9 July 2012

Design alone can’t save UK companies

Be the first to share

Making products attractive and user-friendly is a smart idea, but it is no substitute for R&D and investment, argues James Woudhuysen, a professor of forecasting and innovation at De Montfort University, on Spiked, a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society from a humanist and libertarian viewpoint.

“Exaggerating design’s scope for impact is now a global pastime. For example, the New York City design firm Reboot seriously proposes that human rights can be designed, because ‘at our local health clinic, at our unemployment office or at our child’s school… [there] are the moments when human rights are realised in practical ways’. This underlines how the boosting of design’s economic contribution is part of a wider doctrine of what Virginia Tech professor Paul Knox rightly terms ‘hubristic design determinism’. Whereas Karl Marx argued that social being determines consciousness, design boosters contend that design plays a determining role in both economic growth and everyday behaviour. Arguably, they take a leaf from architecture here; but whatever the case, even leading economic commentators are now so bereft of a genuine strategy for growth that they find themselves pronouncing that ‘Design adds value to the product – in fact design adds most of the value to the product’.

This conception of design is completely over the top. If they want to be ambitious, and they should, designers should recognise that real economic growth will come from the development of whole new industrial and service sectors, capable of creating hundreds of thousands of properly paid jobs. Design cannot create those industries – they will come out of the much more elemental processes of R&D, the kind of R&D that led to the nuclear, plastics and pharmaceuticals sectors. And whether this R&D happens is, again, not a technical issue, but to do with the priorities and vision of society. Right now, the West prefers to talk up the merits of relatively cheap design than to do the dearer, riskier business of R&D.”

Read article

Be the first to share
12 November 2017
Six hacks for service designers working in an agile environment
Ideally service designers deliver our best value when we stay outside the “Scrum” (literally and figuratively), fulfilling our strategic role and avoiding the hectic pace and too-narrow focus of two-week sprints. Our work, …
8 November 2017
‘Thick data’ sees the market future when big data can’t
“Customers are really the most unpredictable, the most unknown, and the most difficult-to-quantify thing for any business,” said Tricia Wang, ethnographer and co-founder of Sudden Compass, in an interview during the IBM Data Science for …
8 November 2017
Service design at BBVA bank
BBVA (an international financial institution with a presence in 35 countries, providing services to 70 million customers) was one of the sponsors of the Service Design Global Conference in Madrid last week. Derek White, BBVA’s …
3 October 2017
Don’t miss Experientia at Torino Design of the City
Torino Design of the City is nearly here! Experientia will of course be part of this exciting week (10-16 October) of events, meetings, workshops, exhibitions and guided tours about design, and we warmly invite you …
25 August 2017
Design Thinking is bullshit
Here is Pentagram partner and designer Natasha Jen's definition of design thinking: Design thinking packages a designer's way of working for a non-designer audience by codifying their processes into a prescriptive, step-by-step approach to creative problem …
25 August 2017
Design Thinking needs to think bigger
We live in a massively complex, intricately interconnected global system. And it’s increasingly impossible to be designers (or human beings) without taking into account how we affect and are, in turn, affected by all the …
25 August 2017
Should we delight the customer?
Growing the service design industry requires more than simply educating the next generation of service designers. Business students can also benefit from learning how service design can be used to innovate and address complex market …
29 July 2017
“Where the social sciences and business come together” – Alexandra Mack on ethnography
In this episode of the Change Management Review Podcast, Theresa Moulton interviews Alexandra Mack. Alexandra is a senior fellow at Pitney Bowes, the e-commerce services provider, and a Board Member of Ethnographic Praxis in Industry …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

30 November 2017
New European study on e-Government initiatives

The latest eGovernment benchmark report of the European Commission shows significant improvement on cross-border availability of digital public services and accessibility of public websites from mobile devices in EU Member states. The study also indicates a need for improvement in transparency of public services delivery and use of supporting technology like eIDs or eDocuments. Performance […]

20 November 2017
Experientia and Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo announce innovative partnership

Wide ranging partnership also covers collaboration with design schools and public events on service design “Finding the way forward for independent design means building new business models for service design consultancies in the age of the company buy-out.” Michele Visciola, President, Experientia PRESS RELEASE It seems the business world is finally realising that service and […]

26 October 2017
Epic storytelling with video

Another EPIC conference come and gone, and no, we’re not using “epic” in the way under-10s use it about cool things on the internet. EPIC is the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, one of the most important annual events for practitioners of anthropology, ethnography and related disciplines. Ethnography is one of Experientia’s key methodologies, underpinning […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Service design intern

Service Design Intern: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy Experientia, an international experience design consultancy, is looking for service design interns for our Turin, Italy office, to support research, concept development and design. The ideal candidate will be a holistic thinker and designer, with a systems approach to enable complex service offerings, driven by an understanding […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Senior Service Designer

Senior Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) We are looking for service designers with outstanding design skills, methodical thinking, and experience in designing complex service ecosystems using a human-centered design methodology.   Required 2-5 years’ experience in service design and/or user experience design University and/or advanced degree(s) in Service Design, Interaction Design, User […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Lead Service Designer

Lead Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) Experientia is seeking a Senior Service Designer to lead service design projects from the Turin, Italy office (*) or the Lausanne, Switzerland office. The Senior Service Designer will have experience leading a team of behavioral analysts and service modelers in research and service design projects lasting […]

See all articles