Proof! Design Delivers

February 26th, 2014 by Kristina
The difference in growth is astounding: invest in design and grow or don’t and stagnate by comparison. Led by Motive CEO Jeneanne Rae with the Design Management Institute, the study compared the growth of 14 particularly design-driven companies, between 2003 and 2013.
The design-driven ones grew 299 percent in that time. By contrast, the S&P 500 grew just 75 percent.
Skewed by Apple’s inclusion on the list, the impact of design is still remarkable with it is factored out: design-centric companies still outpaced the S&P 500’s growth by 58 percent.

Study Proves Design’s Impact on Corporate Growth

According to “What Is the Real Value of Design,” a study by Motiv Strategies with DMI, design-driven businesses grew 299 percent between 2003 and 2013. The S&P 500 grew just 75 percent.


The difference in growth is astounding. The message is clear: nvest in design and grow or don’t and stagnate by comparison. Granted, Apple was included in the 14 design-driven companies, which surely skewed results.

That said, when the researchers removed Apple from the calculations, the impact of design continued to be remarkable: the design-centric companies still outpaced the S&P 500’s growth by 58 percent, according to the study report.

According to Motiv CEO Jeneanne Rae in the report, design’s value lies in several impact areas beyond the traditionally recognized one – visual appeal. For instance:

  • Solving problems the customers didn’t know they had: “Identifying and capitalizing on the discovery of unmet needs leads to the perception of market leadership,” Rae notes. “If a company can do this on a systemic basis, that perception will become reality.”
  • Cutting costs: Consider Procter & Gamble’s move to thinner and cheaper plastic packaging, which is expected to save P&G $1 billion a year. “Companies that harness design to curb costs can thus double design’s financial impacts by managing the bottom line, while simultaneously growing the top line.”

You can check out Motiv’s web site for more information or go directly to a .pdf of her article in the DMI Review.

The truly terrific news about all this? The research has been covered by and Rae has been interviewed about it by CNBC.

Kudos all around!

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Giving Life with Video

February 18th, 2014 by Kristina

The Born to Spy Series

These videos show how stories can come to life with simple techniques and technology, patience, research and a realization that sometimes it’s more important to get a job done than to do it perfectly.

I interviewed my father, Austin Goodrich, after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, to capture his “Great Generation” stories before they vanished. I was already a little behind the curve, so extensive editing was needed and material had to be found that would help tell the story. The research sent me down a number of historical rabbit holes that will pursue some day, but also slowed the process a lot.

Dad’s full story could have been a movie. It was certainly a book. Plus, I had conflicting demands (i.e. while he talks about his career, the need to showcase his family life was also important to us, his family). The compromise is not perfect. But it exists. It is there when anyone wants to dip in to visit with him. And it is part of the archive of our Cold War experience.

These two videos reflect the beginning of what can be achieved. I hope you enjoy them. Above all, I hope they motivate you to harness this under-utilized medium to communicate your vision, essence, priorities, experience, knowledge, humor…story! Just be careful if you have to transfer files from MS to OS X. (That’s why the one is fuzzier than the other. I think.) Brought to you here and from my YouTube channel:

Covert ops officer Austin Goodrich:

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February 18th, 2014 by Kristina

5 Reasons for Video in Your Communication Mix

Video is a grossly under-utilized medium by designers and by the design press. That’s a shame. Here are 5 reasons to make video a central part of your communication program:

1. People like people, and they like to hear the back story from”The Source.”

Seeing the person behind a concept or product, listening to their perspectives, motivations and challenges adds the human touch. It begins to create a relationship. And a relationship is exactly what you want when you communicate.

2. It doesn’t have to cost $$$ to work for you.

High impact is great, but it’s usually pricey. Those videos take time, planning, money and risk — it better be just right or it will be very wrong.  Also, high impact is only one way to tell a story. And a story has more than one angle.

3. Great communication is deeper than the “Pow” “Wham” “Bam” and “Kaboom” of comic books or the lyricism of a seranade. So not doing video because you can’t afford the super cool or super elegant effect is a bad decision.

