Innovate or disintegrate – why keeping current with technology is a must
Innovate or disintegrate – I had the opportunity to attend an event in March regarding empathetic design presented by The CEO Forum and BIG (Big Ideas on the Gulfcoast) guest speakers Dr. Deena McDonagh and Walter Herbst. Dr. McDonagh is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and faculty at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. Mr. Herbst founded Herbst LaZar Bell Inc. in 1962 which has grown into one three largest independently owned product design and development firms in the country.
The two focused their talk on the growing emphasis technology usability plays in the consumer marketplace. What I found most compelling was learning how our assumptions and design concepts are being put to the test. Dr. McDonagh shared a few very interesting case studies including everything from how we use a roll of toilet paper to how we tattoo ourselves with brands like Harley Davidson.
She emphasized in one of her examples that it was clear the designers were men and the women’s perspective was never taken into consideration in designing the product. She went on to illustrate how the product was useful and well intended but the lack of understanding and efficacy for the user in the design and implementation of the concept left quite a few people with the inability to fully use the technology as it was intended.