Looks like Innovation moves Markets, not Design
Image: Economy of Innovation by Smart Design. Click here for a larger size.
When I first saw this interesting illustration created by Smart Design, it did not resonate with me. Thus I only forwarded the image via my usual Twitter link love and spent the rest of the week thinking about it.
What threw me off was Bruce Nussbaum’s comment on the image which was, in his usual fashion, off the mark. Sorry Bruce. He wrote:
Design was born as Design Strategy to help guide CEOs in an unsettled and turbulent era. It morphed into decoration, then usefulness and now—back into Design Strategy once again in a period of uncertainty.
Being a designer, I would so love to embrace his comment as the truth. Unfortunately it is not. In my opinion, he should should have read the title of the graphic first: Economy of Innovation. If you look carefully at the Dow Jones stock chart, it looks like the key drivers of the first Bull Run are the TV and the automobile. In the next Bull Run, it was actually not the Mac, but the microchip that allowed for the desktop computing revolution. I did miss the internet at the top of the stock chart though. But if we did follow Bruce’s reasoning, it looks like Raymond Loewy and the iPhone are causes of the current economic crisis!
However if now we take a step back and look at the chart again, we can clearly see that Innovation not Design is key in driving the success of an economy. Let’s not discount Design totally though, I think Design did have an important role in delivering the innovation to the consumer in a meaningful way.
Now, I like to ask you this? To get out of this economic crisis, should we focus less on styling or the next iPhone, and instead look to create innovations like the microchip or automobile that can really change people’s lives?
Sadly most designers including myself are guilty of the former. Food for thought nevertheless?