Designers: Are Your Products Among the Decade’s Best? [UPDATED]

A selection of the winners will be featured in Fast Company.


[The deadline, formerly August 28th, has been extend to September 3rd?Ed.]


Which designs, over the past ten years, have had the biggest business and social impact? The iPhone? The Prius? The Kindle?

An all-star jury, convened by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), aims to find out.

The organization’s most ambitious competition, Design of the Decade, is accepting entries through September 3rd. This contest is unique in several ways, says IDSA CEO Clive Roux, because it recognizes both design’s social impact and its influence on business. And it judges a product or service’s staying power.

“In deepening our focus and widening our aperture to span a decade, we provide the jurors with a sufficiently long period of time to better evaluate and more fully appreciate the longer term impact of design,” Roux says.

The jury will gather at The Henry Ford Museum — a partner in the competition, along with Fast Company — in September to evaluate entries. Winners will become part of the permanent collection at The Henry Ford, taking their place alongside such world-changing designs as the first Model T, the Erector Set, and the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.

Charles L. Jones, who recently left Whirlpool to become chief design officer at Masco Corporation, will lead the jury, which will feature top design executives including: David Butler, vice president of global design, Coca-Cola; Chris Bangle, BMW’s former director of design; Brian Walker, president and CEO of Herman Miller; Ayse Birsel, president, Birsel + Seck LLC; Sohrab Vossoughi, founder and president of Ziba Design; and Marc Greuther, chief curator, The Henry Ford Museum.


The jury’s challenge, says Jones, will be “to identify those companies who have successfully woven design into their corporate fabric and have been able to clearly demonstrate how design has had a positive impact on their business.?

The jury will award 10 to 12 gold awards, 12 or more silver awards, 12 or more bronze awards and one Design of the Decade award. The competition is open to entries in the following 15 categories:

?Solution to a developed world social problem
?Solution to a developing world social problem
?Most responsible design solution
?Solution to a consumer problem
?Most appealing consumer solution
?Solution to a business problem
?Design contribution to business efficiency
?Most profitable solution to a business problem
?Design that raises margins (getting consumers to part with their cash)
?Best sustainable design solution
?Design thinking contribution to business
?Most responsible design solution
?Most successful integration of new technology
?Design contribution to market share growth
?Biggest contribution to brand growth

The Design of the Decade entries will be judged on the following criteria:

? Benefit to society
? Benefit to business
? Innovation
? Benefit to user
? Responsibility (social, economic, environmental, cultural)
? Benefit to client
? Visual appeal and appropriate aesthetics

The competition is open to anyone who has designed a product introduced for sale anywhere in the world between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009. A selection of winners will be features in the Dec/Jan issue of Fast Company.


About the author

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