• 09.23.09

The Secrets Behind Great Design: IDSA Announces Catalyst Case Study Winners

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.


This year’s winners include OXO Good Grips, the comfortable, functional kitchen tools that began as one man’s attempt to design comfortable tools for his arthritic wife; Whirlpool’s audacious pledge to be number one in its industry in innovation; Black & Decker’s Dustbuster, which created a whole new mass-market category; and Apple’s iPod-iTunes-iPhone system that completely upended the music industry.


“There are about 50,000 industrial designers in the U.S., and nearly four million business professionals who can benefit from hearing our stories,” adds Sawhney. “The Catalyst Case Studies are our best stories…our greatest hits.”

Over the past year, a panel of business, design and academic experts evaluated submissions that detailed design’s best thinking in this area. To encourage participation, submissions required no entry fee, and the person nominating a product or project did not need to have any involvement with it.

The studies will form a knowledge bank of best practices and creative strategies that will be available to anyone with an interest in how some of the great design breakthroughs of our time evolved.

The cases will be available for download as PDFs and MP3s, for a small charge, from the IDSA Web site.


About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.