ISSUE 01AUTUMN 2011 The cultural zeitgeist starts here... Seymourpowell report back from the Milan Furniture Fair
MAKING THINGS 1 INTRODUCTION Who we are.BETTER FOR 2 EVENTS AND COLLABORATIONS What’s been driving us.PEOPLE, BETTER 3 RECENT LAUNCHES What we’ve been up to.FOR BUSINESS, 4 ARTICLES What we think.AND BETTER 5 OUR GLOBAL FOOTPRINT What we’ve seen. 6 OUT AND ABOUTFOR THE WORLD Where we’ve been.MISSION STATEMENTSeymourpowell
INTRODUCTION We’ve had a key presence at OVER THE LAST several conferences this yearQUARTER WE HAVE including Wired magazine’sWELCOMED SOME inaugural conference - Wired 2011, World Innovation Convention, NEW FACES TO TEDSalon, TEDXOxbridge, PACESEYMOURPOWELL - the Packaging and Converting Executive Forum and the INCLUDING: Economist UK Energy Summit. KEVIN JOHNSON We hosted a trends talk at Creative Director the London Design Museum where Mariel Brown and PAUL FOULKES-ARELLANO Karen Rosenkranz from our Client Services Director Research,Trends and Strategy team took a wide-angle look at the highlights of the Milan Fair 2011. VERONICA HILL Studio and People Manager We were proud to unveil a special exhibition at the V&A to celebrate over a year of collaboration between Seymourpowell and the V&A schools team. The V&A Schools team partnered up with Seymourpowell last year to devise ‘Design Pro’, a workshop that introduced professional design practice in the area of product design taking inspiration from the V&A collections. If you have any questions or More recently we teamed up comments about anything in with the D&T Association to lead the newsletter please contact: a campaign to promote Design and Technology education. The Nichola Rinks - New Business campaign film included email@example.com from Sir Paul Smith, Sir James Tim Duncan - PR Dyson, Sir John Rose, David Kester firstname.lastname@example.org and Deyan Sudjic.
IDEAS WORTHSPREADING TED is a non- TED conferences offer free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most “The greatest thing about TED for me is meeting the OTHER profit organisation inspired thinkers, and also a community TEDsters. Enquiring minds, devoted to ‘Ideas for curious souls to engage with ideas most at the absolute top of their and each other. game. It’s a banquet of brilliance... Worth Spreading’ give me more!” On Wednesday 18th May at the Unicorn that believes Theatre, London, Richard Seymour took passionately in the to the stage at the Spring TED Salon. RICHARD SEYMOUR Speaking on the subject of intrinsic Co-Founder, Seymourpowell power of ideas to and extrinsic beauty, Richard touched change attitudes, on the complex system of ideas that hit our brain before cognition, discussedlives and ultimately, the millisecond first-impression, and the world. explored how a designer can approach this challenge. Richard’s talk is available to watch on TED.com: http://bit.ly/pnYcIB Richard Seymour also delivered a talk at TEDxOxbridge at Saïd Business School, Oxford University on 4th June. As a collaboration between Oxford’s Saïd Business School and Cambridge’s Judge Business School, TEDxOxbridge attempts to unpack business in the 21st Century to reveal new realms of possibility and deeper connections for societal transformation through the conduct of “Business as Unusual”.
