The Shrines of Ise have been celebrated as the prototype of Japanese architecture. Largely of wood, traditional housing and many temple buildings see the use of tatami mats and sliding doors that break down the distinction between rooms and indoor and outdoor space.
As the programming of Japan’s traditional culture gradually weakened from 1945 on, individual Japanese began to exercise some personal choice in their private lives. But the newly mandated freedoms had a minimal effect on a number of key institutions. Japan’s educational, economical and political systems remained hidebound bulwarks of traditional behavior. The politically guided economic system in particular was able to generate enormous power that could be directed with the precision of a laser beam.
In the literature on design, product development and innovation, the word ‘design’ refers to many things: a creative art, a phase of product development, a set of functional characteristics, an aesthetic quality, a profession, and more. In the lexicon of more and more companies, however, the word has come to denote the totality of activities and competencies that gather all relevant information and transform it into a new product or service.
Good design is finding a solution to a problem. Great design is finding the simplest solution to the same problem.
Design is now understood as a core activity that confers competitive advantage by bringing to light the emotional meaning products and services have – or could have – for consumers, and by extracting the high value of such emotional connections. This evolution is creating the design-focused enterprise, an organization that uses consumer-centered product development to move quickly and effectively from intimate customer knowledge to successful product and service offerings.