Editor’s note: Joe Magno is Executive Director, the North Carolina Center of Innovation Network, which is a partner with WRAL TechWire.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Creativity and design are part of everything that we do and critical to the success of any scientific or technical breakthrough. Designing a new molecule, medical device, bridge, electrical appliance, and even a shoe requires the application of design thinking and creativity.

According to the Industrial Designers Society of America “the optimization of function, value, and appearance to the end user” are crucial to the success of any product. Just think Apple and how the thoughtful design, integration of function, and creativity changed our lives and the world as we knew it.

To get a better notion and understanding of design thinking we spoke with Michael Laut, the founder and creative director of Laut Design, a quiet little company located in Raleigh, NC that has been advising and helping both small local and global Fortune 50 companies accelerate their creative process by applying experienced design thinking concepts for more than a decade.

Laut Design operates in a space where art meets engineering, fusing creative design knowledge with technical know-how. Their studio is unique among design firms in that all developmental sketches, CAD modeling, prototyping, brand development, and even short run manufacturing, is done under one roof at their downtown Raleigh studio.  Their small in-house creative team draws its expertise in physical, digital, and theoretical design from formal education and hands-on experience. Michael and many of Laut’s team members graduated from NCSU.

When asked Michael provides a clear and concise overview of their creative process which he states comes from the variety of clients they have served in a broad array of industries from defense, medical, food and beverage, and outdoor sporting goods, and consumer electronics. They purposely do not specialize in any one individual industry and use this process.

Here’s a graphical representation of the process:

If you have a chance to visit their studio, you will see a unique space custom-designed to handle most any size and type of project, and even equipment that’s been custom-built for the purpose. The dynamic nature of their work coupled with ever-changing design trends creates an atmosphere of constant creativity.  The designers who work there are well versed in many processes such as welding, plasma cutting, and other metalworking, carpentry and millwork, 3D printing, machining, mold making, paint & finishing, and a variety of other processes and are happy and friendly.

You can visit their website at www.lautdesign.com for more information or schedule a visit. It’s fun!

(C) Joe Magno