Improve or don’t


When making industrial design products you’re very likely also trying to innovate or even invent new concepts (unless you’re solely into ‘styling’). And while that is certainly the goal for many, and although ocassionally you stumble upon some true innovative concepts, in my opinion you’re most likely looking at “micro innovation” or – more plainly – improvement.

Improvement in products is important, because when you, as a consumer, are replacing a product with a new one, you expect added features – you’re looking for that piece of innovation that justifies the purchase. The case is clear when you’re replacing something that is a commodity: replacing a bicycle is much more fun if the new bicycle has some added feature that the old one didn’t (e.g. drive belt instead of chain).

And it’s also why it sucks so much replacing your old laptop with a new one: it’s fun to feel the added speed when you open your favorite apps to begin with, but very soon you start feeling sorry you spent €2.000 on something that’s essentially identical to what you had before. Unless it comes with some innovative feature (Apple did it right when they introduced the magnetically attached power cord “MagSafe”).

I really don’t believe in new products that just look better and don’t bring any improvement to what the product needs to do and to the people using it (unless what you’re replacing is fugly). So basically: Improve your products or don’t sell any!