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How Trends Drive Innovation in Product Design


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Open-ended product design challenges are, well, challenging! A client may come to a design strategist with no clear direction beyond their intent to disrupt an industry. Trend research is one of the tools we use to come up with new ways to innovate.

In this talk during DesignPhiladelphia 2018, Lead Design Strategist, Ryan Chen, presented a conceptual case study from the personal care industry to show how Bresslergroup might use trend research to lead to insights that lead to novel product concepts.

Chen began his talk with an overview of ten socio-cultural megatrends he’s identified that are going to influence consumer value and behavior -- and impact product design -- into the next decade.

Read more at "Five Global Megatrends Reshaping Product Design":

With an M.B.A. from the University of Oxford and a B.A. (Industrial Design) from National University of Singapore, Ryan Chen possesses a unique combination of creativity and business acumen. Before joining Bresslergroup, Ryan was a Lead Designer at Tupperware and Senior Designer at Philips Design. His work has won prestigious international awards including the iF Design Award, Red Dot, and Good Design.

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How Trends Drive Innovation in Product Design

  1. 1. How Trends Drive Innovation in Product Design #bresslergroup #designphiladelphia 10/11/2018 DesignPhiladelphia 2018
  2. 2. 45+ Years of Innovation 70+ Design Professionals 100+ Design Awards 230+ Design & Utility Patents
  3. 3. Bresslergroup Is an Insight-Driven Innovation Lab. We deliver unique, often surprising solutions to complex product development challenges.
  5. 5. OVERVIEW 6 Ryan is a design and innovation consultant with a unique combination of creativity and business acumen. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Oxford and a B.A. (Industrial Design) from National University of Singapore. Ryan Chen Lead Design Strategist, Bresslergroup An expert in design strategy, design thinking, and user research, Ryan has conducted research in China, India, Indonesia, France, Kenya, Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand, across multiple disciplines including consumer electronics, food and beverage, healthcare, and household products. Formerly Lead Designer at Tupperware and Senior Designer at Philips Design, his designs have won prestigious international awards including the iF Design Award, Red Dot, and Good Design. One thread runs through his 13 years of varied experience. No matter where (Asia, Europe, the U.S.) or who (Samsung, Sony, Rocket Internet, the Singapore Government), he always succeeds in helping clients find their innovation edge.
  6. 6. How Trends Drive Innovation in Product Design #bresslergroup #designphiladelphia 10/11/2018 DesignPhiladelphia 2018
  7. 7. Eight years ago …
  8. 8. 5-10 years is a long time • Consumer value changes • Competitive landscape changes • Understanding of our consumer no longer valid
  9. 9. 12 Design Strategy connects business goals and customer needs. It’s a discipline that helps firms determine what to make and do, why to do it, and how to innovate contextually.
  10. 10. OVERVIEW 13 Strategic approach provides clear direction and achieves long-term impact IMPACT 3 YEARS 5 YEARS 10 YEARSNOW The process of forecasting and backcasting builds an actionable plan to achieve the product vision.
  11. 11. OVERVIEW 14 • Forecasting the future requires both user research and trend analysis. USER RESEARCH NEAR TERM (1 YEAR) LONG TERM (10 YEARS) TREND ANALYSIS Business + People + Technology
  12. 12. Megatrends 15 01
  13. 13. Megatrends • Fundamental shift in the consumer value and behavior • Driven by shifting economic power, demographic changes, technology advancement, and changing values. • Gradual shift where existing trends evolve, and new trends emerge over a number of years
  14. 14. MEGATRENDS 17 • Our Megatrends are synthesized from economic, cultural, and social insights from various sources Focus on consumer value and behavior Potential for impact BRESSLERGROUP MEGATRENDS
  15. 15. MEGATRENDS 18
  16. 16. RADICAL PERSONALIZATION The constant need to be served as individual enhanced by technology advancement
  17. 17. 20 ACCESS TO MORE USER DATA AI AND MACHINE LEARNING TRANSLATE DATA IN REAL TIME FROM MASS CUSTOMIZATION TO BESPOKE RADICAL PERSONALIZATION • Smartphone penetration, cloud data, advancement in sensor technology, and change in consumer value means brands have more consumer data than ever. • Many consumers are willing to relinquish some control or privacy for better and easier services and selections. • Increasingly sophisticated algorithms can aggregate consumer data and behavior patterns to make tailored recommendations. • AI assistant helps create new beauty products • Digital experience can be customized in real time with practically zero incremental cost. • Additive manufacturing drives the production cost and time of physical products. Technology advancement drives faster, cheaper, and deeper personalization
  18. 18. 21 ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT ANTICIPATORY PERSONALIZATION BE CAREFUL ABOUT PRIVACY RADICAL PERSONALIZATION • Ikea modular furniture comes with 'authorized hacks' • In the future, brands can deliver personalized products before the consumer knows what they want and need. • Expect the trend to migrate beyond content curation (health and wellness). • Personalization depends on the access to personal data • Ineffective and intrusive personalization is more detrimental to the brand value than no personalization. • Technology automatically blocks facial recognition Meaningful personalization depends on building relationship with consumer
  19. 19. RADICAL PERSONALIZATION 1. Adopt cheaper, faster, and deeper personalization 2. Build a relationship with the consumer
