But besides the fixation on reducing costs a second

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But, besides the fixation on reducing costs, a second behaviour pattern can be observed: intensively looking for innovation and new products/services. The equation in
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this case is very simple: the better products you have, the more customers you will get. The second part of this equation is: if your product is really good and innovative, then your customers will stay with you for a long time. The role model for this behaviour is Apple, with its iPod, iPhone, iPad series. Many companies want their products to be as sexy as the Apple products. Even very typical industrial products like the control unit of capital equipment (Hofmann and Holzkaemper 2009) should be desirable to use. The supposed magic power of design to attract customers and users makes the discipline highly attractive to management in an economic phase where most managers feel that they no longer understand their customers and where the variety of products is dramatically increasing. In this context design is mainly reduced to the innovation of new products and services. Looking at the success story of Apple, many top executives realized that it is not only the excellent products that can explain the attraction of iPod, and so forth, but also excellent brand management executed by excellent creative leaders. So the question arises of what management can learn from those creative leaders. Lester et al. (1998) pointed out that managers should learn from design to deal successfully with unstable and unpredictable markets. They studied the research and design activities in different cases (like Levi s) and introduced interpretive management as a typical way of a design-oriented problem solving strategy. It is not really a new thing that the design disciplines are expected to contribute to the solution of problems in the economy and society. Looking, for example, at the publications from the Ulm School of Design, this holistic problem-solving approach can clearly be detected (for a comprehensive overview of the history of Ulm School of Design, see Spitz 2002). What is new, after more than ten years, is that it is not only the designers, architects and artists themselves that are claiming to have solutions for existing problems in economy and society but that other disciplines are asking design for support. A protagonist in that context is Roger Martin, the Dean 146 New Educationa l Pers pectives for Designers and Managers of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (Martin 2004, 2010). But with this growing interest, design as a discipline is facing enormous challenges. Design cannot react to these new challenges if it is reduced to the role of a mere provider of aesthetic solutions for formal problems. If a design approach is taken seriously an answer must be found to the question of how design can contribute to strategic development of companies (and even countries and societies).
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