Design and business have traditionally made uneasy bedfellows, with practitioners of each eyeing each other suspiciously. But in recent years, some companies have demonstrated huge success by adopting a design-savvy approach. That's led to a resurgence of interest in design as business strategy. There remains little agreement on the best policies, structures, or principles for its smart adoption and execution, however.
This panel, a continuation of swissnex San Francisco's series on innovation, brings together those working on every side of the equation, from individuals implementing design within large corporations, to consultants aiming to bring an objective eye to their clients' problems, to educators working to shape the future discussion.
With moderator Helen Walters, editor of innovation and design at Bloomberg/BusinessWeek; Helmut Traitler, V.P. of Innovation Partnerships at NESTEC Ltd., in Vevey, Switzerland; Udaya Patnaik, Jump founder and principal; Nathan Shedroff, chair of the MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts; and Mary Jo Cook, Vice President of Discovery and Design for Clorox.
Mary Jo Cook
Mary Jo Cook is Vice President of Discovery and Design for Clorox, where she leads a corporate innovation group responsible for creating large new business opportunities for Clorox and increasing company capabilities in breakthrough innovation and design. Prior to this role, Cook was Vice President of New Businesses for the Cleaning Division, where she created and led a cross-functional group that delivered a series of innovations, including the Clorox Ready Mop system, Clorox Bleach Pen (a BusinessWeek Top New Product of the Year), Clorox Toilet Wand system, Clorox Anywhere daily sanitizing spray, and GreenWorks from Clorox, the first national brand of effective cleaners made from plant based, biodegradable ingredients.
Her innovation accomplishments were recognized by BusinessWeek, which named her one of their "top 25 innovation champions" in June 2006.
Udaya Patnaik is a Jump founder and principal. He advises executives in technology, communications, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and retail. He has worked with leaders at companies like HP, Target, and Harley-Davidson to solve long-term strategy issues while delivering rapid results. Patnaik uses experience in research, network analysis, roadmapping, facilitation, and training to help clients manage innovation, create new businesses, and transform organizations.
Patnaik is a frequent speaker on the topic of using innovation to drive growth. Prior to Jump, he worked in community and economic development, providing technical assistance in finance, policy, and systems improvement to governments and non-profits. He taught at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and Technical Communications Program.
Nathan Shedroff has been an information and interface designer for over twelve years. He focuses on developing online experiences, building online brand strategies and business models, and developing online communities.
Throughout his career, he has worked in various media and authored several books on multimedia, computers, and information. His electronic experience spans CD-ROMs, kiosks, published titles, application development, and online experiences.
He co-founded vivid studios, a decade-old pioneering company in interactive media. Prior to that, he worked with Richard Saul Wurman as a senior designer at TheUnderstandingBusiness. He earned a BS in Industrial Design, with an emphasis in Automobile Design, from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Helmut Traitler holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Vienna, Austria. He was an assistant professor and a group leader of the research team for Westvaco.
In 1981, he joined Nestlé Research and became a member of the editorial board of JAOCS (J. Of Am. Oil Chemistry Society). He subsequently managed the project for low fat ice cream coatings at Nestlé R & D in Van Nuys, California, and the project for coffee extraction in Marysville, Ohio. In 1993, he created the Nestlé Technology Transfer Team in Lausanne, Switzerland, and later became head of the dapartment of Food Science and Technology. During this period he was also involved in and/or leading several development projects such as freezing extrusion for ice cream, generation of aromas above the cup in soluble coffee, and Nestlé “Pure Life" water.
As Director of Corporate Packaging in Glendale, California, he was involved with intellectual property in packaging, new ways of supplier audits and selection, RFID, and new designs for infant formula. In 2003, he became head of CT-Packaging, Nestec Ltd., in Vevey, Switzerland. Since October 2006, Helmut Traitler has been V.P. of Innovation Partnerships at NESTEC Ltd., in Vevey.
Helen Walters is the editor of Innovation and Design at Bloomberg BusinessWeek. She is also a contributing editor to design magazine Creative Review.
Walters is the author of several books, including a survey of experimental animation, a monograph of a Brooklyn design agency, and a series of titles featuring contemporary T-shirt graphics.
In technology, an improvement to something already existing. Distinguishing an element of novelty in an invention remains a concern of patent law. The Renaissance was a period of unusual innovation: Leonardo da Vinci produced ingenious designs for submarines, airplanes, and helicopters and drawings of elaborate trains of gears and of the patterns of flow in liquids. Technology provided science with instruments that greatly enhanced its powers, such as Galileo's telescope. New sciences have also contributed to technology, as in the theoretical preparation for the invention of the steam engine. In the 20th century, innovations in semiconductor technology increased the performance and decreased the cost of electronic materials and devices by a factor of a million, an achievement unparalleled in the history of any technology.