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Form v. Function: Rethinking Conventional Product

You know the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But in an industry that strives for not just iterations but evolutions, how do you overcome progress hobbled by the familiar? Year after year technology companies aim to cram new hardware into the specs of last year’s models, rarely venturing to rethink the form itself. In an industry that prides forward-thinking, few acknowledge the fact that technology has long made many of these form factors unnecessary or obsolete. Digital cameras retain the shape of their film-dependent brothers; thermostats have been a white rectangle over 60 years running; again and again development leans to the backward inclination of function following form. But a new breed of tech disruptors has risen—with bigger vision and bigger dedication to seeing things differently: a class with vision that strives beyond form and old school design convention. They know the road to new success lies in refusing to compromise vision for convention.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What is the traditional design ethos, and how has it failed entrepreneurs?
  2. Why are we tied to convention in product design, sacrificing evolution and innovation?
  3. How does user experience and expectation dictate adoption? Design?
  4. Where is there greater potential for disruption—hardware or software?
  5. How do you move a market to accept a new design even if it intuitively makes sense and improves the user experience?



Kyla Keefe, Account Executive, The Outcast Agency

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