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Innovation in aviation

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Seymourpowell’s Head of Transport, Jeremy White, recently delivered a keynote presentation at The Cabin Innovation & Strategies for the Future conference, part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in …

Seymourpowell’s Head of Transport, Jeremy White, recently delivered a keynote presentation at The Cabin Innovation & Strategies for the Future conference, part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. In his speech Jeremy addressed the future expectations and trends shaping the consumers of tomorrow.
Jeremy along with Seymourpowell researcher Chloe Amos- Edkins (pictured above) have had a presence at several airline conferences this year including the Business Jet Interiors conference in Cannes and the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. In this thought piece Chloe Amos-Edkins reflects on the opportunities for innovation in the Airline industry

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  • 1. Opportunities forinnovation in theAirline Industry
  • 2. The consumers oftomorrow... There is a tension between selling a creative dream and the reality of what can be delivered within the strictures of modern aviation certification... . Chloe Amos-Edkins, design researcher at SeymourpowellSeymourpowell’s Head of Transport, Jeremy White, recently There is a sense of frustration brewing in the aircraft industry.delivered a keynote presentation at The Cabin Innovation & The combined effect of strict certification processes, increasingStrategies for the Future conference, part of the Aircraft Interiors passenger numbers, greater industry competition and a hardExpo in Hamburg. In his speech Jeremy addressed the future push towards standardisation is paralysing innovation within theexpectations and trends shaping the consumers of tomorrow. industry.Jeremy along with Seymourpowell researcher Chloe Amos- Within the private business jet industry there is a tensionEdkins (pictured above) have had a presence at several airline between selling a creative dream and the reality of what can beconferences this year including the Business Jet Interiors delivered within the strictures of modern aviation certification.conference in Cannes and the Aircraft Interiors Expo in The ability to sell a viable creative vision is fundamentallyHamburg. In this thought piece Chloe Amos-Edkins reflects on important for the private jet industry, where an individual expectsthe opportunities for innovation in the Airline industry… to buy his or her dream, rather than just a practical means of transport. The potential to disappoint is vast – but derogationConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved.
  • 3. allows room for a greater level of innovation. However in an expectations have been shaped by their experiences in otherincreasingly litigious and risk averse society, the regulations on areas of their life. When a passenger gets into an airplane,commercial aircraft are only becoming more stringent. We noted their last point of reference is their car – an air conditioned,a sense of resigned pessimism among delegates, frustrated by keyless, GPS enabled, digitally connected, ergonomic oasis…the lack of potential development in the future. by comparison even the most advanced aircraft will seem like a step back in time. Development times for new aircrafts play a huge part in this lag. The current Airbus A380 would have been conceived 10 years ago or more – and we‘ve all seen how far technology has come since then. The current industry direction for increasing aircraft production speed is through large scale manufacturing standardization. This sort of standardisation would allow more planes to be delivered more quickly and reduce development times and costs, but the cries from the delegates at the Aircraft Interiors Expo were, “But what about differentiation?” If your car is running low on petrol, you don’t care what brand of gas-station you pull into... As Sven Achilles, of B/E Aero Space eloquently pointed out; “If your car is running low on petrol, you don’t care what brand of gas station you pull into”. In general, people don’t care what brand of airline they fly with; they just go with the cheapest option. Flights have become a commodity. This is most obvious when you compare the difference between the various airlines’As a blink test, aircraft interiors have not evolved since the economy offerings. You get a seat, you get a fold out table1960s, whilst the steps taken in the automotive industry during and you get a meal. There is very little to tell them apart. If thethe same period have been massive. The problem is that industry is to accept the need for standardisation, differentiationpassenger expectations are continuing to develop and their cannot be delivered solely through the aircraft interior – theConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved.
  • 4. ‘product’ itself. In this scenario differentiation must be achieved At Seymourpowell we believe designers perform an importantthrough service innovation and a tailored and consistent brand role. We can provide a vision for the future that companies canmessage. begin to work towards. Having a long-term objective means that the process can move from a reactive one to a proactive one. It means we can start to understand the smaller steps needed to reach that goal and begin to prepare for the future.Successful brands will offer services beyond just the flightitself – engaging the consumer from the moment they book aticket right through to long after the plane has landed. The keyto innovation in this instance is the ability to understand thecustomer and then develop effective and relevant solutions tomake their overall brand experience a memorable and positiveone. As Jeremy White, Seymourpowell’s Head of Transport, said in his speech, “If you don’t push the boundaries then you willHowever there is a sense that airlines don’t want to differentiate always end up doing the same thing. If you don’t take risks, thenon service alone, they also want to offer a unique product. In there is a good chance you’ll be scrambling to keep up with thethis case, for airlines to truly innovate, they need to take a much competitors who have.” Sometimes you have to float an idea…longer term approach to design to deliver real development say, ‘why not?’ instead of, ‘why?’… ‘what if?’ instead of, ‘how?’.within the industry. Seymourpowell co-founder and Design Director, Richard Seymour has a name for this – he calls it, “Optimistic Futurism” and points out, “Designers cannot be, by definition, pessimists. It just doesn’t go with the job. We’re supposed to be defining the future, aren’t we? If we can’t see the world as a better place to live in, then what chance does anyone else have?”If you don’t push the To find out more please contact: chloe.amos-edkins@ seymourpowell.comboundaries then you willalways end up doing thesame thing...Confidential. © Seymour Powell Limited,2012. All rights reserved.

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