Friday, October 5, 2007

The Future is Hi-Touch

Forgive the self-referential photo, but I wanted to show off my new iPod Touch - it comes with built-in wi-fi connection and naturally the first thing I did was check out my blog!

Quite simply it is the Jaguar XKR of mp3 players - in a word: Gorgeous.

Technology just doesn't get any better than this: design, feel and functionality. It makes my new Nokia N95 seem like something out of the Flintstones.

The iPod Touch also has an important economic lesson for Ireland and Irish businesses - future economic success will be about the ability to design, not the ability to manufacture (despite the doom and gloom prognostications of some commentators). The point is brought home powerfully when you open the box the iPod comes in. Printed across the front is: "Designed by Apple in California" - where it is made is secondary and not explicitly stated (China by the way, in case you couldn't guess).

As Dan Pink, author of the inspiring book 'A Whole New Mind' points out, the MBA of the future will be the MFA: Masters in Fine Art. Already, universities like Harvard are integrating collaborative work with designers into their MBA coursework. Design, and the whole creative process of innovation, is where Ireland Inc will secure its future wealth. The softer stuff, the hi-touch not just the hi-tech, will give Irish businesses a harder edge with which to compete.

And if you think I am exaggerating consider this: the maufacture and subsequent transportation of an iPod to Europe or the USA accounts for just 20% of the retail price. The other 80%? The gorgeous part of course.

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