The 21st century belongs to design. It’s what’s going to keep you- as an entrepreneur, competitive. With everything else being outsourced, from home loan processing, accounting, to research analysts, design is one area where we have a firm competitive advantage and it’s yours to leverage. Whether you’re growing your business or you’re in the early stages of just starting one, think design, design, design.
From the way your product looks and feels to its functionality. Make it clean, easy to use, or deliver with delight. If you’re really creative, you’ll combine both form and function- think Apple, a company that has done this extremely well. October’s Fast Company issue is devoted to the United States of Design.
There are several amazing stories of entrepreneurs who built innovative businesses based on design. Take Scott Wilson, who raised $1M (a novel feat in itself) on Kickstarter to launch a watch that grafted the body of an ipod nano onto an aluminum case, turning the little touch screen into a cool gadget that could wake you up in the morning, play your music and track your daily run. “Design can be a critical competitive advantage- if American business seizes this moment” Wilson says.
There are number of companies that have mastered design that we all know from iconic names as Apple, Starbucks, Nike and Herman Miller. Of course, there are the newcomers like Gilt, Tesla, and Flipboard. We can all learn from these companies about the products they deliver. Think about what makes them special or desirable. I think about it everyday when I use my iphone from the look and feel to the actual functionality. Other than power computing, it’s all that I need. Of course with the new iphone 4S, there’s even greater benefits with the Siri, voice activation feature for making dinner reservations and searching in my calendar.
I recently listened to the audio download of Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”. He provides a concrete roadmap for design-minded innovation that you can incorporate in your business— and why it matters for the long term. As an entrepreneur, you should be thinking about innovative ways to offer your product or service. If you haven’t check out this great read (or listen) and stay competitive!