"ABUNDANCE, ASIA and AUTOMATION" has brought us to the doorstep of Conceptual Age. Prosperity, Technology and Globalization has presented us with the paramount challenge: How do we make our products and services shine? The simple answer is Upscale Design for Common Commodities. Ben Evans, director of London Design Festival said: "Design and creativity are one of the key competitive advantages companies in developing economies can have. In the future it will probably the only one that they have left." The same sentiment is shared by Robert Hayes, professor emiritus at Harvard Business School: "Fifteen years ago companies competed on price. Now, it's quality. Tomorrow it's design."
Nicholas Hayek, chairman of the Swatch Group instilled the magic of design in his Swiss watches when faced with Digital Delirium from the Japanese watch makers. In the Swiss culture of high-end hand made watches, Hayek embraced the opportunity of this new technology. He re-engineered the conventional watches into a technological wonder. However, he realized that this piece of high technology was missing the high touch of design and poetry. So he combined his high-tech product with vibrant color and flamboyant design. Then, with a single stroke of marketing flair he created scarcity by limiting the number of copies made for each model. Hayek created miracle. He elevated his commodity from the assembly line and injected it with the fantasy of a six year old.
This brings up the point is Design a mere fanciful piece of decoration that dolls up places and objects. That is the serious misunderstanding of DESIGN. John Heskett, Chair Professor of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University states that Design is a combination of utility and sigificance. For example the Skyline Pop-up Trade show display is a trade show portable utility. But at its most effective, it is a carbon composite self-locking frame. There are no connectors. You literally pop it up and there it stands. That is significance.
As we usher in the Conceptual Age, utility enhanced by significance is now the definition of Design. Design is a means of differentiation. Design is an enabler in creating new markets. "Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world did not know it was missing." Paola Antonelli, curator of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art.
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka