Question: Why is it that companies with billions of dollars who can hire any designer or design firm in the world put out such crappy products?
Answer: Excellent products require more then just a good designer or a good design agency—they require humanistic and cultural vision, courage and discipline in execution. There are two reasons why crappy products are so common: first, most “companies with billions of dollars” don’t want to charter new ways because they are in a defensive setting in order to defend their existing business—and when the billions and the business are gone, it’s too late for change. Second, big companies normally have neither the people nor the processes to innovate and there are no real rewards for taking the risks and efforts required in the endeavor for excellent products. In my career, SONY under Akio Morita was the only big company which rejected the common addiction to mediocrity and went for world-changing innovations. Now they are stuck as well….
From a conversation between Guy Kawasaki and Hartmut Esslinger: http://blogs.openforum.com/2009/04/14/the-inside-scoop-on-design-hartmut-esslinger/