SEYMOURPOWELLAND THE V&AIn 2010 Seymourpowell announced a newpartnership with the V&A Schools team,bringing their expertise and cutting-edgedesign knowledge to the 2010 - 2011academic programme. The collaborationbetween Seymourpowell and one of theworld’s greatest museums of art and designhelped give students and teachers accessto a unique perspective on design throughspecially devised workshops and events,aimed at inspiring a new generation ofworld-class designers.The V&A Schools programme for David Fisher, Design DirectorSecondary Design & Technology at Seymourpowell, commented:students and teachers, DesignLab, “My attitude to design throughprovides inspirational and innovative the work I do at Seymourpowelllearning through real-life insights into is to approach problems as broadlythe creative industries. During 2010 as possible (through research and-11 this was provided by testing ideas), then narrow down To celebrate over a year of collaboration betweenSeymourpowell, who share the V&A’s as quickly as possible (by prioritising Seymourpowell and the V&A, a special exhibitiondesire to inspire and excite students the key issues) – to find answers was created in the museum’s Sackler Centre.and teachers of Design & Technology in the most objective way I can. The exhibition showcased work from thein fresh and unique ways. It’s a process, and one that I think V&A ‘DesignPro’ project, from both pupilsThe sessions challenged students to we should share with young people and members of the Seymourpowell team assolve a design brief through methods to show ways of solving problems, well as video content from past workshopsused by Seymourpowell designers not just for design, but for all and interviews with Seymourpowell.in their day-to-day practice. aspects of business.”This included techniques suchas ethnographic studies, productanalysis, trend-forecasting and3-D prototyping. Images courtesy of: V&A
1 2 3 CREATIVE BRITAIN IN REVERSE? Business leaders unite to promote Design and Technology education as key to the future of Creative Britain. Seymourpowell, in partnership currently being undertaken, and its Those taking part in the with the Design and Technology potential impact on D&T teaching campaign film included:4 5 6 Association and the James Dyson – many fear the subject could 1 IAN CALLUM Foundation, recently launched a potentially be removed as a Design Director, Jaguar campaign film to promote the compulsory subject for all pupils 2 DICK POWELL importance of Design and Technology from age 5 to 14. Also discussed Co-Founder and Design education, featuring contributions by the panel was the impact of cuts Director, Seymourpowell from leading figures from across in higher education for non-STEM 3 DAVID KESTER business and industry. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Chief Executive, Maths) subjects from across the Design Council The film promotes the importance of creative sector. Another issue raised Design and Technology education in 4 SIR JAMES DYSON was the English Baccalaureate and Britain’s schools and universities, its Founder, Dyson and the view held by many in the creative contribution to successful business, James Dyson Foundation and manufacturing industries that and its fundamental role in supporting 5 DEYAN SUDJIC it is already skewing the curriculum the UK Economy. Design Museum Director in many schools away from creative 6 SIR JOHN ROSE The film launch followed on from a and technical subjects towards Former Chief Executive special event on the same subject, traditional, academic subjects. of Rolls-Royce which was held on Tuesday 12th Speaking at the event, Dick Powell 7 RICHARD SEYMOUR July at the Institution of Mechanical stated that: “The soft introduction7 8 9 Co-Founder and Design Director, Engineers in Westminster. of the EBac is another blow on the Seymourpowell On a panel chaired by Design wedge that is being driven into the 8 SIR PAUL SMITH Museum Director Deyan Sudjic, UK’s education system, conceived Fashion Designer speakers at the event included: to split out traditional academic 9 PAUL JACKSON subjects as somehow more worthy Chief Executive, Engineering UK - Dame Ellen MacArthur and important for our children - - Dick Powell a view incidentally held by many - Ajaz Ahmed (Founder, AKQA) teachers, too often institutionalised - Paul Jackson (EngineeringUK) academics themselves. If this move - Mandy Haberman (Inventor) isn’t stopped in its tracks, we will To watch the campaign film, visit our Key topic areas discussed by see the almost complete dislocation YouTube channel at the following link: the panel at the event included of theory from practise and a return http://youtu.be/FAZ24bukRpU the National Curriculum review, to 1950’s education values.
People forget that the UK has In seeking to review the school a world class creative industries curriculum and evaluate the English sector which, last time it was Baccalaureate, there is a serious measured in 2007, accounted for and growing risk that they will throw 4.5% of national exports totalling the innovation baby out with the £16.6 billion and employing some educational bathwater.” 2m people. Between 1997 and The D&T Association have since 2008, the sector grew an average taken the campaign to the House of 2% per annum, compared to of Commons where a group chaired 1% per annum for the economy by Sir Kevin Tebbit, Chairman of as a whole. The big percentage Finmeccanica UK plans to make of people in those industries will the case for the retention of Design have studied Art and/or Design and Technology to the Department and Techology in addition to of Education and enlist the support academic studies and, thanks to of businesses across the UK. that, would have gone into higher education to continue their studiesFor more information on how in a creative subject. On the oneto support the campaign, please visit: hand, government talks of ‘creative’http://www.believeindandt.org.uk/ Britain and the ‘innovation’ imperative, while on the other handTo listen to a recording of the panel it is considering the emasculationdiscusssion, visit our YouTube please visit: of the very system which made ithttp://bit.ly/qKj0F5 possible and is required to sustain it.
