Innovate NOVA

I have always been fascinated by the way great design can have a huge impact on the way the world works. Recently, JP Morgan predicted that sales of the iPhone5 could add between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent to fourth quarter annualized GDP growth in the United States.

We have been working with the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce to develop Innovate NOVA, Northern Virginia’s Conference on Innovation. This event, taking place on October 5 is a one-day conference welcoming the economic opportunities of change. As I prepare for the conference, I’m reflecting on my role as a web designer in the landscape of innovation in Northern Virginia and how what we do can have an impact on the local economy.

Great design has become such a competitive advantage that companies must understand what it means to employ “design thinking” - a way of examining problems and coming up with creative solutions. Design thinking is where innovative ideas occur.

Back in May 2012, Forbes published a great article called “Welcome to the Era of Design.” This article stated that there is now an expectation of good design that “products and services will be better thought through, simplified, made more intuitive, elegant and more enjoyable to use.”

It’s undeniable that companies committed to developing a design-focused culture are the ones that are thriving. Companies like Starbucks, Target, Nike, Ikea, and of course, Apple have changed our expectations. And websites such as Amazon and E-bay have taught us to expect well-designed user experiences.

This summer I listened to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. We can learn a lot by looking at the way Jobs thought about design. He was obsessed, driven to push through to designs that changed our relationship with technology. Fast Company’s Co.Design published an article titled, “The 6 Pillars of Steve Jobs Design Philosophy”. This article skillfully summarizes those lessons.

1: Craft, Above All
2, 3, and 4: Empathy, Focus, and Impute
5: Friendliness
6: Finding Simplicity for the Future in Metaphors From the Past

If you haven’t read the biography, I encourage you do so. But at the very least, take a look at the Co.Design article and think about how you can apply those ideas to what you do.

As we at Katalyst Creative Group apply those ideas to the websites we design and develop, our ultimate goal is to help you find success. And hopefully our innovative thinking will help catalyze your innovative projects and reenergize the economy.

If you are in Northern Virginia on Oct. 5, 2012 please join us at the Innovate! Conference and discover the power of ideas:

  • Hear thought leaders from commerce, humanity, technology, environmental and government industries
  • See exhibits illustrating stories of innovation in Northern Virginia
  • Interact with serial entrepreneurs and business visionaries changing tomorrow
  • Feel the spark of enterprising imaginations
  • Embrace the essence of ingenuity

Lean more and register at