Finally, form meets Function

Make no mistake though as Vice President, Brand, Design and Experience, for Hewlett-Packard Company, he is well-steeped not only in product design, but his sphere of influence is quite large.

Lucente, whose list of accomplishments include wearable computing, the Netscape user interface and the IBM Thinkpad is hoping to apply lessons learned in the consumer electronics world to Hewlett-Packard’s extensive line of business computers and peripherals, where arguably, form has always taken a back seat to function.

Lucente says design matters everywhere whether its remote control devices for personal electronics, or rackmounted systems that fill the data centre. “That’s why in the enterprise space, we are applying all this thinking,”

For the past three years, Lucente has worked within HP, leading a 200+ strong team of professionals looking at ways of improving product design and building a consistent customer experience. All of these elements, he says, are part of what he calls the “product ecosystem,” and it is “much more than just building a simple device.”

Easier said than done. In the case of HP, it means achieving a common look and feel across thousands of products and services worldwide.

He must also coordinate the efforts of many different teams in many different locations working on user interfaces, software and operating systems, including partners such as Microsoft.

Yet, he thinks it can be done. When you drive one of the biggest supply chains in the world (HP outsources most of it manufacturing), “you can dictate the design.”

There’s also a compelling business case.

One small touch, such as using one standard brand-name plate on all of HP’s products, can translate into savings of millions of dollars, he says.

Lucente says also the stakes will only get bigger.

“As products mature and become a commodity, design will only become a bigger differentiator.”

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