Design awards – and competitive advantage

Business Week Online is running a special section on the 2005 Industrial Design Excellence Awards. To me, the awards highlight both the importance of design as a competitive advantage and the importance of customer-driven innovation.
On the first point, the lead story starts out with this statement:

When people talked about innovation in the ’90s, they invariably meant technology. When people speak about innovation today, it is more than likely they mean design.

Now, if we could only get that into the policy debate, which is fixated on the techological solutions!
On the second point, as the teaser for the report states:

Many of the winning entries from this year’s competition for Industrial Design Excellence Awards spring from a close observation of the customer.

Customer-driven innovation – always a winning strategy.
If we could only get that point as well into our debate over innovation!

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