Thank you all for your comments and I appreciate the diversity of them as well; as it shows the technologist's perspective as well as the designer's. For MEMS, I truly feel that the best "case study" for branding MEMS inside is the iPhone, at least to date. Yes, the airbag accel probably was the best and is still the #1 life-saving app for MEMS, but it isn't something that is an idea or a brand that people fall in love with like an iPhone. Same with an ink-jet print head (YES, it's MEMS)...and I always wondered why TI's marketing folks didn't come out and tell people that the DLP is actually MEMS! :)
I agree with your point about consumers "falling in love with a product," Karen. There are few products in any technological realm that depend more on an emotional user connection than the iPhone and its kin.
It sounds like his speech was a synopsis of the book he wrote a few years ago. Do you matter?
Also remember that Brunner was at Apple in the late 80's to mid 90's, during the company's decline. His interpretation of his work with Ive is notorious. The "everybody is a designer" comment comes with a lot of weight and history.
To naperlou's point, companies like Apple and Nike, both leaders in their fields, have excelled because they are consumer focused (i.e. user experience). You don't have to be the first with a new product. But, you do have to offer the best "story" or experience.
Karen, while these concepts are nice, they are not really core to the process of design. In the software world they call it user experience. I have seen companies try to sell their products based on value to the customer rather than some published price. The fact is that most of the work is involved with designing and building the product. Even Steve Jobs talked about needing 30,000 engineers. That is really bunk, but what he was talking about was all the detail work that was required to develop and deploy their products. The products you mention are successful becuase they represent a basic paradigm shift. That is more in the business concept than in the engineering.
I had a smart phone that came out before the iPhone. It was a Windows based phone and was branded by the carrier but built by a consumer electronics firm. It had a touch screen and was very nice. It was not a great phone, compared to dedicated phones, but then the iPhone has some issues there as well. What made the iPhone much more successful is the technology it is developed on. It could not have been made at the same time as my first smart phone. Don't forget that Apple has not always been successful. Remember the Newton? The technology just was not ready. The company that was successful at the time was Palm. Where are they now?
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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