the search for quality / development

who looks for quality should ask questions, a good question would be ‘why is the product as it is?’ Who has responsibility, the designer or the trader? As a little footnote: “more than 85 percent of the environmental impact of a product has nowadays already been decided on in the development phase”. The answers will me manyfold. Every human has different priorities, everyone is formed by their environment and their vicissitudes. That way a merchant will define quality in an other way than a designer.

A little example will try to clarify how a merchant defines quality. Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, has written on the topics creativity and design in his book “Billy – 30 Jahre alt. Billy – 30 Jahre jung” the following: ‘Any architect can construct a writing desk that can cost 3000 DM, but to design a functional and shapely writing desk that can only cost 200 DM one has to be especially clever.

It should be paramount that the characteristic clever has rather basic commercial principles. A designer can move little in ‘clever’. Nonetheless this sentence shows that Kamprad puts priority on a favourable price. That is his quality criterium. Jonathan Ive was chef designer with Apple until 2015, in his days innovative groundbreaking products were developed and marketed. The quality criterium ‘favourable pricing’ was not a priority for sure. Apple’s previous CEO Steve Jobs not only recognised Jonathan Ive’s potential, he freshly adjusted the competences of the Apple Company. He set the developer before the merchant. The competence to develop truely new products shaped the basis for success for Apple. The implementation of this insight is the actual achievement of Steve Jobs. It is coining the person and the resulting competences. A designer like Ive has been shaped different to the merchant Kamprad and thus the defenition of quality could not be more distinct.

With a view to social responsability comes the question on how different quality can be defined when describing ecofriendly products. Answers to this question would by no means be in concord and so more questions should be asked. Questions that dig deeper, until what is hidden under the by marketing departments embellished surface is brought to light.