Watch this space

The world was waiting with bated breath to know what Apple is going to unveil, last week. To the cheers of the millions of fans, the Apple Watch was announced, without announcing the launch date.

What was shown was not just pretty, but ingenious.

The watch as a wearable bluetooth phone is neither new, nor revolutionary. Samsung, Sony and whole host of other small guys have launched variations of the watch as a wearable tech product. As a late-mover, Apple did a re-jig of the whole product idea and designed an entire eco-system around it. A Systems design approach that gives the product a must-have quality.

The watch is designed for different users from the young sport to the time and health-concerned business men and wraps them around a system of apps that help you survive in your everyday life.  And, Apple has decided to give customers a choice by giving variations in the design of the straps and bezels, bringing not one but entire array of them. And by introducing Apple pay, the new payment process it has managed to string in different banks, consumers and shopping establishments, into a simple, delightful process, thereby ensuring a loyal customer base for the product.

Apple leverages its design capabilities, once again.

In another major development, quite unrelated, but closer home, a 50-year old public sector company in India, HMT Watches Ltd, that manufactured watches, which proudly called itself, ‘Time keepers to the nation”, closed it’s production this week. The company has fallen into bad times and has refused to innovate in the ever-changing market. It says a lot about the importance public sector industries give to Design and Design thinking.

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Could HMT have pulled off a smart-watch? Unlikely.  Could it have re-created the Swatch magic?  No way. It means you go beyond the realm of the physical product and design an entire eco-system that provided value to the customer and delight to the audience. That comes with investing in Design. Otherwise your business dies a sad death.

When will our public sector companies, see value in design? Only, time will tell.