TED recently posted a great talk by Yves Béhar (of previously-mentioned Fuseproject fame). In 18 minutes, Béhar walks us through some of his more famous projects (Herman Miller’s Leaf Light, the Aliph Jawbone, Y-Water) and details how the design of each of these projects was driven by stories. Stories, according to Béhar, are what set innovative products apart from the rest of the pack. Stories create a bond between the end-user and the product, and they help to ultimately create loyalty.
That’s where the world of design meets the worlds of product development, branding, and strategy. What’s the story you’re trying to tell? How do you create offerings that tell a compelling, memorable story? Whether you’re selling insurance, or healthcare, or iPods, you can find success and unearth innovation by looking for the story.
Béhar’s approach to story-telling and design is extremely collaborative and user-centric. He looks at the end-user, and figures out the story they’re looking to be told. After factoring in technical requirements, he arrives at a product that’s as functional as it is beautiful, and often truly groundbreaking when compared to competitive products.
We encourage you to consider story-telling as a fundamental part of your innovation program. Challenge yourself and your team to piece together a story for every single thing you sell. Whether you deal with consumers or with other organizations doesn’t matter—at the end of the day, you’ll create a better, more innovative offerings if you think through the story and what it means to your customer.