We, as humans and entrepreneurial spirits, are inspired by beautiful design even when we are unaware that we are being inspired. Whether created by nature or by the hands of Homo sapiens, beautiful objects elicit a certain something -- a deep breath, a fleeting moment of pleasure. It's a serenity that can and often does lead to a minute or two of contemplation and perhaps a burst of creativity. And all of that leads to the force that drives entrepreneurial endeavors: innovation.
Good design incites emotion. It can grab you and shake you and change you. Even when it comes to something as simple as your workspace: You design your environment, and how you do so says as much about you, your passion, commitment and leadership style as it does about your company culture.
The corner office has lost its allure. It's tainted. It's dated. It's … old-school. It's what bankers and old people strive for. Entrepreneurs don't want a corner office; they want a collaborative office. Your ability to step out of the cubicle-vs.-corner-office mentality is key to making the tactical leap to a culture of teamwork, transparency and creativity. Thanks to precedents set by Google, Yahoo and other Silicon Valley notables, your workspace needs to be as much a part of your brand and valuation -- and, even more important, your appeal to the brightest young workers -- as your logo. It's a crucial part of the culture you are creating and the message you send to the market.
In this issue we celebrate design -- everything from the cool items that add beauty and make your life easier to today's fashion-forward (and business-forward) offices. Cities are designs, too. We look at the places that foster the best environment for your business, based on your niche. We also check out the changing business model of design as practiced by Fuseproject in its innovative ventures with technology startups. We sat down with the design studio's leader, Yves Béhar, who imagines iconic products that are so simple to use, so aesthetically pleasing, so pared-down and sleek that they feel like they've always been with us, and we can't imagine life without them. And isn't that one of the hallmarks of great design -- and great business?