Businessweek has an interesting look inside Samsung.
The way Samsung's moving, you'd think it wants to be the Ferrari. This year, Samsung won five awards in the Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) — making it the first Asian company to win more awards than any European or American rival. (The competition is sponsored by BusinessWeek, which publishes the results, but the laureates are selected by the Industrial Designers Society.) And since 2000, Samsung has earned a total of 100 citations at top design contests in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Brokerage Hyundai Securities expects Samsung to earn $10.3 billion on sales of $52.8 billion this year, up from profits of $5.2 billion and $39.8 billion in revenues last year. (Although much of that increase comes from the semiconductor division, the company's snazzy consumer products also helped.) "Samsung is the poster child for using design to increase brand value and market share," says Patrick Whitney, director of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Virginia Postrel got it right. Aesthetics matter more and more. I still think the time will come when we will see companies with a Chief Aesthetics Officer, who basically runs the design-side of everything.