Every designer dreams of creating something more – something so great that people crave it, long for it, must have it.  Marketers call it “a must have”, “compelling”, or “insanely great”.  But most of the rest of us just call it Cool.

Over the past several decades, Cool has evolved into a marketing imperative: an overarching requirement for many designs. Companies spend billions organizing and reorganizing to cultivate “innovation” so they can reliably create it. And a new generation, with vastly different expectations on Cool design, is coming of age as consumers and workers. But Cool is hard to pin down – there’s no accepted way to define it, measure it, or design for it. Like glamour, it is an ineffable yet powerful quality that depends on a host of subtle factors.

This course presents a set of core attributes that make products and applications Cool. These design attributes emerged from an extensive cross-generational contextual research project understanding how people from 15 to 60 experience “cool” and its relationship to value and impact on their lives.

We first present core Cool concepts based on the research, using real product and service examples to illustrate and illuminate the material.  We include the application of cool concepts to productivity business applications. Attendees participate in an exercise to evaluate the products they use, own and/or are designing to how Cool attributes apply and affect them. We end with an analysis of what it takes for an organization to develop and ship game-changing products revealing the real effort required to create cool products. We look at the problems organizations face in creating Cool, and discuss the challenges inherent in large organizations as they attempt to move toward a more innovative culture.