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Jim Taylor on Inspiring Creativity

Cadillac’s Jim Taylor on why design is more important than functionality.

Question: How do you inspire creativity?Taylor:    Well, in our case, I’d say that’s one of the most important subjects that we have to manage because in a car business, again, I’ll come back to what we saw much of what people used to evaluate vehicles on and, you know, [AB analysis] and come down to their [decision] — quality.  Quality has become pretty much gone away, there’s a perception gap on who has it and who doesn’t but if you get into the real [IB] and the real measured quality, by a large almost identical, you know, ride, fit, finish, you know, paint quality, [IB] the mechanical attributes of a vehicle that historically and you know, to be totally honest, the US industry did have a significant gap to the Japanese and to the Europeans, that’s pretty much gone and they would admit it too.  So now, what you’re judging on is… is, a lot of case, of course, value and price still matters but [IB] and it is the design and it’s almost like the clothing industry now where whether you like it or not like it and it’s going to look like something that fits you, something that you’d like to wear, something you like to be seen in, you know, what’s up to date?  What’s current?  And so that, design creativity is really our top priority and making sure that the people we have in our design staff, in our studios that are working on Cadillacs are really highly motivated and really have maximum opportunity for creativity and are really let loose to run and have to be brought back [IB] so that’s probably the primary focus a lot of time in a creativity space is ensuring that our designers have got the freedom to go and there’s a lot of products in the market now that exemplified that and my favorite is iPod but you look at that design of the iTouch, as iPhones, iPods, you know, it’s the best example, I think in the industry, any industry of where design wins out over functionality and it delivers too but you got to make sure it does both but really consumer choice and even paying a premium [IB] down to the design.  So creativity is very very critical in that space.

Question: How do you inspire creativity?Taylor:    Well, in our case, I’d say that’s one of the most important subjects that we have to manage because in a car business, again, I’ll come back to what we saw much of what people used to evaluate vehicles on and, you know, [AB analysis] and come down to their [decision] — quality.  Quality has become pretty much gone away, there’s a perception gap on who has it and who doesn’t but if you get into the real [IB] and the real measured quality, by a large almost identical, you know, ride, fit, finish, you know, paint quality, [IB] the mechanical attributes of a vehicle that historically and you know, to be totally honest, the US industry did have a significant gap to the Japanese and to the Europeans, that’s pretty much gone and they would admit it too.  So now, what you’re judging on is… is, a lot of case, of course, value and price still matters but [IB] and it is the design and it’s almost like the clothing industry now where whether you like it or not like it and it’s going to look like something that fits you, something that you’d like to wear, something you like to be seen in, you know, what’s up to date?  What’s current?  And so that, design creativity is really our top priority and making sure that the people we have in our design staff, in our studios that are working on Cadillacs are really highly motivated and really have maximum opportunity for creativity and are really let loose to run and have to be brought back [IB] so that’s probably the primary focus a lot of time in a creativity space is ensuring that our designers have got the freedom to go and there’s a lot of products in the market now that exemplified that and my favorite is iPod but you look at that design of the iTouch, as iPhones, iPods, you know, it’s the best example, I think in the industry, any industry of where design wins out over functionality and it delivers too but you got to make sure it does both but really consumer choice and even paying a premium [IB] down to the design.  So creativity is very very critical in that space.

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