4. Videos give you a voice and persona. It lends  authenticity to the messenger if you handle it correctly. You will be hard pressed to get this from Flash alone.

5. Few people are comfortable talking in front of a camera. They fear loss of control and looking silly.

But the fact is that behind every great design are the designers. Their story about the design enriches the experience of the outcome. Asking the design to carry the full weight of communicating without the human element depersonalizes the design and undermines the relationship with your audience. It’s just asking too much.

But use video well, with simple honesty, and the content that emerges can add a valuable dimension to your story, engaging your audience, be they clients, employees or prospects.

Sometimes it’s more important to get it done than to wait for it to be perfectly timed and executed or full of flash and dash.

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    Paul Hatch

    November 6th, 2012 by Kristina

    Knowledge as Creative Fuel

    Is ignorance the playground of creativity? Is knowledge a deterrent or accelerator of creativity? These are a crucial questions in this knowledge-based economy where fast-paced change is demanding creative agility. Paul Hatch, president of the Chicago office of TEAMS Design, weighs in from his global experience during his continued conversation with Kristina Goodrich of Design’s Voice.

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    Designing Crisis Interactions

    October 29th, 2012 by Kristina
    5-stars to Chase for extreme customer service. Here are highlights (not in order) from email Chase sent re: Hurrican Sandy:
    “We will be calling many of our customers in the hardest hit areas to see if there are other ways we can help. “
    “Our branch and telephone bankers are empowered to go the extra mile for customers with storm-related problems or concerns.”
    “…we are waiving the following Chase fees through Wednesday, October 31st …
    º Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts.
    º Late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.”
    “…we will generally waive the early withdrawal fees on CDs to help customers with their cash flow.”
    “We hope these efforts can play a small part in easing some of your worries…if you need help, please call us at 1-888-356-0023, tweet @ChaseSupport or visit any of our open branches.
    Wow! Did NOT get this from my insurance co.

    5-Stars to Chase for Extreme Customer Service

    With Hurricane Sandy approaching the mid-Atlantic, Chase Consumer Banking sent an email that reflects the highest order of customer service.

    The email described a package of temporary policies to meet the banking and financial needs and worries of customers in a crisis. I’m talking delay of deadlines, waiving of fees, access to aid, etc., (see below for direct quotes):

    The policies are designed: they identify and solve a problem, creating a well thought-out and sincere interaction between customers and Chase, whether the customers use the offered help or not.

    The keystones of Chase’s strategy:

    Honesty Chase was honest with itself about the image of banking as impersonal, rule-bound, uncaring, incomprehensible and fee-seeking and designed policies that would help overcome these image problems…at least for Chase!

    Value It anticipated how a customer would feel and what they would need, building a bridge of relevant value, putting customers’ peace of mind ahead of corporate rules (and short-term profit) and

    Timeliness It sent the message out before the crisis hit!

    Sincerity By nailing all of the above in a letter whose tone was personal, professional and, above all, non-promotional, Chase conveyed a sincere desire to serve

    All together, Chase managed an unprecedented communication coup. It built brand loyalty and thus—you guessed it—long-term profit. In fact, the policies’ lack of explicit self-interest sets it apart from anything I’ve received from a bank in 15 years.

    Be Prepared!

    You may not always be in crisis, but you can always anticipate your customers’ concerns and best interests and respond  in advance.

    What Chase sent:

    Here are highlights (not in order) from the email:

    “We will be calling many of our customers in the hardest hit areas to see if there are other ways we can help. ”

    “Our branch and telephone bankers are empowered to go the extra mile for customers with storm-related problems or concerns.”

    “…we are waiving the following Chase fees through Wednesday, October 31st …

    Ҽ Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts.

    “º Late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.”

    “…we will generally waive the early withdrawal fees on CDs to help customers with their cash flow.”

