Author: James L. AdamsISBN: 978-0-07-178240-1
This book is
the most comprehensive discussion of all the elements that go into producing
superior products that I have read. I have thought a lot about quality over
many years, yet the thinking reflected throughout [this] discussion is a real
eye-opener for me. For anyone seriously interested in quality, this is a must
—Donald E. Petersen, retired President and Chairman, Ford Motor Company
WHAT MAKES A PRODUCT GREAT TO BEGIN WITH,
WHY BUSINESSES AND ECONOMIES SUFFER SELLING BAD PRODUCTS FOR A QUICK BUCK,
AND THE KEY TO REVERSING THE NEGATIVE TREND
“We Can No Longer Afford to Make Junk and Throw It Away When it Breaks.”
If you have wanted a computer or appliance repaired, only to find that
buying a new one was less expensive – if you’ve been unable to read the labels
on the controls of your home entertainment center, sat in uncomfortable chairs,
or wished your ugly car wasn’t – Jim Adams has your sympathy. All products have room for improvement,
because the average consumer can often come up with a good idea for
improvement. The problem isn’t that all
products are inherently bad. Yet, “since
products are designed and produced by bright, educated, and well-meaning
people, however, why aren’t they better?”
Adams is a legend at Stanford University. He is an Emeritus Professor, affiliated with the Department of Management Science and Engineering, and the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Winner of the Dinkelspiel and Lyman Awards, Stanford's highest accolades, Adams has also held many teaching awards bestowed by the University.
“Good Products, Bad Products” is the name of the course Adams originated 25 years ago. It has consistently pulled in students of management, engineering, design, and marketing, as well as practicing business professionals. GOOD PRODUCTS, BAD PRODUCTS: Essential Elements to Achieving Superior Quality (McGraw-Hill; January 15, 2012), argues that improving product quality is a universal win. Better products have the power to benefit brands, the economy, and the profile of The United States manufacturing sector. They can also improve the quality of our lives, and done right, a good product can also be environmentally-minded. Essential aspects of overall quality are often ignored during the design and manufacture of products; Adams offers reasons for this and prescribes remedies to the situation.
A quality product combines design, craftsmanship, aesthetic appeal, reasonable cost, excellent performance, and is a good fit with humans - ergonomically, emotionally, and culturally. Products may be inexpensive to create and purchase, but impractical to repair. If customers are frustrated, brands suffer. Customers, craving quality, will take their buying power elsewhere – and in many cases, to other parts of the world.
Creating products that are inexpensive and have a short shelf life, produce profound levels of dangerous toxins, or have some other level of dysfunction, will eventually harm your your bottom line, contends Adams. Some products have inherently poor design; Adams points out that many products in the traditional Western bathrooms are poorly designed for the human body and cleanliness!
Improving product quality is a universal win above and beyond the consumers and their bank accounts. Producers, users, individuals, groups, organizations, nations, and the ecosphere all benefit when products are designed and built to last. Growing and developing populations must also look to the finite nature of resources that will eventually disappear in the face of low-cost throw-away materialism.
GOOD PRODUCTS, BAD PRODUCTS is a provocative call to action: improving the quality of products will improve our business, our economy, and our quality of life. “Better quality is good,” writes Adams.
About the Author:
James L. Adams is author of one of the seminal books on creative innovation, Conceptual Blockbusting, now in its fourth edition. After receiving his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with an Art Minor from Stanford, and before joining the faculty, Adams worked as a designer, engineer, and manager in the petroleum, automobile, and aerospace industries. At Stanford his teaching has been the areas of mechanical engineering, product design, creativity, innovation, and organizational behavior. He has been a department chair, headed programs and committees, served as both Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean for Special Projects of the Stanford School of Engineering, consulted and given talks on design, creativity and change to over 100 companies and large numbers of non-profit groups, and been involved in many executive programs.
GOOD PRODUCTS, BAD PRODUCTS
Essential Elements to Achieving Superior Quality
Author: James L. Adams
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212.512.3578 or email@example.com
PRAISE FOR GOOD PRODUCTS, BAD PRODUCTS
“Jim Adams is a gift. Here, this master teacher shares his special wisdom:
How to create that magical experience of a product we love. His timeless, inspired message could not be more timely.” Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, & co-author of Built to Last and Great by Choice
“This is a book only a legend like
Jim Adams could write. Based on a very popular course Jim taught at Stanford
for many years, it should be required reading for every engineering student
interested in designing great products. Great products lead to great companies
that change the world. Every aspiring engineer wants to have an impact and this
book will absolutely help. Read it!”
—James D. Plummer, Dean, School of Engineering, Stanford University
“Drawing on fifty years of
engineering experience, ranging from car design to rocket science, Stanford
professor Jim Adams takes us on an engaging and eclectic journey through the
evolution of what makes good products tick. With the same irrepressible
curiosity Adams displayed in Conceptual
Blockbusting, he shares insights into the underlying characteristics
that separate products into the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
—Tom Kelley, General Manager, IDEO, and author of The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation
“Adams has a high-level and
holistic view of the design of everyday things and the issues confronting those
who develop them. If you design things, you will enjoy this book and benefit
from Jim’s wisdom and experience.”
—Bill Moggridge, Director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and author of Designing Interactions and Designing Media