So far no one has specified that this thread (or even the way we are using the term innovation) as being only about product development. That is fine for the sake of this discussion and this board, but dangerous as a general assumption. We don’t own the word, and shouldn’t be trying to define its scope so narrowly. As JT rightfully points out, many of the most significant innovations of late have had very little to do with Industrial Design. It also seems that by narrowing the definition so much we are effectively saying: industrial designers are the best at industrial design innovation, and thus innovation. That’s kind of cheating.
In any case, I would still challenge your statement that ID’ers are more qualified even for innovation in product development. Yes, we have some skills and processes that are important a very effective for product development, but it takes many people and skills to develop a truly innovative product and make it a success. The Dell products are not innovative because of the product design, but of the companyâ€™s organization and distribution infrastructure. As beautiful as the iPod is, the ID is still only one part of Apple’s success story. Much of Puma’s success is owed to their marketing. The Prius, Segway, Computer Mouse, George Foreman Grill, the Cell Phone: engineering. Even if an idea is design led, a lot of engineering innovation is required to make many new ideas real, for example, the original iMac.
And what about software? Is that not product development? Industrial Designers can definitely use their skills there, but a lot (if not most) innovation there comes from software developers.
The unfortunate reality, despite ‘not anonymous’ comments, a lot of design work is still about styling (cars, shoes, phones, furniture, etc.). Not all ID’ers care about user needs or usability, and other disciplines such as Ethnography or Ergonomists believe that they hold the keys to innovation there. Even great products benifit a lot from great marketing, and marketers are hot on â€œInnovationâ€ right now too (and rightfully so)
People without formal product development skills are not disqualified from being able to contribute to product innovation either (See Eric von Hippelâ€™s Democratizing Innovation). If inspiration comes from user insights, can we really take all the credit? Both the DIY and Open-Source movements, both responsible for a lot of innovation, could be considered to be â€œuserâ€ led. Design is one means to an Innovative end, but not the only.
Indeed, one of the most inspiring books on Design and Innovation in recent memory is Massive Change, yet it speaks very little of Industrial Design.
Off topic, but I find this attituted towards marketing (and often engineers as well) appalling ; I was pained to recently hear a student refer to marketers as â€œthe enemyâ€. Weâ€™ve all had bad experiences, but get over it. Work with good people, ignore what discipline they come from. If there were some principles that defined â€œNew Designâ€, they would be (IMO):
- designers donâ€™t own “design”. innovation can come from anywhere or anyone.
- multidisciplinary teams, multidisciplinary people, no borders
- there are no icons, design is a team effort