In 2002, the Economist magazine1 declared that “innovation is now recognized as the single most important ingredient in any modern economy.” Throughout the first decade of this century, design and innovation have been cover subjects in business magazines like Fortune, BusinessWeek, and Fast Company.2 Design innovation is probably best exemplified by Steve Jobs and Apple, but also by the innovation and design consultancy IDEO, and the British inventor and innovator James Dyson.

Steve Jobs saw himself as living at the intersection of humanities and technology, and he made sure that the same can be said of his company, Apple. From the outset, Jobs provided a liberal arts balance to his technically gifted partner, Steve Wozniak. Over the years, Apple has used industrial design to help balance technology with the way people use it. Jonathan Ives, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design, was one of Jobs's closest confidants. At the iPad 2 launch in 2011, Jobs said, “It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. We believe that it's technology married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

IDEO is an award-winning global design firm based in Palo Alto, California. IDEO's founder David Kelley is also an engineering professor at Stanford. The consultancy uses a human-centered, design-based ...

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