Since 1955, the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Germany has marked the world's best product design with its signature Red Dot Awards. Although the 2010 winners won't be presented until July 5, we got a sneak preview of the winners featuring products designed by or manufactured for our Most Innovative Companies.
The greatest design innovations invariably have a story behind them: the insight that led to a radical new way to solve a problem, the failure that led to a breakthrough, the serendipity where colliding forces led to a profound creative leap.
After designing office furniture at Herman Miller and copiers at Xerox, Chuck Jones joined Whirlpool in 1995 and took on appliances. Since then he has managed to turn North America's largest appliance maker into a far more design-centric company.
Last fall, Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR) announced a new refrigerator meant to serve as a hub for personal and home electronics called CentralPark. The top of its freezer door boasts a power outlet, meant to be coupled with aftermarket devices that could attach to the fridge and recharge or dock devices. To date, there haven’t been many partners that have agreed to produce the docks, but Whirlpool has just received its biggest boon yet: an agreement with iGo, the charging-device maker owned by Mobility Electronics (NASDAQ: MOBE).