JWD is a Virtual Industrial Design Consultancy with over 30 years of experience in Consumer, Medical, and Industrial products and has established long-term ties to other creative professionals. I can offer consulting as an undividual hands-on contributor or assemble a hand-picked multidisciplinary team for a specific project, similar to the way a film director assembles a crew to create a movie.

It has been my
experience that the best results come from small multidisciplinary teams united by a common vision. I have an innate ability to quickly synthesize disparate needs that provide insights that solve real problems, build brand equity and customer loyalty.

In a world where there is an incredible proliferation of product offerings, it is incumbent on Design to provide solutions that are differentiated and sustainable. The planet does not need more stuff destined for the landfill.


The two most important criteria for success are to accurately define the problem statement and the customer use case. The best solutions are rarely the most obvious. We begin with an iterative process based on an agreed set of criteria based on solid research, brainstorm lots of ideas, prototype the most promising and learn from those that don't work. It's this learn-as-you-go, informed-intuition process that gets the best solutions the quickest. Qualified user evaluations can be fed into the process to begin a "looping" of design and evaluation to refine the ideas.

I consider my clients to be equal partners in the process with all attendant rights for questioning, feedback, and creative contributions. At the end of the day it is the marketplace that will reward those who took the time to do it right.

Top Five Innovation Killers...

Innovation has never been more important to companies as it is now. The economy is creating new needs and new forms of value are needed to fulfill them. Yet there remains a yawning gulf between business leaders' rhetoric on innovation and the reality on the ground. So what holds our companies back and why is innovation so rare?

Here are five factors that
prevent successful innovation:

01_Intolerance of failure

The number one top tactic for innovation, according to expert innovators, is to experiment fearlessly. Nothing works the first time so you might as well fail as quickly as possible. If you cannot accept failure you are unlikely to see too much innovation, no matter how much money you throw at it.

02_Excessive customer focus

Professional managers are great at using customer research to make incremental improvements to existing products and services. But, faced with a radical new proposition, people are poor predictors of their own future behavior. The famous Italian designer Alberto Alessi avoids traditional focus groups but conducts pre-design market research to inform the process. If that upfront work is properly done, any customer inputs along the way are just check points.

Additionally, the resources and time that would have gone into traditional focus groups would be better spent on creating a limited production run of functional prototypes for testing in the real market, and then rolling those learnings into the full production version. That approach generally gets relt data and a more refined product out quicker, better suited to the real needs of the user, saving time and capturing market opportunity earlier, providing sales revenue and brand building.


Innovation is a way of life, not an isolated program change. 3M is famous for this approach, allowing its developers to spend a certain percentage of their time perusing their own projects as a way of encouraging bottom-up ideas.

04_Unwillingness to cannibalize sales

The only way to prolong success is, paradoxically, to destroy it and create something even more valuable. Technology companies know that they must consistently add new features at lower prices if they want to stay ahead in the market. Involve your whole organization and beyond, cannibalize your existing business, and see

05_Reliance on a small cadre of innovators

Relying on a small development to identify, create and deliver game-changing innovations is unrealistic. You have to cast a much wider net. In the past five years Proctor and Gamble has dramatically increased its willingness to work with external organizations and now aims to develop at least half of its new growth through these external networks.

Once you are willing to accept some failure as part of the innovation process, innovation as a way of life, you're on the way to make real progress.
Lead rather than follow...

Santa Cruz, California
M: 650.815.1980

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© 2020 JayWilsonDesign .........Santa Cruz CA

b 2011 article in
FastCompany "Why User-Led Design is a Failure"


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