SEYMOURPOWELL AT LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL 2011 In collaboration with This collaboration made up part of a programme entitled Ideas curatorial collective Generator, an interactive set of The Concept Lounge, events including workshops, discussions and practical sessions Seymourpowell ran a on 20, 21 and 22 September. series of workshops During each workshop, members at the London Design of the Seymourpowell team and talented new designers imagined Festival 2011 at the a future where reality has changed. Gallery in Redchurch Seymourpowell used their distinctive research and design process to“I would like to thank you for Street, E2. explore the implications andhosting such a highly creativeevent, and giving designers from possibility of a future where energyother industries and students consumption was strictly rationed.such as myself the opportunity Included in each session was anto get involved in the Seymourpowell introduction to the Seymourpowelldesign process. It was very useful design process and practicalfor me and there was a lot that sessions on trends, ethnography,I could take away from it. It also ideas generation and conceptserved as a good platform to development. On Friday 23rdmeet various people in the design September, visitors to The Conceptindustry”. Lounge were able to view someASHWIN THIRUMURTHY of the best work from the threeDesigner workshops.“Just a quick note to say how much The workshops were featured inI enjoyed the Ideas Generator the Icon Design Trail guide 2011,workshop with Seymourpowell. a highly influential guide, featuringThere were some great ideas and only the best events and showsI was able to take away one or for London Design Festival:two things regarding process that http://bit.ly/psRvs0I will be using in my own work. Visit this link to see photo highlightsMy thanks for a great evening”. from the workshop sessions:PETER WONG http://bit.ly/pniVnpProduct development engineer
MILAN IN PERSPECTIVE On Wed 20th April, Seymourpowell hosted a media event, ‘Milan in Perspective’ at the Design Museum, London’s museum of international and contemporary design in Shad Thames. Following the success of their 2010 Milan report, Seymourpowell were keen to step it up a notch and create an event around their findings from this years’ trip. The result, ‘Milan in Perspective’ - a talk hosted by Mariel Brown and Karen Rosenkranz from Seymourpowell’s Research, Trends and Strategy team. Karen and Mariel took a wide-angle look at the highlights of Milan 2011 to explore the broader relationships between cutting-edge design and the cultural trends which surround them. Covering themes as diverse as new mythology, sense and tactility, restrained luxury and choreographed creation, the event offered a unique and insightful perspective on this year’s fair. As a result, the report was featured in top design publications including FX, Newdesign, Designer“For designers and trend researchers alike, and Commercial Interior Designer, For more information aboutall roads lead to Milan. A lighthouse which as well as numerous influential Seymourpowell’s trends design blogs.illuminates the future of design, Milan is both offering, please contact: Mariel Browngeographically and aesthetically the centre email@example.com the emerging design universe; the cultural For a copy of the Milan reportzeitgeist starts here first” with image library please contact: Tim DuncanRichard Seymour firstname.lastname@example.org
For designers andtrend researchers alike -all roads lead to Milan
doing at Seymourpowell - taking a genuinely of the handset. We also worked closely withNEW HANDSET DESIGN innovative technology and embodying it in a CyDen’s engineering team to deliver the final product that meets the needs and desires of product to the market. Overall it was a great the user as well as of the business. We spent team effort and rewarding to work on suchFOR SMOOTH SKIN PLUS a lot of time trying to understand how users a genuinely useful product that delivers on interacted with the previous generation product its promise in an intuitive and elegant way”. by carrying out ethnographic research that As a result of the in-depth ethnographic uncovered key insights. research carried out by Seymourpowell’s These insights allowed us to develop the next design team of the first generation ‘SmoothSeymourpowell is pleased to generation product with fundamental ergonomic improvements. We spent a lot of time in our Skin’ device, the new ‘Smooth Skin PLUS’ unit is fundamentally more ergonomic thanannounce details of its design workshop developing and refining prototypes the original first generation device.work for CyDen iPulse on thenew Smooth Skin PLUS currentlyretailing in Boots stores nationwide.Seymourpowell has designed a new handset for The main objective of the brief was tothe ‘Smooth Skin PLUS’ from Cyden iPulse, the explore insights relating to how consumerspermanent body hair reduction system (retails used the first generation iPulse device as aexclusively through Boots, as ‘Boots Smooth permanent hair reduction system. AnotherSkin PLUS’). Seymourpowell worked with the element was to explore the world of lightteam at CyDen Ltd, a British beauty and health based therapy for skin in the salon/ spacompany specialising in the application of light context, to uncover insights that couldin-home beauty treatments that developed inform and inspire the new product’s design.state of the art iPulse technology, to design the Seymourpowell considered factors such ashandset and help refine the base unit. ergonomics, storage, the length