Depends on where you draw the boundaries around design, though. Aesthetic appeal and styling, sure, you’re absolutely right.

But having the product make sense for who buys it, how they buy it, who uses it, where they use it, who has the money, what’s the distribution channel, all that - those are product decisions, business decisions, design decisions. Those are things that have to be “designed” into the delivering of the product.

That doesn’t mean that an industrial designer with Pro-E takes care of those details. So maybe in this group that is not considered design; I imagine that most of us who are in this board however take a broader view.

The boundaries we’re discussing (where does design end?) are arbitrary and may have more to do with the skill sets or even culture of the organization involved in developing the product/service/bundle.

i wonder if design is becoming an innovative hobby for business people. i see new products going in that direction and giving me this feeling the product was manipulated due to some excessive external development excersie which lies beyond the normal design comprehension of a typical group of designers/planners.

i also believe that companies designing new products search for designs rather than create them. by searching i mean they do it like locating an area that’s out of a regular loop and placing it on a different orbit.

i don’t know where this will take new design and how important it is for modern design but from past experiences in design history we can be sure:

products that have lesser connection with the world surrounding them tend to perform weaker

Nope. Just a jackass IDer. I would agree with stevep. I have had the opportunity to cross the traditional ID boundries into business, marketing and other areas to deliver the total product/service/bundle. Unfortunately, too few companies allow the blurring of those boundries. Maybe that should be criteria for determining an “innovative” company. I can’t tell you how many times I have held back on research I was conducting for engineering because they said it was market research and would get slap from marketing (and visa versa). Why can’t these organizations understand putting up these turf walls is just bad business.

Most of these companies are innovators in their space. What needs to be realized is that the market has rewarded them fiscally. For instance, how much is it worth for a company to be known of as ‘innovative’ to their customers. Its hard to pinpoint because the innovation may be in distribution, for the case of Wal-Mart and transparent to most customers, or a well planned media campaign. Innovation is not always about the thing. I still don’t see how IDEO always makes these lists. Their process is no different than a lot of companies. The fact though that they are on the list makes them innovative by default . . . or does it.