Nine months ago, when I began my tenure as GOOD's product technology lead, my answer to the titular question would have been a simple "no". Invention requires function and form, but not design. Design is an after-thought. Design is the icing on the cake. Design is not essential.For weeks, even months, GOOD's focus on design as the solution to problems large and small, environmental, educational, in cities, or in the home, confused me. I could not figure out how this community of my fellow employees and the community surrounding the GOOD name was so sure that how something looked or how it felt
would make a difference.And therein was the problem.At some point, it occurred to me that maybe designers and the rest of the world were not communicating on the same level. The design community had deemed form and function as the design
. Whilst the rest of us held onto the belief that design is choosing the pattern for our curtains, the style of our jean pockets, or the white color of our iPods. Design was not the placement of the start button. Design was not the shape of the mouse and the placement of its buttons. Design certainly was not the placement of a sign on the freeway
.But the light has since gone on. Design is all those things. And thus, design is essential for invention.But wonder if I was alone in my confusion. So I pose the question -- knowing full well that the GOOD community is heavily filled with designers -- was I alone? or does the design community have a communication problem?