Novel applications for advanced materials: What have surfboards and planes got in common?

1 12 2007

Surf’s Up 

On reading a very interesting article in recently relating to advanced materials, I was left pondering where else they could conceivably be used to good effect.

The article focused on the use of composites, core materials and aramid fabrics, along with carbon fibre, hybrids, fibreglass and other technical fabrics in the production of surfboards. Such materials are more commonly found in aerospace and technically demanding applications such as fire protection and body armour but are now finding their way into everyday life.

Making use of aerospace technologies, Segway Composites used aluminium honeycomb, hollow carbon fibre and the vacuum bagging process to produce their high performance KOLSTOF surfboard (named after ‘koolstof’, the Dutch word for carbon). Even military grade KevlarTM has been incorporated to help to counteract the many stresses placed on the board when in use.

With such a novel place to find these types of advanced materials, where else could they find themselves next? Answers on a postcard please…

Steve Jobs’ Rules of Success

5 11 2007

Steve Jobs’ Rules of Success

Steve Jobs, as many of you will now is the CEO and founder of Apple, and in many peoples eyes the consumate entrepreneurial designer.  I came across Steve’s rules for success whilst surfing the web, and as I read them I thought, you know these make real sense.  This is why I bring them to you…

  1. Do what you love to do. Find your true passion. Do what you love to do a make a difference! The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
  2. Be different. Think different. “Better be a pirate than to join the navy.”
  3. Do your best. Do your best at every job. No sleep! Success generates more success. So be hungry for it. Hire good people with passion for excellence.
  4. Make SWOT analysis. As soon as you join/start a company, make a list of strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your company on a piece of paper. Don’t hesitate in throwing bad apples out of the company.
  5. Be entrepreneurial. Look for the next big thing. Find a set of ideas that need to be quickly and decisively acted upon and jump through that window. Sometimes the first step is the hardest one. Just take it! Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
  6. Start small, think big. Don’t worry about too many things at once. Take a handful of simple things to begin with, and then progress to more complex ones. Think about not just tomorrow, but the future. “I want to put a ding in the universe,” reveal Steve Jobs his dream.
  7. Strive to become a market leader. Own and control the primary technology in everything you do. If there’s a better technology available, use it no matter if anyone else is not using it. Be the first, and make it an industry standard.
  8. Focus on the outcome. People judge you by your performance, so focus on the outcome. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
  9. Advertise. If they don’t know it, they won’t buy your product.
  10. Pay attention to design. “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.” “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
  11. Ask for feedback. Ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. Each one will tell you one useful thing. If you’re at the top of the chain, sometimes people won’t give you honest feedback because they’re afraid. In this case, disguise yourself, or get feedback from other sources. Focus on those who will use your product – listen to your customers first.
  12. Innovate. Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower. Delegate, let other top executives do 50% of your routine work to be able to spend 50% your time on the new stuff. Say no to 1,000 things to make sure you don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. Concentrate on really important creations and radical innovation. Hire people who want to make the best things in the world. You need a very product-oriented culture, even in a technology company. Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together.
  13. Learn from failures. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
  14. Learn continually. There’s always “one more thing” to learn! Cross-pollinate ideas with others both within and outside your company. Learn from customers, competitors and partners. If you partner with someone whom you don’t like, learn to like them – praise them and benefit from them. Learn to criticize your enemies openly, but honestly.

I hope that these prove as useful to you as they are going to be to me.  I will leave you with a pertinent quote for all people thinking about how they are going to grow their company and are not seriously looking at innovation, particularly through good design of new products:

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”

Look where it got them!!!

Design Life Now

26 10 2007


Having spent the last two weeks in one of the best cities that I have ever visited, Boston, I felt it only right that a visit to a culturally significant spot was a good way to kill some time.  So having done the freedom trail, I thought it best to get some research in!

A trip to the Institute of Contempory Arts (ICA) led to the ‘Design Life Now’ exhibition, something that is well worth checking out for designers of all shapes and sizes, and was recommended to me by a good friend, Ian Holohan.  The exhibition takes in the most up-to-date, cool and contemporary design work from all aspects of the design world.  From graphics to furniture, from architecture to photography, and product design to fashion, it covers all of the bases and should give you enough stimulation to take something away with you.  A bit of guerilla photography never goes amiss either!!!

On top of this, there is the extremely interesting ‘Accumulations’ exhibition, showing some of the worlds finest contemporary sculptures and pieces of art (be careful not to touch the cube of balanced pins named ‘Pins’ otherwise the exhibition police will jump on you and tie you down!!!).

If you are in the Boston area this is definately worth a look, and at $11 its a steal.

Hello world!

26 10 2007

Welcome to the Designbreed’s weblog, feel free to browse, comment and participate in the design blogs that are intended to reside on this blog.

 I am hoping that whilst the world wasn’t looking, this blogsite is going to be of use to some individual soul that isn’t myself