From HBR's recent special issue on Failure, this article really hits home.
We've written about various angles of Failure a number of times here at DLB. Sohrab Vossoughi has a pretty good article on how companies fail at design over at HBR. According to him, the keys to success for companies trying to innovate through design are being open to design, integrating design within the organization and broader practices, and aligning expectations before beginning any engagement or process:
LIFE Magazine has a lovely photo gallery of 30 Dumb Inventions on their site.
I'm particularly fond of the dog-restrainer:
We've been saying it for a while now.
Umair Haque's Awesomeness Manifesto has been making the rounds lately, proclaiming that "awesome is the new innovation". Haque's hypothesis is that innovation is too costly. Innovation brought us feature-laden products that quickly fail or are obsolete the next year. Innovation brought us the poor banking instruments that helped cause the financial crisis. Innovation needs to make way for awesomeness.
What is awesomeness? (emphasis mine)
Awesomeness happens when thick — real, meaningful — value is created by people who love what they do, added to insanely great stuff, and multiplied by communities who are delighted and inspired because they are authentically better off. That's a better kind of innovation, built for 21st century economics.
And wouldn't you know it? The first pillar of awesomeness is ethical production:
Innovation turns a blind eye to ethics — or, worse, actively denies ethics. That's a natural result of putting entrepreneurship above all. Buy low, sell high, create value. That's so 20th century. Awesome stuff is produced ethically — in fact, without an ethical component, awesomeness isn't possible. Starbucks is shifting to Fair Trade coffee beans, for example. Why? Starbucks isn't just trying to innovate yet another flavour of sugar-water: it's trying to gain awesomeness.