Bang and Olufsen uses the analytic approach to management. This is clearly seen in the phases of their design and production. Analytic design mostly structures their designs as engineering challenges (Lester, et. al. , 2002). The step-by step procedure of producing their products begins with the designers given free-reign over the design. It is, however, the engineers that are given the challenge to produce these designs realistically. Contrast this with interpretative management, which views designs as a “liberal art” (Lester, et. al, 2002).
However, there are some aspects of the B&O design process that bear a mark of this interpretative management system, specifically in the process where B&O acquires feedback from consumers to help update their design. The “artful making” aspect in the B&O design process may be observed in the designing phase, wherein the designers are free to design products with “substance”. It may also be seen in the Idealab aspect of B&O, where they produce concepts and products that are innovative and revolutionary.
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It is interesting to note that Alessi’s design process bears a resemblance to B&O’s. This similarity may be seen in the stages of the design process where the product starts of with the designers and end with the engineers and the manufacturing process. However, what is unique about B&O is that their designers are given free-reign – that is, in Alessi, the designers are influenced by the engineering problems that will arise over their design concepts. The B&O approach is not entirely human-centered.
Human-centered design is primarily observed in the goal of the design process: to create something that will suit the lifestyle of the consumer. It is however, interesting to note that the human-centered design is absent in the acquisition of feedbacks from the customer. B&O does not produce their designs due to the consumer’s negative of positive opinions on what they should do. Instead, B&O gives their designers the freedom and the challenge to produce their concepts from scratch.
B&O emphasizes the importance of mobility, flow, and smartness among John Thackara’s design principles. Mobility is exemplified by the universality of their designs. Flow is seen in the design process itself, wherein the product is taken into a step-by-step process. And smartness can be observed in the function of their designs in the real world, beyond concepts. References: Lester, Richard K. , Pior, Michael J. , Malek, Kamal M. Interpretative management: what general managers can do for design. Managing Innovation and Change. Henry Jane, Mayle, David. 2002. SAGE.
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