The design imperative

One thing came to mind with the launch of the iPad. Design thinking as part of a business strategy isn’t going away. In fact companies like Alessi, Nintendo and Apple are demonstrating that it’s becoming more important. And it’s got lots of people worried. Apple’s most recent addition is once again showing us that design thinking can fix what technology driven innovation couldn’t.

The irony is of course is that the iPad only came to fruition due to technology catching up with it’s conceptual requirements. Display technology, Multi-touch, Solid-state drives, battery stamina, processing power, wireless technology (WiFi and Bluetooth), ultra low power consumption and last but not least an OS that requires no maintenance and minimal configuration. Apple was never going to release a tablet computer that couldn’t meet these requirements. The iPhone OS that it uses is also a breakthrough, but more a breakthrough in mindset than anything else. They’ve gone to considerable lengths to hide the workings of the OS from the user. It’s not just for mobile devices the same thinking can extend to general purpose computing. The GUI is finally showing some signs of fulfilling it’s promise, enabling users to do stuff without the OS getting in the way. Some balk at the idea of the iPad, just like the desktop concept found ridicule and resistance when it was first introduced. They’re just going to have to get over it.

At the moment nobody, and I mean nobody, has an OS that can do this. Even Google, with their upcoming Chrome OS may not be able to obfuscate its technical and user irrelevant aspects. They’re technology driven, they like to tinker. User don’t, users can’t. So why on earth make them suffer? So I hope they too can pull it off. Apple shows us, once again, that design is just as important in IT as it is everywhere else.

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