American products are considered the most innovative, despite fierce competition from Europe and Asia. Because of its daring culture, Corporate America’s product concepts (real undertakings – not just imaginative drawings) always seem to be pushing the limits of design the most.
This is not to say other design cultures are not ambitious, but just that in America, there is a more supportive and rewarding environment for people to “go big or go home”. The effect of this is not surprising: more people trying means more success stories (and of course failures). In America, however, there is less stigma for failing. People fail, recover, try again, and increase their odds of succeeding over their lifetime. This is something you cannot easily do in say the Asian cultures, where it is generally a shame to fail, and if you do recover, people think you should be thankful and not be dumb enough to try something risky again.
All of you know the story of Steve Jobs and Apple, so I don’t have to illustrate how being in America (and especially in the Silicon Valley) had a big thing to do with how he was able to come back bigger than ever after being forced out of his own company.
Another unique attribute of American designers is their tremendous ability to understand abstract concepts and apply knowledge from one domain to another. A good example of such designers are Charles and Ray Eames. The couple together have created extra-ordinary work in each of these highly-regarded fields: architecture, furniture & product design, film, graphics design, painting, textile design, and photography.
American products do face some challenges though. They are generally not known to be good at being cost-efficient; thus, they lose out to copycats who can make them faster and cheaper with 90% of the same design. Second, American products are often designed with only the American households in mind. For example, a lot of American products are not “compact” enough for Asian homes. Lastly, due to the influence of disposable culture, a lot of American products are not made to be as long-lasting as they should be.