Thursday, September 8, 2011

Innovation is... [Insert Phrase Here]

... better with design.

We would like to introduce ourselves. We're a design firm located in Minneapolis by the name of Capsule. We will be blogging about innovation, trends and design over the next five weeks leading up to the Front End of Innovation conference in October. We will also be at the conference to meet, connect and further feed the conversation on this blog. Connect with us in advance, or wait til we're there.

Our theme for upcoming postings is defining innovation. Each will begin with the words "Innovation is", followed by an idea to be discussed further. We are doing this because the word innovation is over used, abused and becoming what some call a meaningless word. We hope to help further define it or at least add some meaning back into a word facing its own death by a thousand misuses.

We start with: Innovation is... better with design.

We will connect these two words often because although they intuitively go together [see the BusinessWeek innovation tab], some people emphasize one over the other. But in order to add design into the conversation, we really need to discuss what good design is. How do you define it?

You've all heard the almost wallpaper-like phrase, "form follows function." Okay, that's two words. Form: how something looks and feels. Function: how something works. The great part is these can refer to a building, chair, logo, painting, product, or anything else we might consider designed.

Here's where it gets tough. What do we do with what we call the lounge chair debate?

Which of these do you consider good design?

The bench is beautiful when the light hits it just right, shining through the slats. Now sit on it. Or better yet, watch your favorite sporting event while sitting on it. Does that "feel" like good design?

Now the lounger. It would be ideal for both a sporting event and a nice drooling nap on a Saturday afternoon. But would you be proud to show it off at a dinner party?

To continue down the path of chairs, we talk about the third leg of the stool. Form and function do not make for a balanced design. Intention is the third leg. The lounger was not intended to be a showpiece, except on game day. The bench was not intended for long periods of sitting.

One sold millions, the other hundreds of thousands. Both are good design if you consider the intention.

That's the intellectual argument. Let's look at design from another perspective altogether. A bit more casual, consumable and easy to comprehend. Consider this the "thumbs up or thumbs down" approach to understanding good design.

Is it jank or is it swank?

Visit above and make your vote known. Jank or swank?


Managing Principal

1 comment:

Nick Lemmer said...

...or as they used to say on KMOJ: Rush it or flush it?

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