of the cable, buttons, lighting, volume and navigation on theSeymourpowell was tasked with creating a new interface, value and general consumer appeal.generation light therapy product for hair removal, Seymourpowell wanted to ensure that the newbased on the first generation technology, to design was perceived as a premium beautylaunch in Boots. The aim was to further drive the device with visual language that evoked thecategory growth in light based hair removal by ideas of luxury, spas and pampering.inspiring ‘desire, confidence and ease of use’with the beauty-involved consumer. The device Matthew Cockerill, Associate Design Directorwas also to be positioned within the face care at Seymourpowell, explains the challenges andand body care categories, as a more premium results that the team faced during the designproduct than the first generation device. process: “This is the kind of project we love
SEYMOURPOWELL AND DUREXFROM PRODUCT TO PACKAGING...In May earlier this year,Seymourpowell announceddetails of its 2D and 3Ddesign for The Little Devil- the playful vibrator ringfor Durex ‘Play’. 1.The Little Devil is the very latest in a line ofdesigns for Durex ‘Play’ by Seymourpowell,marking a long-standing relationship with thebrand. Back in 2003, Durex approachedSeymourpowell to design a range of beautifulvibrators with high design values for the ‘Play’range that had to be alluring, safe, effective,reliable and tactile, as well as meet users’desires and expectations. Through the design 2.of Wand, Little Gem, and Charm (see oppositepage), Seymourpowell helped Durex carve outa sexual wellbeing category and destination forsex-related products in-store.As part of the brief for Little Devil, Seymourpowellwas tasked with designing a new playful vibratorring that complimented the existing Durex ‘Play’range, echoing a sense of accessibility, fun andpleasure for everybody. Sebastian Rusu, brand 1. WANDmanager at Durex added: “Little Devil is a great 3.innovation and a perfect addition to the Durex 2. LITTLE GEM‘Play’ range building up on the success of our 3. CHARMVibrating Ring. It’s a cheeky and playful adult toyfor moments when you really want to have fun, Seymourpowell continues to workadding more spice, variety and excitement into closely with Durex and hopes toyour sex life. We want to inspire our consumers develop more exciting additions forto improve their overall wellbeing, enjoy and love the Durex ‘Play’ range in the future.the sex they have, and Seymourpowell is a greatpartner to help us bring this mission to life.”
LIVE UP TO THE NEW STANDARDSeymourpowell is pleased to announcedetails of its design work on an advanceddomestic drinking water appliance forIsraeli company, Strauss WaterStrauss Water approached contained in a compact design “Baby Formula” feature, whichSeymourpowell back in 2009 to with a low carbon footprint. This allows the user to dispense water atdesign a premium domestic drinking technology allows water to be the recommended temperature inwater appliance, initially for the cooled to 6 degrees and heated the correct bottle volumes forChinese market, that would utilise up to 96 degrees rapidly. formula preparation.Strauss Water’s breakthrough In order to reduce the visual bulk of The additional “My Water” featurepurification technology. the product, Seymourpowell also allows other family membersSeymourpowell was tasked with reduced the amount of plastic to have fast access to theirimplementing Strauss Water’s unique at each side producing a ‘waist’ as preferred preset.gravity based filtration system, ‘the a reference to the filtering The “WaterMaker” can beHero’, into the heart of the unit with technology. The upper tank has plumbed-in directly from the mains,all the internal components fitted been left transparent in order to or water can be dispensed from aaround it. ‘The Hero’ is designed to highlight the water within the unit, localised tray situated at the top ofremove impurities whilst keeping with the control panel seemingly the device, which can be toppedhealthy minerals without the need floating from the tensioned infinity up when required.for ultra violet lamps. style top. The “WaterMaker” has beenTogether with Strauss engineers, Seymourpowell was also tasked successfully launched in 100 storesSeymourpowell developed an with creating the full user interface, in major cities across China. Theautomated tray, which ejects and which intuitively allows all family brand campaign carries the tag line:tilts to allow for the cartridge to members to dispense the exact ‘live up to the new standard’ whichbe loaded and replaced easily. volume and temperature of water alludes to the insight that until very that they require. Advanced setSeymourpowell had to design for recently, people had to compromise up functions offer completeStrauss Water’s advanced cooling on their drinking water solutions. customisation including a uniqueand heating technology to beSeymourpowell have developed a strong relationship withStrauss Water and will continue to work with them in the future
