Innovation Alessi-style

I’m inundated by email newsletters from all and sundry. Mostly they lie around in my in-box until I snap and stow them away, or snap completely and unsubscribe. The big problem is that there are real gems tucked away within the mass of material. This morning I found one of these gems.

I had heard stories before about Alberto Alessi and his obsession with producing beautiful objects without compromise. McKinsey interviewed him, and have put together a great insight into his thinking and his design principles. Have a look at it here. (Click on “Launch Interactive” to view it.)

I was particularly struck by the formula he uses to assess a new product. He assesses the prototype – as he says, not the first rough prototype but from at least the third so that it is already in a reasonably polished state. His formula evaluates each product on a 5 point scale against four parameters. The central two have to do with the relationship between the individual and the product, and the social impact of the product. To this he adds an evaluation of function and of price. The parameters are shown in this piece. It shows fascinatingly how clear he is on what is Alessi.

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