Stanford Business Books
September 5, 2012
The Soul of Design explores the uncanny power of some products to grab attention – to create desire. To understand what sets a product apart in this way, Lee Devin and Robert D. Austin push past personal taste and individual response to adopt a more conceptual approach. They carefully explore the hypothesis that something within a “special” product makes it, well, special. They argue that this “je ne sais quoi” arises from “plot” – the shape that emerges as a product or service arouses and then fulfills expectations. Marketing a special product is, then, a matter of helping its audience to perceive its plot and comprehend its qualities.
This book provides keys to understanding why some products and services stand out in a crowd and how the companies that make them create these hits. Drawing on detailed casework that shows how innovators and makers have successfully brought special products to market, the authors deliver a sensible and clear approach to conceiving of artful products and services.
Lee Devin is a Dramaturg at People’s Light and Theatre, and Emeritus Professor of Theatre and Senior Research Scholar at Swarthmore College. With Robert D. Austin, he is the author of Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know about How Artists Work (2003).
Robert D. Austin is Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick and Professor of the Copenhagen Business School. His book The Adventures of an IT Leader (2009) has won accolades for its “novel” approach. A former Professor at Harvard Business School and manager at Ford and Novell, Austin is a frequent advisor to multinational firms.