HOW GOOD DESIGNERS THINK... thinking about people as consumers to transform insights into inspiration. between functional silos as different is the best thing since sliced bread We all know that reallySIMON RUCKER immediately dehumanizes them and as supply chain, marketing and R&D. and saying, “I did that!”Associate Director at Seymourpowell HOW? good designers somehow makes it harder to empathize. ACTION: Secondly, they are good at Firstly, they have the ability to think differently about Secondly, good designers like visualize what has never been. As They Keep Going practical resolution. Bruce observing – really looking at what Nussbaum describes the problem new products from you people do rather than simply relying Bruce Nussbaum said in the same When good designers talk about thus, “Some of the smartest execs post, “Many firms are plagued by innovation, they mean (and I make and me. But just exactly on what they say they do. As Paul articulate and persuasive ‘smart no apologies for cribbing Lord get bogged down in the messy Smith once explained, when asked process of implementation.” But what does this difference where he got his ideas from: “You talkers’ who sound good in meetings Sainsbury’s much quoted definition), again, good designers’ ability to but get bogged down in abstract “the successful exploitation of new consist of? and I could walk down the street complexities.” Good designers are ideas”. They don’t stop with the ‘make it real’ can help resolve together and look at the same contradictions and find highest good at what I call inspirational invention. They turn their inspirations things, but I’d SEE ten times more common denominator compromises, tangibility, ‘making it real’, whether into reality. than you would.” helping the (innovation/marketing) it be by concretizing with a sketch HOW? process move forward. Thirdly, they bring expertise in other what would otherwise be abstract categories and industries to bear thoughts or so many post-its in a Firstly, in the case of a new Thirdly, good designers are good on problems in others. They pull meeting, enabling large amounts of product or service, it’s unlikely to at iterative prototyping, refining the together threads from different complex data to be understood and be successfully brought to market concept through repeated cycles functions, disciplines, fields, and absorbed quickly with a diagram, or unless it can be integrated into and getting feedback from the right sectors, and integrate them into a as Bruce describes it “quickly lashing and be supported by all the other people as they go. James Dyson new and (the dreaded word) “holistic” together a physical or digital mock- aspects of the marketing mix: famously made two thousand understanding. up” of a proposed solution. and if we’re talking new business prototypes of his bagless vacuum strategy, then good designers have cleaner before he got it right. Fourthly, good designers look at Secondly, good designers live to understand how the new offering The rest, as they say, is history. what might all change in the short, and work in the future most days, could and should impact (and to medium and long-term, by engaging immersed in the activity of actively what degree) all the other aspects of with the best trends and forecasting creating and shaping their client’s the organization: from its structure, intelligence. Unlike other crystal ball future visions of new products and to its mission and culture…all the The best summary of what INSIGHT: truly new ideas. And no amount of what consumers can’t tell them: gazers they use this prescience to services. And this familiarity with way to the business model(s) that makes really good designers They Look at What We Don’t Know consumer research gave Steve Jobs latent and emerging needs and help them understand how they fusing creativity with what’s feasible underpin everything. tick was a simple post by Bruce the confidence to re-imagine the motivations; actual behaviors and could bend the future, shape it to and commercial every day is what Most insight, because it relies so their vision. makes good designers so good at Good designers don’t claim to be Nussbaum back in 2007 - music industry. attitudes; and, crucially, barriers to as heavily on asking consumers, only doing this consistently and better able to do all these things, but they http://tiny.cc/tejum well as drivers of change – or simply And lastly, good designers pressure deals with improvements to known/ Good designers aim to move than others. do know to work with the various put, what your competitors don’t test their conclusions by consulting Since reading that I’ve often existing products and services beyond what you get from simply functions and outside resources that also already know. with other cultural ‘interpreters’ from Thirdly, they overcome the “not pondered the subject and today, (I’d like it bigger, cheaper, quicker, asking consumers what they need do. And unlike some others, they I find it helpful to look at my smaller, etc). It rarely deals with the and want. First of all because they HOW? a broad range of other disciplines. invented here…” syndrome. For This article was don’t leave their colleagues at the experience of how good designers new/never been done before – the understand that most people when new ideas to survive and indeed featured on the Harvard Firstly, good designers don’t tend to INSPIRATION: bus stop; they stay with the project think (and do) at each stage of unexpected but relevant solution. asked don’t say what they mean thrive they have to be successfully Busiiness Review blog. think about consumers; they think They Look for What to Do until the end because nothing gives the innovation process: insights, No one ever asked for Starbucks, or mean what they say, but also embraced by all the relevant (another about people and what they want a good designer more satisfaction inspiration, and action. or Walkmans/ iPods, the Internet because people often don’t know. Good designers want to solve ghastly word) ‘stakeholders’. Good and need. It’s a subtle point, but than being able to point to or texting, for example – they were Good designers want to unearth problems – and this makes them want designers can act as a translator something that everyone else thinks
