Here’s a much better new product design strategy.
If you’re going to create a new product or service, don’t just create what the market needs or wants—create what it would love. Beautiful designs make money. Why? Because they speak to our heart as well as our head.
It’s been said that a design is a thought you can see. That’s one reason why the best designers, artists and inventors take their work so personally. That “thing” out there in the market place is not just a commodity to them, it’s the visual and public embodiment of their very best thoughts.
I don’t have many luxuries, but years ago my friend and partner Kobi Yamada, gave me a genuine Herman Miller Aeron office chair. I’ve been doing my writing in that chair ever since, and I swear it still brings me joy and makes me want to do better work.
The Aeron was conceived by designer Bill Stumpf who set out to make a chair that was not just the most comfortable, but also the most beautiful. Just before he died, Stumpf described how he thought it through:
“Lots of products say, ‘Don’t touch me,’ he explained, “but I like to be more seductive. I wanted the Aeron to make people say, ‘I want to sit on this chair really bad.’ Then, when people did sit on it, we got a lot of ‘Wow!.’ And when those two things come together, you’ve really got something.”
It’s just a chair, right? Not to Bill Stumpf. The Aeron has been called “a chair for the ages,” and a prototype is even enshrined in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By the way, it’s also the best-selling office chair of all time, proving once again that beautiful designs really do make money.