Why introducing good design to established companies isn’t so easy


Introducing a good design ethos to large corporations is largely a cultural issue, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Maeda said in the first session of Gigaom’s Roadmap conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Maeda — the former president of Rhode Island School of Design and a onetime director of MIT’s Visual Language Workshop — said some established companies risk falling behind younger rivals because good design can’t simply be introduced in one fell swoop.

“The younger generation moves so fast and gets it, whatever that is,” he said. “Larger established companies don’t get it, so they’re behind. [People say] ‘We’re going to fix it and give them a weapon.’ What’s always missing in that equation is that large corporations are cultures. By definition, they’re designed to not change… when we bring a new system in, we forget that the big design problem is one of culture, of understanding.”

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