ONCE UPON A TIME...AUTHENTICITY IN FAIRY TALESI’m noticing that more agencies are claiming especially in a portfolio context, are make money?” or “Who do you And the moralto have ‘storytelling’ expertise, all saying actually made of the same stuff, run serve first: ‘me’ the consumer, of this story? down the same lines, put in the same or ‘them’ the shareholders - withthey are the new Aesop or Archer, and how bottles and controlled by the same me as the patsy?” If your newly 1. Be sure you can really live your story and demonstrate realthey will find the ‘inner tale’ that your brand people. In the quest for differentiation not only from the competition, developed brand story and cause merely serve as a cynical veneer, desire for your cause from startmust shout to the world. but often from their stable-mates, behind which you continue to go to finish, in all the little hidden these brands rely on their ‘stories’: about the business of making the nooks and crannies.Of course, we all know how evil. We all love it, who wouldn’t? equity often plundered from the most money from the least effort as 2. Have every one of your peoplecompelling great stories can be, that Hence the reason why so many bygone days of independence, usual, then surely, if your methods enrolled in the legacy they leavea great story is timeless and speaks brands are beating a path to before the original company brand contradict your own story, you run behind, not just the short termto a deep-rooted human truth, aforementioned ‘storytellers’ in order was absorbed. the gauntlet of being found out and thrashing of the brand equity fordrawing us in and arousing a myriad to help them emotionally connect open to another, more honest and the length of their assignment.of emotions. That’s why they survive with consumers and sell more stuff. Now post-recession, brand owners generous player coming along,down the ages and why mankind But what if the story isn’t really true are obviously concerned with 3. Identify a powerful brand guardian reinventing your category andcontinues to tell the same stories behind the scenes? Isn’t that just a maintaining value in brands they have to be the constant conscience for eating your lunch.over again - Star Wars being derived con? With the rise of social media it stripped back and cost-optimized the entire brand and its behaviour.from classical Greek tragedies etc. is increasingly impossible to control for years, by going back to the core If, as consumers, we’re sold on Incentivise them for legacy and public opinion once a scandalous idea that made the brand great in the a believable story only to discover consumer loyalty, not simply sales.The thing with a great, moving story exposure or powerful idea takes hold. first place. Rewriting its brand equity that it isn’t in fact what we thought,is that it doesn’t need to be true to be 4. Activate & innovate against your In Egypt recently, a thirty year pyramid/key/compass/box/trumpet the disappointment can beeffective. Stories exist not only for cause absolutely. We’re back in the dictatorship was overthrown by etc. and redefining the brand’s central crushing. To a once meaningfulentertainment and escapism, but also middle-ages – if the blacksmith in galvanised public opinion and action purpose – it’s reason for being in the relationship it can be irreparable!to teach us lessons, give us the moral the village is actually crap, everyone in the space of eighteen days. An world. Great stuff! If it’s acted upon Reputation is fast becoming theguidance we need through life that will know very quickly! extreme example, but what can with truth and dedication throughout most important currency in thehelps us do the right thing. That that mean for brands, and the the organization – from supply chain consumer’s commercial world.doesn’t often happen so neatly in companies that own and operate and marketing through to usage and Who would buy from someone onreal life, so the construction of a KEVIN JOHNSON them, if they are discovered to not be disposal, being an actively positive ebay with only a 50% reputation? Creative Director at Seymourpowellstory becomes a nice airtight, and all that they claim? One observation part of the community. It can take many years and millionssomewhat predictable, way to create I have made is this: many of of dollars to carefully build an imagea point of universal understanding. However, the rise of even greater our favourite brands are owned that people can believe in, that they consumer awareness means thereBeginning, middle and end, a cast of and operated by multi-national inherently trust and aspire to own a might be some awkward questionstraditional characters or ‘archetypes’, corporations, in turn owned by piece of, only for one piece of poor Please contact Tim Duncan for the to answer – “Are you in businesschallenges and tasks, gifts and shareholders. In the constant mission judgment to ruin everything in an full version of this thought piece: to make a difference, or simplywisdom, where good triumphs over to drive efficiencies, many brands, instant. Just ask Tiger Woods. email@example.com
