At the heart of elegant design is creating products that functionally excel and that exceed existing expectations, while removing as many superfluous features as possible. Removal of functionality is in most cases more critical than adding functionality. This type of elegance requires the input of a designer who understands how the functionality of a design may conflict with the preconceived notions what stakeholders think that they want.
Preconceived notion: Smartphones must have physical keyboards
This was a value judgement that physical keyboards add more value to a device (and conversely, than a smaller available screen area takes away less value).
Elegant design is about the user actually feeling a positive emotional response to a design, not the user thinking about what they should be feeling.
Initial emotional reaction: Wow, the Boeing Joint Strike Fighter is ugly!
Regardless of functionality and capability, it is very difficult for us, as humans, to get past a negative initial emotional reaction.
Elegant design is currently not assessed or measured in the conventional system development process.
Unforeseen consequences: We need to make next year's *Civic cheaper, so let's go with a less complicated suspension.
Traditional design trades focus on conventional, easily measured metrics, such as cost, performance, mass, etc. However, easily measured metrics have a difficult time conveying the fact that the redesigned car will "feel" different.