Does the designer innovate at all or it is a privilage of scientists?

I’ve recently noticed that lot of entrepreneurs and CEOs are usually consider scientists and engineers as the only ones who create innovation, who really invent or innovate something. This belief might be so common because public opinion tends to consider only technological innovations and inventions as innovation. For example when Corning invented the Gorilla glass or when Tesla invented the alternate current or when Kipping invented the silicone.

Tesla thought camera

Nevertheless, technology on its own can’t sell itself, can’t be installed in the blood circulation of the society, and can’t spread around the world and make a change. There is no technology that is sellable or valuable on its own. Its value allways depends on the neccesity that it fulfills BUT technology does not fulfill any neccesity on its own! Technological innovations are valuable when it is pointed to the right neccesity. Or rather said whether the right neccesity is discovered at all where to point that technology. When you are thinking on who could utilize or what problem could be solved by that certain technology it is a designer activity you are being a designer at that moment. Designers are the ones who’s role is to explore and find the whys and the whos; aka the problems and people whom to connect technology.

Finding the right problems and the right people = inventing the right problems and the right people. That’s the first of the three kind of innovation that a designer does during his job. They are specilaized on to laser focus technology to the right direction.

The second measure of the value of a technological innovation after finding the right neccesity is how adoptable + usable is that technology for that certain human/customer/society. It is not enough to invent the technology of the cell phones it is also neccasry to invent the red and the green buttons to pick up the phone. I know how obviuos it sounds but it is because how genial it is: these two buttons are as important innovation as the wheel. And theese buttons are not about the technology but the how of it. When you are thinking on how should your technology be used you are a designer at that moment.

And I’m still NOT talking about anything of aesthetics, forms, shapes or “art” at all. Shapes and forms are the phisical/visual outcome of inventing the right adoptability+usabilty which will directly result that killer user/consumer experience that translates certain technologies and products into sustainable market succeses.

Last but not least I’d like to point out the third and the most important kind of design innovation that is combining, combining and combining!

When a designer innovates, doesn’t invent any new technology like Edison but combines the already invented ones in a way that bear a completely new product, that can solve our problems a new, more effective and exciting way or statisfy a need that haven’t even been discovered before. For example the iPhone was a combination of already invented technologies as well. It was a masterful combination of the mobile internet, the telephone, music player, multi-touch screen, Gorilla Glass, etc. Or to mention an IgenDesign example as well: when we created the Flow lamp every technology was already given: vertical wind turbine, LED, generators etc. We just combined them with each other for a specific problem in a specific environment.

By the way creativity works the same way in our brain. When the brain creates something new out of thin air it’s just a combination of earlier experiences and knowledge. So if you want to sharpen your creativity it worths expose yourself to as many new experiences as possible.

So the designer is the one who explore the problems to solve with technology and the people who need it and is constantly filtering which of wich technology to combine with and how in terms of adoptability+usability.

Designers make technological innovations valuable and sellable by design innovation. By design and art they make technology acceptable and loveable for the wide audience. Technological innovation without design innovation is paralyzed.

Alberto Vasquez,
CEO and Chief Designer
of IgenDesign

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Related articles:
Innovation is culture

Innovation is the new currency of surviving?

If it isn’t sellable it isn’t good design?

If it isn’t sellable it isn’t good design?

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