BreakThrough Study Idea

Corporate competitiveness depends on design powerManabu Akaike<Series 1 / complete>

Study Idea


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What is essential to "design"?

Design tends to be thought of as an idea level creative. However, it should never be so. Essential design is not such a simple story but "a comprehensive one to achieve the intended purpose". Victor Papanek, an American designer and educator from Austria, wrote "Design for survival" (1974) and criticized the idea of ​​mass production and mass consumption society at the time. In this book, Victor Papanek wrote that design is "designing and arranging a certain action towards a desirable predictable goal is the essence of design. Isolating the design or thinking as a thing itself is to lose sight of the essential value of the design as a raw, fundamental mother".

I have attended his lesson in the USA. I was shocked by the idea that "business itself is design". What kind of applications do you deploy technology rather than the final product, and how do you connect it to your business? If you think that this process itself is all design, the business itself will change.

To date, Japanese companies have created sales organizations based mainly on product outs. The marketing sector or business center that is grasping the needs of consumers is generally responsible for product development to the R & D department, and the product is put into the market, and the design center conducts only advertises and communication as a division of a company. However, advanced Japanese companies, who have noticed the essential value of design, have revamped their organizational structure and promoted business centering around design centers for about 10 years.


"What is the role played by the Design Center?

For Japanese companies that make advanced manufacturing such as Panasonic, Hitachi, Nissan, LIXIL, Suntory, design centers are now located at the top of the organization, not sales or production. In LIXIL, the Housing Planning Department is giving enormous power to the company, and in Suntory, Project Leader is being cast from the Design Center. The design center is becoming an essential entity to the extent that even human rights are influenced.

Why is it? As mentioned above, in past business, we caught consumers based on marketing information acquired by the business center and introduced products to the market. In the era when things were scarce, this method was valid, but now the consumers themselves are not satisfied with "what you want" what they are filled with, and this method is no longer correct. We are in an era where companies have to offer consumers things that have never been experienced before.

How does an advanced Japanese company increase its design capabilities? Previously, we had designers for each company, and we tried to optimize them individually. By designing and consolidating it, the product itself does not change, but we have a structure to reform the business model. Because we noticed that we were dangerous when we did it in an individual area. Various successful examples have come out by strategically sharing design thinking and enhancing the power of the organization. For example, it is an excellent example of not only home appliances but also the cases that made use of the technology cultivated so far for beauty. In a fact that has advanced one step further, there are cases in which the artists are brought to the engineer and development progresses. There is a movement to conclude a strategic partnership with the outside as well as inside the organization. Speaking of designers, most of them were professionally talented people at art universities. However, Japanese companies noticing the intrinsic value of design thinking gather not only designers but also engineering and other diverse personnel at the designer center and aiming for strategic collaboration.

< series 1 / complete >

Manabu Akaike
Universal Design Research Institute, Inc., CEO
the Research and Development Subcommittee of the Industrial Structure Council of METI, Member Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Innovative Technology, Review Board Jury
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Biomass Nippon Integrated Strategy Promotion, Committee
Musashino Art University, Department of Design Information, Lecturer
Waseda University Environmental Research Center, Visiting teacher
Kitakyushu City Environment Capital Research Center, Main Researcher
Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization Good Design, Award Jury
Kids Design Council Kids Design, Award Jury Chairperson

Born in Tokyo in 1958. In 1981 he was graduated from the University of Tsukuba biology. He operates a think tank that designs social system designs and develops products, facilities, and communities for environmental and welfare, which encourages social innovation. He advocated "life regionalism", "sustained sustainable science" and "making things to learn in nature", and participate in numerous manufacturing projects utilizing local resources, technology, and human resources. As a science and technology journalist, he is also involved in writing, criticism and lecture activities focusing on manufacturing technology and the philosophy of science, and he will also serve as a representative director of the co-creative initiative of the company since 2011. He received numerous awards in the field of industrial design, such as Good Design Prize Gold Prize, JAPAN SHOP SYSTEM AWARD First Prize, KU / KAN Award 2011 and so on.

◇Main book
"Innovation evolving from living organisms Evolution of 3.8 billion years of super technology" (NHK Publishing) July 2014
"Monozukuri Enthusiasm for Nature Studies" (supervised by PHP Institute / Akaike) January 2011 "Insects Save Humans" (Takarajimasha Shimpo) October 2007
"Insect power" (Shogakukan) July 2006
"Making Things to Learn From Nature" (Toyo Keizai Inc.) December 2005
"Nippon Technology" (Maruzen) June 2005
"New Manufacturing Industry Survival Theory" (Wedge) March 2005
"Knowing Toyota" (Nikkei Business Paperback) November 2004

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