I’m reading “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel H. Pink and a paragraph popped out at me:
For business, it’s no longer enough to create a product that’s reasonably priced and adequately functional. It must also be beautiful, unique and meaningful, abiding what author Virginia Postrel calls “the aesthetic imperative.”
In other words, we have to look beyond simply functional, appropriately priced products and services towards the creation of an aesthetic that draws in our client. In an article in WIRED magazine, Postrel says that:
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Competition has pushed quality so high and prices so low that few manufacturers can survive on performance and price alone. To produce value, they must give customers something to please their sensory side. Aesthetics is the killer app.
I would argue that functionality and beauty are key factors but they are inextricably linked to designing with empathy. Proponents of design thinking will tell you that products and services must be designed with heart and hand in mind in order to be truly meaningful to our clients and to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Design aesthetic, relevance and empathy shall rule the economy.