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The Backlash Against Innovation And Design.

Home Depot Gets Back To Co-Creating With Its Customers. |


| Salaries for Designers--They're Still Cheaper Than A New York Shrink.

February 12, 2007

The Backlash Against Innovation And Design.

Bruce Nussbaum

We've all been hearing it--"Innovation is over." "Design is over the top." "Everyone's talking innovation so it's becoming a meaningless term. Kevin McCullah did a piece for Core77 on the backlash against design. This lays out all the criticisms against design (and they are all over the lot).

Now comes a really insightful piece on the backlash against innovation by Reena Jana that pierces through the blah blah and gets to the heart of the matter. The truth is that the backlash is against the fad of innovation, not the fact of it. The backlash is against CEOs who get up and shroud their companies and their reputations in the rhetoric of innovation while continuing to sell out-of-date, poorly designed products and services. Consumers know this is fake and realize that the talk about innovation is not authentic. Indeed, CEOs who use innovation as a brand fad do deep damage to their brands.

The hard work of building an innovation culture is only just beginning in corporations. It will take a generation, just as the quality movement took a generation to build. Jana's story, The Backlash Against Innovation, uses Payback--Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by BCGers James Andrew and Harold Sirkin, to get to the hard truths of innovation. And she quotes an old friend of mine, Rosabeth Moss Kanter at Harvard and her piece, The Innovation Trap, in the Harvard Business Review.

10:16 PM


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Bruce Nussbaum: The backlash against innovation and design from Endless Innovation

Over at Business Week, Bruce Nussbaum suggests that the growing backlash against innovation in the media is really a backlash against companies that falsely attempt to portray themselves as innovators. Time and time again, this happens, as companies li... [Read More]

Tracked on February 14, 2007 12:08 PM

Bold Moves, not just Bold Talk from Endless Innovation

Bruce Nussbaum's post over at Business Week about the Backlash Against Innovation has started to resonate throughout the innovation community. While Bruce points out that the real work about innovation is just getting started, he also acknowledges that... [Read More]

Tracked on February 15, 2007 03:37 PM

The self inflicted innovation "backlash" and attendant hype cycle from Jugaad

This is the hype cycle developed by Jackie Fenn at the Gartner Group a few years ago. This specific 2004 dated one is from a very comprehensive introduction by the BBC to the effects and subsequent impact of a hype [Read More]

Tracked on February 15, 2007 05:39 PM

Design: The New "Quality" from The TrueTalk Blog

If you're older than, say, 40, you remember when these phrases and buzz words were all the rage: Total Quality Management, Statistical Process Control, Kaizen. Yup. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, everybody was gaga over Japanese manufacturing [Read More]

Tracked on February 16, 2007 08:24 PM

The Innovation Backlash from IdeaPort : innovation / new technology / fringe scanning

As many people have observed, the word ‘innovation’ is overused and little understood. In todays business environment, your chances of making sense of it are about the same as your chances of successfully translating the drinks menu at... [Read More]

Tracked on February 21, 2007 11:17 PM

I've been expecting this for a while… so here are two hard points to note:- First, the hype was created (in part) by BW itself, right? And, Second - the hype was on 'design' propped to be an 'innovation' tool. Fact is that Design is just Design and when use as such (i.e. creative, emotional, intuitive, to-the-guts) it is still very effective. The Hype (if there was any) was about the use too much of an 'analytical' process in Design - the 'research', the 'anthropologist', the 'material science' and all the pseudo-science built around the raw creative power of Design. These methodologies are expensive, long-term-focused in a fast-changing markets and seriously impeding the Designer's creativity… yet, unfortunately this fluff looks impressive to many people who cannot understand form or imagery.

Posted by: gadi amit at February 12, 2007 11:46 PM

I red the article by Kevin McCullah for Core 77 and it is unfortunately very true. Design has turned into one of the most misused words ever. Today the word design is used to describe how to choose ham and lettuce for your sub or which haircut you should get.

On the other hand it is somewhat hard to describe the true meaning of the word design. British Design Council wrote some nice words about design a while ago:

”Design is everywhere - and that's why looking for a definition may not help you grasp what it is.

Design is everywhere. It's what drew you to the last piece of furniture you bought and it's what made online banking possible. It's made London taxi cabs easier to get in and out of and it made Stella McCartney's name. It's driving whole business cultures and making sure environments from hospitals to airports are easier to navigate.”

Posted by: David Carlson at February 13, 2007 08:45 AM

Reena Jana’s article, “The Innovation Backlash” delivers big RORI, Return on Readers’ Investment. It’s always great to read about good old-fashion business sense in this age of marketeering puffery. What good is innovation or creative design if it doesn’t drive up your company’s value, stock or at the very least pay the bills?

We should all learn from Apple’s I-Pod example mentioned in Jana’s piece. Re-inventing the wheel through innovation is key to cracking the ROI code. Just think, we wouldn’t have run-flat tires if Goodyear left the wheel alone. Why does Toyota keep improving the Camry and Corolla v. introducing model after model while touting innovation, as mentioned in the article?

Posted by: Rich at February 13, 2007 12:58 PM

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