The Soul of Design: Harnessing the Power of Plot to Create Extraordinary Products (Hardcover)

The Soul of Design: Harnessing the Power of Plot to Create Extraordinary Products By Robert Austin, Lee Devin Cover Image

The Soul of Design: Harnessing the Power of Plot to Create Extraordinary Products (Hardcover)


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What makes the Apple iPhone cool? Bang & Olufsen and Samsung's televisions beautiful? Any of a wide variety of products and services special? The answer is not simply functionality or technology, for competitors' products are often as good.

The Soul of Design explores the uncanny power of some products to grab and hold attention-to create desire. To understand what sets a product apart in this way, authors Lee Devin and Robert Austin push past personal taste and individual response to adopt a more conceptual approach. They carefully explore the hypothesis that there is something within a "special" product that makes it-well, special. They argue that this je ne sais quoi arises from "plot"-the shape that emerges as a product or service arouses and then fulfills expectations. Marketing a special product is, then, a matter of helping its audience perceive its plot and comprehend its qualities.

Devin and Austin provide keys to understanding why some products and services stand out in a crowd and how the companies that make them create these hits. Part One of the book introduces the authors' definition of plot in this context; Part Two breaks down the components needed to build a plot; Part Three describes what makes a plot coherent; Part Four takes on the challenges of making coherent products and services attractive to consumers. Part Four also presents detailed casework, which shows how innovators and makers have successfully brought special products to market.

Readers will come away with a sensible and clear approach to conceiving of artful products and services. This book will help managers and designers think about engaging with plot, taking aesthetic factors into account to provide consumers with more special things.

Lee Devin is a Dramaturg at People's Light, an Emeritus professor of Theatre and Senior Research Scholar at Swarthmore College, a member of Actors' Equity, a Certified Scrum Master, and a Consultant for the Cutter Consortium Innovation Practice. With Rob Austin, he is the author of Artful Making; What Managers Need to Know about How Artists Work (2003). Robert D. Austin is Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, former professor of Management of Creativity and Innovation at Copenhagen Business School, and former Professor of Technology and Operations at Harvard Business School. His book, The Adventures of an IT Leader (2009), has won accolades for its "novel" approach. Formerly a manager at Ford and Novell, he is a frequent advisor to multinational firms.
Product Details ISBN: 9780804757201
ISBN-10: 0804757208
Publisher: Stanford Business Books
Publication Date: September 5th, 2012
Pages: 192
Language: English