Design the Designless
OXO Good Grips are often cited as examples of insightful design. Having worked with someone who helped design them, it seems to me a case of someone actually designing, rather than just cobbling together the same old thing. OXO's a great example to use when explaining the design process and its benefits because the improvement is so obvious. But the lack of any design thought in the previous product design is also obvious. I don't mean to detract from the Good Grips design - it's wonderful - but the traditional bent-metal thingies were practically designed to hurt the hand.
I'd like to think the impetus behind the design was much more sophisticated, that OXO also nailed the market and the timing, introducing better, more expensive kitchen tools just when the market was ready to spend on them, but apparently the origin was simply ergonomic; someone's wife had arthritis.