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14 SEPTEMBER 2015

Design for Action: designing the immaterial artefact

"Throughout most of history, design was a process applied to physical objects. Raymond Loewy designed trains. Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses. Charles Eames designed furniture. Coco Chanel designed haute couture. Paul Rand designed logos. David Kelley designed products, including (most famously) the mouse for the Apple computer.

But as it became clear that smart, effective design was behind the success of many commercial goods, companies began employing it in more and more contexts. High-tech firms that hired designers to work on hardware (to, say, come up with the shape and layout of a smartphone) began asking them to create the look and feel of user-interface software. Then designers were asked to help improve user experiences. Soon firms were treating corporate strategy making as an exercise in design. Today design is even applied to helping multiple stakeholders and organizations work better as a system.

This is the classic path of intellectual progress. Each design process is more complicated and sophisticated than the one before it. Each was enabled by learning from the preceding stage. Designers could easily turn their minds to graphical user interfaces for software because they had experience designing the hardware on which the applications would run. Having crafted better experiences for computer users, designers could readily take on nondigital experiences, like patients' hospital visits. And once they learned how to redesign the user experience in a single organization, they were more prepared to tackle the holistic experience in a system of organizations."

(Tim Brown and Roger Martin, 2015, Harvard Business Review)

A version of this article appeared in the September 2015 issue (pp.56–64) of Harvard Business Review.

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TAGS

Bill BuxtonCharles EamesCoco Chanelcomplex systems • David Kelley • design history • design intervention • design processdesign thinking • design-oriented approach • design-oriented thinkingdesigned artefactethnographic design approachFrank Lloyd Wright • genuinely innovative strategies • graphical user interfaceHarvard Business ReviewHerbert Simon • holistic user experience • IDEOimmateriality • intervention design • iPoditerative prototyping • iterative rapid-cycle prototyping • iTunes Store • Jeff Hawkins • look and feellow-fidelity prototype • low-resolution prototype • nondigital experiences • PalmPilot • Paul Randpersonal digital assistantphysical objectsrapid prototyping • Raymond Loewy • redesignRichard Buchananrole of the designerservice designuser experienceuser experience designuser feedbackuser interface designwicked problems

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 JUNE 2015

The Next Black: a film about the future of clothing

"People say that fashion moves faster and faster. More colours, more collections, more brands, more styles. But in reality the clothing industry has been crawling, in terms of innovation, for the last hundred years. Up until now. For the first time in history, the concept of clothing is about to change. And it’s our mission to explore it.

This film is not about the new, it’s about the next. Will mass consumption of clothing continue to escalate? Or will we return to creating quality and caring about what we wear?

Will the future be centred around smart clothing and new technologies? Or will we find innovation within organic and traditional methods? We meet with some of the world’s most progressive people in search of the answers.

The Next Black is produced by home appliance manufacturer AEG, with the goal to anticipate future washing needs and contribute in making the clothing industry more sustainable."

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TAGS

20143D printingAdidas • AEG • Arcade Fireart of recycling • Biocouture Ltd • Black Eyed Peas • climate change • clothes dye • clothing and accessories • clothing design • clothing industry • clothing technologyCoco Chanelcorporate responsibilitycutting-edge innovations • cutting-edge technology • design engineeringdesign responsibilitydocumentary filmdye • dye chemicals • environmental initiatives • fashion future • fashion industry • fashion meets technology • fashion techology • fast fashion • future of clothing • heroes of sustainability • House of Radon • incentivising recycling • individual responsibilityinnovative companies • Lady Gaga • laundry care • manufacturing industries • Matt Hymers • MiCoach Team Elite • Nancy Tilbury • new technologies • organic materials • Patagonia • performance tracking • physiological • real-time data • Rick Ridgeway • slow fashion • smart designsmart materials • Sophie Mather • speculative fashion • sportswear manufacturing • sportwear design • Studio XO • sustainable companies • sustainable consumptionsustainable fashionsustainable future • sustainable practices • Suzanne Lee • Team Elite System • textiles industry • The Next Black (2014) • wearable technologies • woven sensors • woven textiles • Yeh Group

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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