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By: Shari Bronson

Most products can be seen as a commodity, part of the pack, until something comes and catapults it from the chorus line and makes it a star. More often than not, that “something” is good design. Where functionality and aesthetics meet. Spend some time at the Cooper-Hewitt museum which is dedicated to historic and contemporary design and you’ll know what I mean (91st St/5th Avenue, but currently undergoing renovations). Kitchen gadgets were boring and utilitarian until OXO decided they didn’t have to be. Same thing with Alessi. Soap was a low-interest categories until Method came on the scene and shook things up. That’s why I find the news that PepsiCo has created the role of  Chief Design Officer intriguing. Not just because they hired Mauro Porcini, formerly 3M’s design guru, but because I’m curious to see how design can help PepsiCo shake up the category.