In general, R&D organisations tend to neglect design during the technology development process, and only give it attention as an afterthought. This can be very detrimental to the ultimate outcome of the technology, in terms of commercialisation and adoption, and could lead to failure. As Apple has recently demonstrated with its iPod, iPhone and iPad product ranges, design can be the key differentiator in a crowded marketplace. And when the design is ‘broken’, it can lead to complete market failure.
Another mistake that researchers and engineers make is to do the design work ourselves. Whilst there might be a few multitalented individuals out there, the majority of us are NOT good at design! Design is best left to the professionals…
It is very important to include design aspects as an integral part of the technology development process. Design-related activities such as focus groups, user testing, design for manufacturing, etc. provide critical inputs in the development process that will prevent costly rework and redesign later on.
You can read more about Why Design Matters here. See also the below video clip from the President and CEO of Nike on the importance of design.
Image courtesy of Feelart / freedigitalphotos.net