BRINGING IDEAS TO LIFE ...Designers would interaction and experience of use. Then there is the user - who is this the real-life situations in which the product will be used. the business to believe in and work towards. It gives confidence and be given design and what are their needs? reassurance that it is making the Another tool is brand DNA. This briefs that were fairly You then come to the product itself is the definitive expression of a right decisions. And it can help the business to see beyond the way well defined with - what is the context for its use? brand’s design essence – both its things are now, and towards a Why is it needed and what affects tangible and intangible elements. regard to objectives, how or where it will be used? And It defines the relationship between better future that can transform its long-term prospects. functionality, target how will it benefit the business? product and brand, and enables Next up is the manufacture -how consistency between user and Delivery: Once a vision is in place users, markets and will it be made? Of what? And brand. Fully understanding your and people have bought into it, so forth, but they where? And what technological brand DNA brings clarity and the final step is to deliver on that advancements can we learn from precision to otherwise subjective vision; to preserve and champion would have had other industries? And, of ever and emotional issues and its original intent and develop it into minimal involvement growing importance, there is the embeds emotional understanding an implementable reality. This is not prior to that point. environment - how can we design it to be sustainable? And what does throughout the business. just a question of how it performs (aesthetics, interaction etc) but And finally, there are trends. It is sustainable mean? also how it works (mechanically Today, there are so many important to understand the way and practically) and is to be competitive products jostling for Designers need to juggle all these the world is moving if you’re not manufactured. That means building,Traditionally, designers would focus attention that there is an ever urgent need for differentiation, stand out factors as they design a product, but how do they manage this going to be left behind, beyond the comfort of ‘your’ market. By looking testing and prototyping to learn empirically and iteratively, workingon the creation and embodiment and innovation. And this is where the designer’s remit has changed. process? One way is to break the process down into three areas of at the world around you, sitting at the heart of people, society, with partners when necessary to make it happen. This is theof a product, whether that be a Now, design is more deeply embedded in the front end, ahead focus - clarity, vision and delivery. Clarity: The first step is to business and technology, design involves having a full understanding heart and soul of innovation - it is not enough merely to talk aboutconsumer or FMCG pack or product... of the brief - finding new uses, new markets, new opportunities understand the space, both physical and emotional, that the of the context and relevance for new products, both now and innovation, or just to generate concepts around consumer derived from consumer insights in the future. product will occupy. Before you insights, it has to be delivered if it is and new ways to create value - can make something better, you Vision: The next step is to define to profit the business.MICHAEL WEBSTER and in the navigation of that whole need to know who, what and what the product should be, orAssociate Director at Seymourpowell And that managed systematic process. Design now involves where you are. There are various could be, and why - a vision for scoping, defining and coordinating creative process is what brings tools available to find the truths to the business to get behind, where opportunities, as well as embodying ideas to reality. A fluid, non-linear inspire and focus our creativity in future scenarios are worked out them - in short, innovation. Design process that combines thinking with the right direction. and relevant solutions provided; is more than just the physical doing, inspiration with perspiration and where clarity of context and the manifestation of something - there One tool is ethnographic research, and experimentation with expertise. ability of the designer to envisage are numerous factors that need where consumers are observed a better future fuel creativity, the to be considered. First, there on what they actually do rather lifeblood of design. is the brand - how should that than what they say they do! This is be expressed through not only how to learn about people - their Vision is crucial to the successful the physical form, but also the latent, as well as their real needs implementation of a project. It and emergent behaviour - within provides something tangible for
ETHNOGRAPHY’S IMPORTANCE PAULA ZUCCOTTI Associate Director at SeymourpowellTO BUSINESS: CONNECTING Working at Seymourpowell for the last ten years, Paula is responsibleWITH CONSUMERS’ NEEDS for the creation and development of the ethnographic research offer, and for the success of many innovative product launches as a niche process within the“Ethnographic research needs good blue chip companies of Palo working in collaboration with the wider teamobservation, analysis and interpretation...” Alto, San Francisco has nowsays Paula Zuccotti, Associate Director become mainstream.and Head of Research, Seymourpowell The good thing about this is that we’re now able to quote brilliantThe key to unlocking ethnographic ethnography has been more case studies; the bad thing isresearch relies on this intersection, successful in informing and inspiring that everybody thinks they can dobeyond just good observation and the design process than traditional it, running the risk of losing bestanalysis. How many times have marketing