Charles R. Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi consider the visionary Jony Ive and who might next offer a compelling future for product design.
Jony Ive, the former chief product architect and designer at Apple, is famous for transforming computer and electronic product designs from bland and simply-functional, to compelling. His designs included the iMac, the iPad, and the iPhone. The world now needs a wide range of healthy design products that protect us while also being aesthetically pleasing and non-intrusive. Hence the question becomes who will become the new Jony Ive?
This new “Ive” will perhaps:
- Design new touchless bathroom fixtures for Kohler and Delta Faucet to minimize germ spread
- Design new touchless doors at Assa Abloy to minimize germ spread
- Design new disinfecting ultraviolet light fixtures and cleaning equipment that reduces health risks
- Design new seating and dividers for airplanes and large events that create increased separation for social distancing
- Create restaurant interiors that meet social distancing requirements but retain the ambiance
- Re-engineer manufacturing facilities to integrate Lean Manufacturing, Automation and Distancing process improvements
Technological advances, such as developing new and improved public health-centric products, can be supported by R&D tax credits.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:
- Must be technological in nature
- Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
- Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
- Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives
Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.
On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit has been used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax for companies with revenue below $50MM, and startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in cash rebates applied directly toward payroll taxes.
Healthy design is fast becoming a major new design category. 3D printing has a major role to play in this important new design sector if we want to re-open bigger and better than before.