    “We hope these efforts can play a small part in easing some of your worries…if you need help, please call us…”

    The voice and focus of this letter showed me a company that has it’s customers’ back. It was the first time I might have dreamed of thinking a bank could be a force for good in a community.

    Who should have sent this email but did not? My insurance company!

    At least someone learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill!

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    Good Lessons from Bad Communication

    October 25th, 2012 by Kristina

    Rep v. Dem: Breaking the Rules Right and Left

    The inundation of the airwaves with election advertising has never been more nauseating—and inept. Besides the attacks and the misrepresentations, both Republicans and Democrats provide an endless stream of uninspired and predictable messaging. Does anyone really listen? What can designers learn while these groups waste billions of dollars breaking the cardinal sins of communication?

    • A little repetition goes a long way
    • You have to engage your audience
    • Use a laser not a shotgun
    • The medium is visual, so give people a visual reason to watch—They won’t listen if they aren’t watching!

    In an Oct. 25, 2012, column for the Washington Post, Ned Martel nails the total failure of these campaigns to use advertising effectively. In “Could the pols use a bit of wisdom from the Mad Men,” he especially attacks them for bludgeoning everyone when marketers have known for generations that you target messages to key audiences, using their preferred media. That way:

    • You don’t irritate people with ads they don’t care about and
    • You reach your target audience with a well-crafted, tailored message that may cost more to create, but costs far less to deliver

    Communication lessons for designers? Target! Both your message and your medium. Who’s your audience precisely, where do they look for information, what interests them? Is it the Harvard Business Review, BloombergWired, Absolute Sound? or Reaching out to the medical industry? Who is the contact you need? Tell engaging stories! Don’t rant, repeat, reduce, assume, talk down or beat your breast; rather, tell stories with personality geared to that particular audience’s interest. Make your examples personal, digestible, believable. That’s the difference between communication and strategic communication. Actually, sounds a lot like design, doesn’t it?

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    Scott Wilson on Form & Function

    October 24th, 2012 by Kristina

    Kudos, Scott!

    Scott Wilson spoke eloquently about the the chick-and-egg question of form and function in his follow-up TIME magazine interview following up his well-deserved National Design Award for Product Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

    Scott Wilson new

    Scott Wilson, now with Motorola

    Asked, “How much of design for you is function, and how much is form? Do you find it hard to satisfy them both in some projects?”, he said:

    “It’s almost all function. The form part is easy once you’ve defined the problem and designed the solution. If you have good research or good insights, the thing kind of designs itself. Putting a form around it is the easy part, really. Finding the insights and finding the connections and the right puzzle piece that may be missing, that’s the hard part.”

    I’ve worked with designers for a long time, and few have expressed it so well! See more at

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    M. Westcott Appointed DMI President

    September 26th, 2012 by Kristina

    Here’s exciting news from the Design Management Institute (DMI)! It has retained Michael Westcott as its next president:

    DMI is a global design organization that has moved the bar of design management up many notches since its formation in 1975. Michael will head a strong organization that has nearly 1,400 members in 44 countries.

    The DMI press release quotes Incoming Board Chair Jerry Kathman of LPK as saying, “The mission of DMI has never been more vital. Michael’s experience and passion for DMI will guide us as we create new ways of sharing our ideas in an ever more networked world.”

    I’ve known Michael since his volunteer days with the Industrial Designers Society of America, where he developed an amazingly effective membership marketing campaign after earlier designing a superb Design Gallery when the national conference was in Boston in ‘91. As the release and site says, he truly brings to DMI a unique combination of experience in:

    • global design management,
    • business and technology strategy,
    • marketing, and
    • community and association management.

    He has led creative and marketing teams at Firebrand, Fitch, George P. Johnson, Red7Media and INXPO software and provided strategic planning, service design and communication for such brands as Johnson & Wales University, Reebok, Mazda, Chrysler, IBM, GE and others, will serve the organization well.

    “As DMI evolves into a global network of design experts, we’re thrilled that Michael brings such impressive experience not only in core design disciplines but also new ways to extend the DMI experience in powerful ways through richer networked communities and knowledge-sharing solutions,” indicated board member Jeannette Hanna.