techniques. practices and blurring the main ethosyou heard companies wax lyrical of the process. As a result we Ethnographic research has becomeabout the wonders of ethnographic need to re-think what we actually a necessity in the field of product,research but appear frustrated do and push our discipline a step packaging, interaction, brand andabout the end results? “We spent higher, including not only quality service design for several reasons.time with consumers, it was observation and excellent analysis, Firstly, it supports the need foramazing! But we’re still not sure but also good interpretations. approaching problems and briefswhat we’ve learnt…” in a more holistic and sophisticated 1. GOOD OBSERVATION first mistake is to presume ‘we’ are LOOK FOR SUBVERSION understanding, empathy, curiosity, the purpose and started from user behavior and the company’sThis is what I normally hear from way - as designers we find ourselves The first step towards successful cleverer than ‘them’. The second and the ability to rigorously transform scratch, designing alternative goals and objectives. Anyone can Look for things that are doneorganisations when discussing their working in more complex ethnography is to re-engage with mistake is to presume they are your learning into compelling insights. solutions. As a result, we not only report what they see, however differently and think of them inexperiences with the methodology. environments, where no product best practices and to remember wrong. We should actually be To unlock significant insights you managed to design better products, finding the insights that are most terms of shortcuts, work-arounds,Ethnography has become one lives in isolation and a greater this is not about having ‘been there, asking ourselves what are they need to take a given situation and but also mapped out the client’s relevant to a company’s vision and alternative solutions. Thenof those words like ‘innovation’; ecosystem needs to be taken into bought the t-shirt’ but about good doing and more importantly why are experiment with variables, forecasting portfolio expansion having identified requires thorough investigation, think about your clients’ brief andcompanies must have it on their consideration. Secondly, ethnography observation. Knowing what and they doing it? different scenarios until you find the the need for developing new and a deep understanding of the how that subversion may workroster but the majority still wonder also enables global organisations how to observe by learning to look one that works best. This exercise product formats. clients business. Important to this As part of a research project with within their current portfolio. TenHOW they are supposed to use it. to reach out to consumers at a and think in a different way: is a great starting point: is the ability to input and help a major consumer electronics years ago, we discovered that 3. GOOD INTERPRETATION personal and local level. redefine that company’s vision.Ethnography’s ethos is spending client, we were asked why users one user was playing CD’s on her REMOVE THE PRODUCT, ACTIONS BEFORE WORDS This third step enables ethnographictime with consumers in their real While user empathy and weren’t engaging with the business DVD player: what we then referred CONCENTRATE ON THE NEEDS This is the fundamental differentiator research to transform businessesenvironments, observing their observation have always been applications on their devices (e.g. to as ‘the death of the hi-fi’. That to other research techniques: We recently did this with an FMCG and can be found where unmetinteraction with quotidian objects inherent to the design discipline calendars, reminders). Instead simple example of ‘subversion’ observation rather than enquiry, food company where we mapped consumer needs cross with unmetand activities in order to make - we can find examples of it in of reporting on the failures of the unlocked the user’s take on device learning HOW people actually the five w’s (what, where, when, business needs. This goes beyondsense of the wider context of their products more than a hundred applications, we tipped the problem convergence in contrast to the do something rather than their who, why) and more importantly good observation and analyticaleveryday lives. It is about pure years old - the commercial, on its head and drew inspiration manufacturer’s. verbalised memories of how they the how’s of their current product skills: we need interpreters that canobservation with minimal intervention formalised use of ethnography from the dialogue and interactions think they do it. Learn from the between the users and their 2. GOOD ANALYSIS in different usage scenarios (e.g. take both streams of informationand honest performance rather within our industry dates back Please contact Tim Duncan for the users’ talents and ways, not from personal assistants. The second step is thorough baking a cake). We then removed and propose unique platforms thatthan task analysis. This is why fifteen years. What started full version of this thought piece: what they do right or wrong. The analysis. This involves good all the current products that served live at the intersection of emergent firstname.lastname@example.org
SEYMOURPOWELL’SGLOBAL FOOTPRINTOur trends team regularly conductcross-cultural city visits to help ourclients understand regional preferencesand diversity, and to identify commonglobal preferences.Thoughts and insights from all trips are reguarly posted on our blog:http://blog.seymourpowell.comand shared on twitter: @Seymourpowell Image courtesy of: Design Panoptikum