In the eyes of British industrial designer Dick Powell, design is an elixir of life for businesses.
Design and innovation -- the two ingredients considered paramount to any success in business nowadays -- make things better for individuals, communities, companies as well as the environment, the cofounder of design innovation consulting firm Seymourpowell and chairman of D&AD has argued.
Powell has for the last several decades transformed the boundaries of design to create functional, yet aesthetic products, including a self-ride lawnmower that gives a workout while cutting the grass and airline seats that bend along the physical desire of passengers.
As enterprises sap their entrepreneurialism amid sagging worldwide demand, Powell has maintained that “innovation gives clients an edge that translates into margins, profits and successes.”
“You’ve got to embrace change,” Powell said at the Herald Design Forum 2016 held at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Tuesday.
Whereas designers “live and breathe” change and “hate the status quo,” he asserted, “businesses hate change because it costs money.”
“Instead of shaking the jelly pudding, which goes back to the way it was exactly, you have got to carve up the jelly,” he said, portending a truly “creative destruction.”
Giving groundbreaking counsel to leading companies worldwide, including Ford, Virgin, Tefal, Casio, Samsung and KT Corp., Seymourpowell has championed conceptualizing “meta-products” that are environmentally friendly, yet affordable luxuries.
In the corporate scheme of things, entrepreneurs have a rough idea of what they want and need, but “not a good idea” what sort of products they should be making for the future, he contested.
“That’s why you need precision in realizing your dream. The key to getting this vision sorted out is creativity,” said Powell.
“You need to have the breath of vision without sinking in granular details. That requires the foresight of people, technology and business.”
By “looking rather than seeing” and “forensically investigating human behavior,” designers and businesspeople can spin fresh ideas into innovation and new products, he said.