Best and Worst Designs of the Decade

12/06/2011 09:25 pm ET | Updated Feb 05, 2012

Once in a blue moon, an innovative product is created that redefines our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. A product that offers a mental paradigm shift and resolves a technical contradiction. The product enables progress and profit, as well as destroying older ways of thinking and product use in its wake. Which product has provided this level of innovativeness this past decade?

We challenged over 35,000 creative people, selected from a collection of online creative social media groups, to suggest the top innovative products. By crowd sourcing and leveraging the wisdom of a creative professional community, we hoped to stimulate and collect a wide range of insightful answers.

The members comments as to who made the top of the list, ranged from the iPhone, E-readers, Hybrid Cars to Massive Multi-players and Online Role Playing Games, and, at the other end Sub-Prime Loans & Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Not surprisingly, the two top suggestions for best and worst innovative products were the iPhone and the Sub-Prime Loans & Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

The iPhone was most mentioned as the product that shaped our world for good within the last decade by simplifying multiple everyday tasks, introducing new relevant functionalities and making our lives a lot easier. By leveraging our familiarity with clicking icons, it provided us with a natural and easy interface to find contacts, connect with people, to entertain ourselves, get directions and to photograph our experiences. The iPhone was created within a sustainable business model, providing an ocean of services to everyone though a huge, diverse system of service provider's accessories and apps. It also killed-off old ways of thinking about smart phones and rendered obsolete a wide range of companies with outdated technologies, however, the sum total was profitable progress.

The Sub-Prime Loans & Adjustable Rate Mortgages, on the other hand, were mentioned as an innovative product that brought our economy to its knees. This product offered expensive housing at low monthly cost to people with little earning power. Based on the flawed assumption that property prices could only go in an upward direction and that any risk of default could be mitigated through leveraged distribution within the financial network, this innovation was voted as the worst for it's flawed, shortsighted paradigm and unsustainable financial technology.

All innovative design results in creative destruction and a positive and negative net effect on various stakeholders, even if the resulting sum is sustainable and beneficial. However, with thirty-five to forty per cent of all new products failing in the marketplace, as always, it is important to do your homework, think holistically and test your assumptions regularly throughout the development process to make sure you can handle the risk.