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Welcoming Guest Blogger Mark Dziersk: "Creativity Plus Risk Gets You the Grade"

One of the biggest complaints designers in consumer product companies have is that their organization's engineers just don't ‘get' design. That, they would argue, is why so many products—especially in consumer electronics—are so maddeningly complex, counter-intuitive, and user-unfriendly.

Mark Dziersk aims to change all that. From his perch as adjunct professor in Northwestern University's Master of Product Development program, he introduces left brained engineers, IT pros, and chemical engineering Ph.Ds, among others, to the joys awaiting in the other half of their craniums.

Mark Dziersk I sat in on one of Mark's classes, Essentials of Industrial Design, two years ago, and was amazed that, by the end of the session, he had this buttoned-down group of geeks acting out skits, doodling drawings, and coming up with wacky ideas in brainstorming sessions, just like a bunch of blue-haired, nose-ringed design school kids. And the proof is in the pudding. The products that come out of that program are consistently useful, marketable, and delightfully innovative. As Dziersk likes to encourage his proteges, "Creativity plus risk, gets you the grade." It's as true in business as it is in the classroom.

But teaching is just a sideline to Dziersk's main gig, as VP Design at Brandimage - Desgrippes & Laga, one of the world's largest design and branding firms. At brandimage, Dziersk has worked on projects for clients ranging from Dove to Banana Republic to a pop-up store for Henri Bendel. Dziersk joined brandimage in 2007, after 13 years at the Chicago product design firm Herbst Lazar Bell, where he and his teams won dozens of awards for products as diverse as the Motorola NFL Coaches' Headset and the first single-use camera for Kodak. Dziersk, himself, holds over 100 patents.

Dziersk also gives back to his larger professional community as well, having served on the board of the Industrial Designers Society of America and as president of the society in 1998. He also acted as executive editor of IDSA's premier publication, Innovation, introducing new design elements and recruiting authors from outside the design field.

Here are some of the products Dziersk and his team have designed:

A pop-up store for Henri Bendel.

Dziersk Bendel

Dziersk dove

The first single-use cameras for Kodak.

Dziersk cameras

Banana Republic's Fragrance Line