Follow the Leaders
Initially, Jones put together a presentation for senior management showing how a design-focused strategy reaped rewards in stock price, market share, and profitability at Apple, Chrysler, Volkswagen, and other design-centric companies.
Grab a Seat at the Table
For designers to help solve business problems, they need to understand Whirlpool's overall corporate strategy. Jones's team stays in the loop, participating with sales and manufacturing execs in key meetings.
Take Smart Shortcuts
Each of Whirlpool's 16 major brands has its own language — a series of colors, textures, and descriptions that tie every product together. These cues provide convenient building blocks to accelerate new product design.
Use the Numbers
Jones's team takes the fuzziness out of design abstractions through extensive usability studies that quantify effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. Making the numbers opens the door to more risk taking.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.