for the Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Industrial Design Degree Programs
John Novak, Assistant Professor | University of Louisiana, Lafayette
While working in corporate industrial design, one of my most effective research tools was the competitive product analysis. At a glance, the matrix presented a feature by feature comparison of competitive products offered in the U.S. market. More than just a design tool, this study provides powerful (business world) justification for design concepts that often make the difference in successfully selling design proposals to upper management. Once your ideas have support from marketing and management, tooling budgets seem to be magically improved, along with the ability to avoid erosion of design intent.
Another business world buzz word that also gets attention is market Share Design proposals intended to increase market share will get you a corporate fan club about as fast as anything can. Business people want to be number one in market share. Not only because of sales and profit margins and the bottom line; being number one boosts morale. Being number one is a source of pride and evidence of a job well done.
Achieving a high ranking is certainly not limited to the business world. Everyone loves rankings. We rank restaurants and television stations, places to live and companies to work for. Almost every city magazine has an annual best-of issue, noting everything from the best hair salon to the best shopping district. The best hotels, the best golf courses, the best cigar bars and martinis, the best galleries, music venues, and theaters.
We rank our sports teams, we rank the states we live in, we rank the products we buy, we rank colleges and universities and we even rank architecture programs. So why are there no rankings for industrial design programs? This seems odd. Suspiciously absent from the innumerable sources of rankings. Do schools need rankings? Do prospective design students need rankings?