Much analysis brings triumph, little analysis brings disaster


Prince Philip on Design

H.R.H. Prince Philip shared his genuine frustration with poor design in this insightful interview upon the 50th anniversary of the Prince Philip Designers Prize.  He believes that consumers have become too tolerant of bad design.  The next time I’m trying to squirm between the entertainment unit and the wall, with a cable between my teeth, a flashlight in one hand and a wiring diagram in the other, I’ll take comfort in knowing that even the Royal Family shares my pain!

Link to the interview on YouTube

Asked about how design has changed over the past 50 years, Prince Philip replied that the trend to design by corporate or government committee has reduced the chances of producing exceptional designs.

He also feels that designers on contract create more innovative designs than staff designers.   This is because a contractor knows that her employment is temporary, while an employee always fears that hers is!  Thus employee designers are inclined to play it safe by complying with their employer’s opinions rather than truly expressing themselves.  He has observed that success results from giving a designer the authority to make design decisions. I would call this concept "empowerment" and say it's still all too rare, despite being a popular management buzzword.

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