Dell’s Award-Winning Design – The Innovation Streak Continues

Coming off our recent industry analyst meeting, Rob Enderle President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, noted in an ITBusinessEdge article

“Innovation is alive and well in Dell …, and it showcased award after award in the opening. Typically, much of the focus during the opening of an analyst event is on financial performance; this one has sustainability and innovation in their place. Financial performance is tactical and historical. Sustainability and innovation are forward looking and speak to long-term growth and increased capability, and in this instance, not just for Dell but for the U.S. and the world.”

As a 14 year veteran of Dell, I can tell you he is right. Never in our history have we been more committed to cutting edge design and experiences – experiences that matter most to our customers. At Dell, our design philosophy is that it actually isn’t about the design at all. It’s about the customer and what they need to meet their goals. Every detail counts … performance, battery life, and mobility are critical; so are the resistance of the keyboard, the movement of the hinges, the clarity of the display, the temperature of a device … the list goes on.

 Alienware Area 51 - Designed to keep cool

And the list of award-winning products like the Alienware Area 51, XPS 13, UltraSharp 34 curved monitor and the Latitude Rugged Extreme laptops are winners because of our maniacal obsession over function, graphic design, color, materials, and finishes – the things that make for the best customer experience possible.

This year alone, these products have won CES Innovation, Computex d&i, SPARK, Red Dot, and as of today – IDEA and K-Design awards. As you can tell from the wide range of award-winning product categories from gaming to rugged to monitors and consumer devices our investments in R&D are paying off across the board. We’re on an innovation streak and I couldn’t be more proud of the work the team is delivering for customers worldwide.

This can all be traced back to very thoughtful changes we’ve made in the way we go about designing and developing our products. There is a level of risk-taking I haven’t seen in years, all to help customers navigate an increasingly tricky landscape of mobility, BYOD, security, and productivity needs. This complexity is made all the more difficult by the “teenager test” – we’re not just passing the test we’re turning heads!

Dell UltraSharp 34 curved monitor

Rather than focusing on a fast time-to-market – we’re looking at product design through a different lens.  We’re looking over five years into the future to anticipate what our customers will need and the logical steps they will take in the use of their technology. We take that vision and back-cast to figure out what’s needed to make this vision a reality and refine as we move on in the development process. You’ve heard us mention the “long-term view” we can now take as a key benefit of going private, and you’re starting to see the results of those efforts.

Building on the increased investment in design and R&D and entrepreneurial culture we thrive on, the main reason we’re on this winning streak is our fantastic and diverse design team. With industrial designers, behavioral psychologists and architects  from all over the world – you get many different views on how to develop all aspects of a product that add up to something we don’t always expect but know our customers will love.   

Our design and engineering teams are also set up to maximize successes across all areas of the business. The fact is we are all consumers, and the gap between how we design for home users versus how we design for business users is closing quickly. Because we’re the only integrated IT solutions company in the world serving consumer and businesses, we can take technologies developed for the enterprise and apply them to the products and solutions for consumer customers – and vice versa. Take the reliability testing that goes in to our commercial products. They’re dropped, scorched, frozen and almost endlessly tested for weak-spots to make sure they’re able to survive the lifecycles our commercial customers demand.

All of this testing and all of these learnings are then applied to our consumer products so consumers and commercial customers alike can expect more out of their Dell products. Or the flip-hinge of our rugged convertible notebook, taken from the design of our convertible consumer notebook. Our differentiation in the enterprise is becoming differentiation in the consumer market and our unique ideas in the consumer space are getting integrated on the business side because we know workers want to be proud of the technology they use both at work and at home.

I look forward to sharing more frequent updates here on Direct2Dell on our customer-driven design approach as we head into the second half of the year and CES 2016. We’ve taken a long-term approach to developing innovative products for our customers, and it’s very clear others have been taking notice. I hope you have, too. Share your thoughts.

About the Author: Ken Musgrave