Apple's latest i-phenomenon -- the i-Phone has once again mesmerized the world of consumer electronics. Following the success of its sleek i-Pod music media players, the i-Phone is set to revolutionize the convergence of mobile devices - email, Internet, media player and mobile phone all packaged in one very impressive looking and functioning device.
The analysts and media, from Business Week, Harvard Business Review to The Economist, are all a-buzz trying to crack the Apple code on what makes it one of the most innovative companies in the world.
Sure, as many say, its the Founder Steve Job's visionary leadership. But, the essence of his vision that sets Apple apart is his 'design thinking' mixed with the 'cool factor' that runs across every aspect of a users experience. After-all, Mp3 music players were a plenty before i-Pods hit the market, but the i-Pod design and usability and its i-Tune tie-in galvanized the mobile music consumers. Similarly, Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung have led the global mobile phone market, but are sweating the impact of i-Phone's ingeniousness.
'Design Thinking' addressess business problems/needs with a non-traditional approach that involves intense user observance and employs creative problem solving involving people from various diverse tracks to develop 'out-of-the-box' solutions. This approach applies to tangible products, user technologies, business services and even operations, and is fast becoming a key business growth driver.
IDEO is one of the most prominent consulting firms that specializes in this space and had also helped Apple design the first Macintosh mouse. In a special edition on the Power of Design, BusinessWeek profiled IDEO as an innovative company that has "redefined good design by creating experiences, not just products. Now its changing the way companies innovate."
To get some idea on what design thinking entails, I found a great presentation by Timothy Brown, CEO, IDEO given at MIT in which he covers their design thinking process of surveying the “landscape of innovation” focussing on people, their needs, technology and business, and their rapid prototyping methods to ideate and create solutions.
There will be a lot more we will focus on the process of design thinking. In the meantime, the success of Apple's i-Phenomenon has once again re-iterated the importance of design thinking in every aspect of today's global competitive strategy.
What do you think about the power of design? Do share your thoughts by submitting your comments.