Is the World’s new obsession/focus on Innovation opening the “Design market” to others? Are Designer feeling the competition?

I am convinced the current innovation obsession is a business fad. Perhaps its just a semantic fad, as prior to this, Time to Market was the mantra of which a few dregs are still mentioned, usually referencing Toyota vs. GM. Hype about how this affected the market described product development processes and co-located, cross functional teams highlighting consultants and suppliers on clients’ site.

Somewhere between ‘globalism’ and ‘innovation’ I see many companies less concerned with co-location than with acquiring or contracting the best fit solution regardless of next door, state or country, and demanding more inclusive services from that solution. For designers for hire, this translates to developing a core competency or market niche specialty, marketing it as such and sticking to it (i.e. industrial design / product development of ___). As that Xerox guy correctly said, design is a commodity, but specialty design and market knowledge is not, and companies in their ‘innovation’ strategy require specialties in their area.

An offshoot of this is that you may not be working for the end producer but for a subcontractor who sold the owner on providing just such specialty service, who then had to go out and get it. Innovative approach, I guess.