dinsdag 17 februari 2009

Alberto Alessi's borderline

Extract from a interview published in McKinsey Quartly with Alberto Alessi (CEO of a leading Italian design company)

The Quarterly: How do your failures influence you? Why are they important?

Alessi: To understand why fiascos matter, I need to explain my theory of the borderline—which divides the areas of “possible” and “not possible.” The area of the possible is represented by those new projects that final customers will be ready to understand, to wish for, to love, maybe to buy. The area of the not possible is represented by new projects people are not able to understand. I admire some marketers and designers whom consumers find extremely difficult to understand. Sometimes they create things that could be used 10 or 20 years later.

Well-organized, mass production companies try to work as far as possible from the borderline. They cannot afford to take too many risks. But by all producing the same car, the same television set, and the same fridge year after year, those companies are making products more and more boring and anonymous.

The destiny of a company like Alessi is to live as close as possible to the borderline, where you are able to really explore a completely unknown area of products. The problem is that the borderline is not clearly drawn. You cannot see with your eyes where it is. You can only sense these qualities.

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