Category The Design of Things. to Come

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IDEO for product design is like Starbucks for coffee. Other great product development firms exist and can be hired. Many predate IDEO. But IDEO has created a brand and quality level that is rec­ognized throughout the world. It offers a premium product at a pre­mium price. It keeps innovating, offering new skills and services for its clients. Pittsburgh, home to two of the authors, has several Starbucks coffeehouses. But there are also a suite of other excellent choices, local brands that have followed Starbucks’ lead but created their own personality and product offerings. Many services of these coffeehouses are good, just as good as Starbucks (if, at times, not bet­ter), or offer an interesting variation...

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IDEO: The Starbucks of Product Design

IDEO is now one of the biggest design consulting firms in the world, but it competes with companies such as Accenture and McKinsey in influence if not in economic scale. IDEO is a design firm for giants such as Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Eli Lilly, and Pepsi and little-known companies such as Zinio, ApproTEC, and Picaboo. An

ABC Nightline show titled “The Deep Dive” exposed the company to the world at large, featuring IDEO’s redesign of a shopping cart in one week’s time. IDEO has also worked on sophisticated medical equipment, designed special effects for movies, and developed toys for children at all cognitive levels and types of activity.

IDEO, now an international consulting company with offices in Munich and London, has its world headquarters in Palo Alto, a city a short d...

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Using Product Development Consultants

This chapter is devoted to the struggle that companies face when deciding whether to hire external product development consultants, internal staff, or both. Because the best approach is “both,” the real issue is to understand what to expect from external consultants and internal employees. Although the internal-versus-external issues apply to consultants other than those who help with product devel­opment, the nature of our subject matter leads us to narrow our focus. Though product development requires integrated contribution from engineering, design, and marketing, at times in this discussion we focus even more narrowly to discuss industrial design in particu­lar, because this component is still the least known to traditional busi­ness audiences in spite of increased interest in design...

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The Power of Design

Problems such as Paul’s are pervasive in companies as they seek new paradigms of innovation. Right now, there is increasing interest in product development, and managers are faced with the challenge of changing their company from a project-based one to a product-based one. Businesses have long been familiar with the world of engineer­ing, but business is still learning to understand other members of the product development team, such as the role of product development consultants and industrial designers.

As an example of the evolution of the interaction of business and industrial design, consider how Business Week’s editorial page editor, Bruce Nussbaum, became interested in innovation...

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To Hire Consultants or Build Internally — That Is the Question

To Hire Consultants or Build Internally — That Is the Question

There are many talented product development firms’ throughout the world, but not all companies know how to integrate outside product development skills with in-house expertise. This chapter discusses how companies can leverage the skills of product developers, both as internal employees and as external consultants. What do they do, how can they do it for you, which firm do you hire, and how do you manage it?


Binghamton, NY. At the monthly meeting with top management, Paul Dinaro was chosen to head the new design initiative the compa­ny wanted to develop. The CEO called him in and told him person­ally, adding that it was possibly the most important thing he could do for the company...

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IP in Summary

IP-smart companies embrace the full array of tools for IP develop­ment and protection. Companies that want to plan for and establish every aspect of protection, including the establishment of trade dress, engage patent attorneys early in the process, not to handcuff the process but to help establish directions where there has been little innovation and IP protection. Regardless of how IP protection is pur­sued, companies today recognize that international protection of their IP is the best way to encourage and protect innovation from within.

Fundamentally, the reason IP is such an important part of the puzzle is that IP helps define and protect the brand...

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Patenting Product Manufacture and Delivery

IP and its protection are critical to the success of innovation and organic growth in all types of products and services. This also includes the manufacture and delivery of the product. If you have kids, or grandkids, or just act like a kid sometimes, you probably have visited an amusement park in recent years. As you walked around, you prob­ably noticed and maybe even tried Dippin’ Dots, “The Ice Cream of the Future.” Dippin’ Dots are tiny pellets of ice cream that are served in a dish. They are ultra-cold but melt on your tongue and, amazing­ly, don’t give you that “head freeze” feeling. If you have not tried them, you should; it is a great experience...

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Patenting a Product System

Patenting a Product System

P&G recognizes that innovation today is part of the complete pic­ture of the product. Although focus on technologies yields patentable components, a product is not just the technology but also the deliv­ery and interaction of that technology. For many years, the techno­logy was the focus, the function of a utility patent. In recent years,

P&G has recognized that the style aspect of IP is equally important. It is not just the Swiffer cloths, it is the way people use them—the design of the mop, the means of easily and single-handedly attaching and then disposing of the cloths, the color choice and lifestyle con­nection of the cloths to the busy person’s home life. All of this is sup­ported by IP development and protection.

A recent example of a complete product system is the M...

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Using IP for Brand and Product Life Cycle

The goal of a great brand is to leverage IP for the long term. If secrets can be kept, the IP never expires. But there are other ways to achieve IP benefits after patent expiration. A strategic approach initially pro­tects a product’s hard functional and manufacturing qualities with utility patents and its soft aesthetic aspects with design patents over the length of their award period. During that time, the goal is to build consumer recognition of the product and brand and develop an emo­tional tie to the product. Trademarks and copyrights help build recog­nition that is then carried over to trade dress...

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IP: Provisional Patents

The cost of submitting a utility patent is high, requiring attorney fees, time from the inventors, and document fees. However, many compa­nies need to discuss their concepts with others to assess their value and the potential payoff. Provisional patents are an inexpensive way to provide a year of protection, after which a full utility patent is sub­mitted; if the full patent is not submitted, all protection is lost. The provisional patent is an excellent way to assess the concept but also is a way to protect its patentability through inadvertent disclosure. Although in the united States an invention that is disclosed is

protected for one year before the patent must be submitted, public disclosure sacrifices patenting rights in many countries, including Europe and Japan...

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