A mix of factors, ranging from commoditization to evaporating barriers to competition, are conspiring to push design to the fore of business thinking.
When Thomas Watson Jr. told Wharton students in 1973 that good design is good business, the idea seemed quixotic, silly even. To many people, design still meant the superficial polish of nicer homes and cleaner graphics. But Watson had earned the right to his beliefs. The recently retired IBM CEO was a business oracle, having grown the company tenfold during his tenure by transforming its signature product line from cash registers to computer mainframes. Along the way, the perception of IBM had changed irrevocably. Once rooted in the grime of cogs and springs, Big Blue had become the face of a new computer age.