HP Soars--Thanks To The Power Of Design.

HP is on a roll—with great second quarter results. Much of this gain is due to HP’s strategic use of design. Behind the comeback for HP is a name you won’t find in the media this morning—Sam Lucente, HP’s design chief.

I was at a conference with Sam last week in Boston given by the PDMA and his presentation gave me a peak into what he is doing at HP. It’s shows the power of design to turn around a company.

Sam—and HP—uses design in three ways.

There is Design to Simplify. Design drives efficiency by cutting costs, a very important goal under the new CEO Mark Hurd. Designing products with fewer parts, easier assembly, cheaper tooling helps the bottom line. Simplicity also makes for better consumer experiences and drives what Sam calls the “attract rate.”

There is Design to Differentiate. By making HP’s laptops and PCs better and better looking, HP can create customer value and charge higher prices than competitor Dell (Sam didn’t say Dell but he meant it). Differentiation increases brand value and can extend the life of HP’s vast technology assets.

Then there is Design to Innovate. This is the hardest kind of design. New offerings and new markets can bring sharply higher rewards—but it is the hards and riskiest kind of design.

Here are some quotes from Sam on design and innovation:

“We simplified the consumer experience by adding a “back” button to the controls. We saw that people continually went back to what they were just doing. We simplified that.”

“Design helps turn technological innovations into experiential innovations.”

“Designers synthesize customer desires, business requirements and technological possibilities to imagine and create new offerings that optimize culture needs.”

This is good stuff. Keep it in mind when you read the HP has great results. It’s the “why” behind the numbers.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.