    You can already check out his blog at Here’s what he has to say: “I believe we face a unique moment that invites design and innovation leadership to make its voice heard and its value felt more strongly in business, in the economy and in education.”

    Sounds great, Michael!

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    Bill Moggridge, Pioneer

    September 26th, 2012 by Kristina

    Bill Moggridge, Interaction and Experience Design Pioneer, Leaves an Indelible Mark on Human Experience of Technology

    September 8, 2012, Bill Moggridge passed away and with him the design profession lost one of its most influential voices and significant leaders of the past 40 years.

    Bill Moggridge, June 25, 1943 – September 8, 2012 (Photo my Mayo Nissen, taken at the Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design, 2010)
    Bill pioneered ideas that shaped the scope of design. His work was itself a demonstration project of what design should be and how designers should approach their work.

    Bill advocated for Big D Design, whereby he meant that design is far greater than a particular discipline and that as a process it integrates whatever insight will lead to a more comprehensively satisfying solution.

    Having expanded to Silicon Valley with a new branch of his firm, ID Two, in 1979, Bill’s first big splash on the U.S. design stage came in 1982 when he accepted that year’s only Industrial Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America.

    So comprehensively innovative was his team’s winning Grid Compass Computer that the jury had been unable to find anything else at its level. Already they could see the profound impact it would have on the yet-undefined field of laptop computing.

    That’s when I met Bill and first heard of how the computer that was to define laptops had been developed in close collaboration with engineers. One or two other design firms had been applying an interdisciplinary model since the late ‘70s, most notably GVO, Inc.. But Bill was to take the concept much, much further.

    Ultimately, Bill flung his Big D net to include psychologists, anthropologists, and anyone else likely to open doors on a better understanding of the human experience.

    Experience Design’s Pater Familias

    And therein lay his greatest contribution to the world of design, big or little “d”: The concept of experience design. Bill proposed that the purpose of design was to create an experience, not a product.

    In fact, he was quoted as saying, “If there is a simple, easy principle that binds everything I have done together, it is my interest in people and their relationship to things.” (Wikipedia does not give its source.)

    Today, our experiences are shaped by our interfaces with software and web sites, an escalation Bill foresaw in the mid-‘80s. He understood how a technology intended to make life easier could, in fact, make it full of aggravation if not dangerous error*.

    Bill framed for us the disconnect between average people and technology, with its new languages and capabilities. He presented us with a petri dish of DNA, demonstrating the very long string of knowledge sources required to successfully mediate the experience.

    Not only is Bill’s leadership indelibly written in his works, his teachings, his texts and, above all, in his personal proof-by-doing, his ideas have penetrated deeply and spread broadly. Collaborations are occurring that were not possible before he came on the scene. The design of our interactions with “products” (be they software, hardware, or environments) is not accidental or left to the perspective of one discipline, be it programmer, artiste, or engineer.

    Needless to say, to truly design a satisfying experience, you need Big D. And for Big D you need a respect for the expertise of others and the ability to play the integrator. It’s a Big job, but someone has to do it. Why not Design?

    *Unfortunately, not everyone paid attention to Bill regarding user interface challenges. Or perhaps the possibility of a perfect interaction is simply an oxymoron, as my experiences this morning attest. But I won’t whine.



    Tribute to Bill Moggridge as director of the Cooper Hewitt:

    Designing Interactions, by Bill Moggridge, published in 2007 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,;qid=1348163533&sr=1-1

    Designing Media, published in 2010 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,;qid=1348163533&sr=1-2

    Amazon has dedicated a page to him:;sr=8-2-ent

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    Chuck Pelly on What Makes a Design

    February 29th, 2012 by Kristina

    What are the unique characteristics of a true design champion and what are the pitfalls business leaders and designers can fall into? International design legend Chuck Pelly reveals his insights to Design’s Voice’ Kristina Goodrich in this interview.

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