By John Cleere. Design for business at Red Lemonade.

There is a growing need for a design focus in the tech industry. This is mainly based on two reasons, as I can see. Firstly, ‘Moore’s Law’ is becoming more redundant. Secondly, ‘smartphones’ have made computers available to people of all ages. Technology is not just for nerds anymore!

Moore’s Law, coined in 1965, states that (paraphrasing here) computer speeds will get twice as fast every year. This pretty much defined the tech industry until recently. Faster was better, and that’s what consumers perceived as value, and what they paid for.

Today, computing speed is not such an issue anymore, but consumers still want something twice as good as last year. That’s where design is taking hold in adding value. This leads into the second reason; smartphones. Mobility has us checking our devices countless times during the day for a plethora of reasons from banking, gaming, reading, work etc. All of these experiences must be designed to make them user friendly and relevant to all people.

Design has, for many years, been seen as something that happened in the latter parts of a service or product (‘lipstick on the pig’ so to speak). Today, design is a way of thinking (see the Harvard Report from last year), a process that spans an organisational cycle with the customer at the heart.

There is a lot of talk of design in Silicon Valley currently. Designer co-founders are proving to be very successful in attracting venture capitalists, and some of the top venture capitalists in the valley now have designers as partners. Pick any of the top five and you will find designers. To my knowledge there are no venture capitalists in Ireland with design partners.

Design is economic strategy. The role of design in Ireland is currently flourishing, and it’s not by accident. Back in the 1960’s, the Irish government created the world’s first state sponsored design studios here in Kilkenny called the KDW (Kilkenny Design Workshops). It brought the best designers from around the word together in Kilkenny, applying the latest technology and innovation, through design. It grew from a gap seen by Bord Tráchtála (Irish Export Board) for design to play a key role in adding value to Irish created products for market. It was a huge success, and laid the foundations of modern design in Ireland.

Last year there was again a government initiative to promote Irish design called ‘Irish Design 2015’, to increase exports and promote jobs initiatives across all sectors. As the tech industry is growing exponentially in all sectors, from FinTech to IoT, design will play an intrinsic role going forward in creating value for customers.

Ireland’s current tech start-up scene is primed for taking design as an intrinsic part of their growth and success, and we are going to help them take advantage of this starting with a one day event here in Kilkenny, the home of Irish Design.

So if you know any budding Irish tech start-ups, direct them to this survey. It will help us tailor the event and keep them up to date on the event, and other happenings within the industry.
You can also follow #DesignTechKK on twitter for updates.

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John Cleere
Red Lemonade Creative

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