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There is a lot of talk going around concerning a possible backlash against design and innovation.

And that is very true. I see it all the time in Sweden as well, there is a huge lack of knowledge among Swedish companies (mostly small and mid-size). And it is not because of the lack of clever and talented designers in Sweden. It is the lack of knowledge how to run a design process and how to write a creative design brief. And if we top that with some lack of vision about how design can build strong brands we got the overall picture rather well.

And when this lack of interest and knowledge is putting a lot of unattractive products on the market it is not strange why people wonder what design is really about. We actually live in a world full of bad products and bad design.

I was holding a lecture the other day at the Malmö University with a course called Practical Creativity were I tried to work with the students according to my believes. The design process is in some sense a mechanical procedure. You have to make everything in the correct order according to a defined scheme. The true differentiator of the design process is the design brief. You have to solve problems, deliver to a demand or create new possibilities. You have to add magic and relevance. Your products have to have cultural relevance and they have to evoke meaning.

Bruce Nussbaum from BusinessWeek puts it like this:

“The truth is that the backlash is against the fad of innovation, not the fact of it. The backlash is against CEOs who get up and shroud their companies and their reputations in the rhetoric of innovation while continuing to sell out-of-date, poorly designed products and services. Consumers know this is fake and realize that the talk about innovation is not authentic.”

It is a very important subject and I will return to it soon with some further thoughts.

Read more about the backlash against design and innovation at NussbaumOnDesign, Endless Innovation, Reena Jana and Core 77.

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