Good design is good for business2

Good design is good for business

Many in this country, including those who are highly educated, still regard design as something that is frivolous, a cosmetic job not to be taken too seriously.

Our business people do not invest in design simply because they choose to see it as an added expenditure, and not a tool for product enhancement, never mind business development. It’s something they think they can do without.

Many of our business people will opt for what they believe can make a quick profit. So they are always on the lookout for a quick fix.

Often this is done through adaptation or straight off imitation. If the product does not sell as they expected, they will simply reduce the price. If that does not work as well, they will drop the price further.

When all means fail, they will drop the product altogether. Problem solved!

Not really. You don’t need a rocket scientist to figure out that such companies will not survive very long in today’s highly competitive world or in any world!

The world’s most successful companies are the most creative, the most innovative.

It is often obvious in the way they create and promote their products; in the way they design their work environment; in the way they build their corporate culture and brand personality.

They are always smart, always looking sharp. Always precise. Always consistent. Because they leave nothing to chance. Nothing is left to luck. Everything is carefully designed and engineered.

They are consistently innovative and innovating.

Companies like Apple Computer, Ikea, Nokia, BMW, Philips, Swatch, Sony, Samsung, and many more.

Key driver of innovation

These companies have a continuous culture of innovation and all of them have design embedded as the key driver of innovation. All have embraced design and engineering as a strategic process that is focused entirely on the user experience.

ikea store

Ikea is known to and well liked by many Malaysians. The moment you drive into the car park you sense the feeling of good design and innovation. The graphics, the signage system, the actual products, even the coffee cup you drink from have a sense of being well designed.

The whole strategy is designed to give the customer an ‘Ikea experience’ – a complete branding experience.

apple imacApple Computer, unlike Ikea, is a company that has little contact with its customers. Apple started with the idea of building a computer which was friendly and easy to use.

They have so successfully blended design, and technology innovation and business strategy that they have become an icon of the smart and tech-savvy lifestyle.

Design permeates into all man-made objects since all objects originated from an idea, and were developed for a specific purpose or market.

The effective use of design is fundamental to the creation of innovative products and services.

Design is fundamental to innovation. Good design is good for business.

Good design improves the way we work, the way we live, and the things we do. Good design improves the quality of life.

tansri photo

About Tan Sri Lim

Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Lim Kok Wing, the Founder and President of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, does not fit into any ordinary mould that would describe most entrepreneurs.

His journey has been closely linked with the economic and social development of Malaysia.

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Lai Hoon
2009 October 1

Tan Sri, thank you for putting design in its proper order of importance. It will encourage more young people to take up this course of study. Most parents always ask what good will a qualification in multimedia design be to their child. They wonder what kind of job their child will end up doing.

It means people like Tan Sri still have a lot of work to do to educate the public. Most parents want to send their children to business school to do accountancy, finance, business admin and so on, and those are already crowded areas.

2009 October 2

Tan Sri, you have done a great service to designers in the country with this well-written article. I know many Malaysian companies give designers a raw deal. We are just there to draw and paint and copy.

These companies naturally don’t produce very good products. A very well designed product goes hand in hand with a very well made product. Companies that go to a lot of trouble to design their products very well normally would also make them very well.


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