  20. 20. EXPERIENCE MORE Multi-dimensional experience delivered in an instantaneous bite-sized portion
  21. 21. 24 SPENDING ON SERVICES ACCELERATES FASTER THAN PRODUCTS EXPERIENCE DRIVES MORE HAPPINESS EXPERIENCE MORE • During the recession period, service expenditure continued to grow while expenditures on durable goods decreased. • Happiness: Shared experiences with friends and family have a deeper psychological link to long- term intrinsic happiness than buying products does. • Quest for likes and FOMO: With more consumers opting for experience, people feel the urge to keep up. Experience economy is expected to drive spending heading into 2030 • Source: Euromonitor Source: McKinsey Real Growth in Global Consumer Expenditure on Durable Goods and Services, 1990-2030
  22. 22. 25 FROM PRODUCT TO SERVICE MAKING TOGETHER LEARNING AS EXPERIENCE CONNECTION WITH OTHERS EXPERIENCE MORE • Jeweler Tiffany and Co. opens luxury café • Muji launched hotels in China • Magnum ice cream allows shoppers to create ice cream bar according to their own preferences • U.S.-based Gardenuity guides gardeners in selecting plants and growing them • App allows real-time interaction with the community during fashion show Brands creating unique experiences to enhance their products
  23. 23. 26 EASY ACCESS FRAGMENTED, ACCESSIBLE EXPERIENCE CREATING NEW EXPERIENCE WITH AR/VR EXPERIENCE MORE • Rental platform Open Gallery lets users showcase local art in their own home • Digital lifestyle and lower cost of goods drives shorter attention spans • YSL opens pop-up hotel in New York • Explosion of AR/VR shopping experience. • Amsterdam-based musician Necessary Explosion releases a free mobile app that lets consumers “see” music Fundamental shift in how experience is delivered
  24. 24. EXPERIENCE MORE 1. Design your solution 2. Create bits of easy-to-consume experiences
  25. 25. QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE Scarcity of time is driving convenient solutions that allow consumers to focus on what’s meaningful
  26. 26. 29 GROWING TREND TOWARD SIMPLIFYING LIFE BUYING TIME, NOT MATERIAL GOODS, PROMOTES HAPPINESS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE • Globally consumers are becoming more willing to spend money and find ways to simplify their lives. • Research conducted by Harvard Business School shows that individuals who spend money on time- saving services report greater life satisfaction. • Evidence shows that working adults report greater happiness after spending money on a timesaving purchase than on a material purchase. In an age of time scarcity, buying our way out of the negative moments in the day is an important key to happiness Source: Euromointor Global Consumer Values: Status and Consumerism (2011, 2015, 2016)
  27. 27. 30 ALL CHORES WILL BE OUTSOURCED DAILY ACTIVITIES AT A CLICK OF BUTTON, OR NOT TRADING WITH OTHER CURRENCY QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE • From robotic cleaners, to laundry and dog walking services, consumers will be able to outsource every aspect of their chores. • Amazon Dash has reduced grocery shopping to one click • Smart kitchen drives the automatic replenishment of household essentials • Possibility of the future where consumers pay for access, not products • Amazon/Walmart deliveries made inside customers' homes Convenient solutions are everywhere in our lives
  28. 28. 31 ULTIMATE IN CONVENIENCE INSTANT DELIVERY CONSUMPTION IS BECOMING EFFORTLESS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE • Emirates Airlines offers home check- in and baggage collection service • Mobile app Ask An Expert by Samsung and Babylon offers medical consultations on-demand • Instacart delivers grocery within an hour • As the cost of products decreases, consumers are increasingly relying on brands to help them decide what to consume. Consumer expectation of convenience will constantly evolve
  29. 29. 32 SHOPPING REINVENTED INDUSTRY DISRUPTED SUPER APPS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE • As AI continues to develop its capabilities, the future of the middlemen (interior designer, insurance agents) grows bleaker. • By 2030, most meals cooked at home will instead be ordered online and delivered from either restaurants or central kitchens, controlling up to 10 percent of the total food services market, a subset that would translate to more than $350 billion. • Super apps such as WeChat can be used to connect with friends and family, hail a taxi, order food delivery, buy film tickets, pay utility bills and even book a doctor’s appointment, all in a single, integrated app. • Alexa is becoming the Super Apps of the West. The Quest for Convenience megatrend is disruptive
  30. 30. QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE 1. Provide solutions that help consumers save time in every aspect of life 2. Prepare for disruptive future
  31. 31. EMPOWERED INDIVIDUAL Active involvement in what, why, and how a product should be produced and delivered
  32. 32. CONSUMER REMAPPED Redefining consumer segment beyond demographics
  33. 33. CONNECTION / DISCONNECTION Regaining control over social connection
  34. 34. EVERYDAY WELLNESS Striving to live healthier in every aspect of life
  35. 35. ETHICAL LIVING Social responsibility becoming a personal belief
  36. 36. SEARCH FOR AUTHENTICITY Searching for truth within the endless product options
  37. 37. 40 BRANDS PLEDGE TO BE AUTHENTIC “AUTHENTICITY” DRIVEN BY SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CREATED BY CONSUMER IS PERCEIVED AS MOST AUTHENTIC SEARCH FOR AUTHENTICITY • Unilever’s Self-Esteem Project aims to build body confidence and self- esteem in 40 million young people globally by 2020. • CVS will require that all retouched images be labeled as such by 2020 • Push back on paid-influencer and celebrity endorsement • 57% of respondents indicated that less than half of brand-created content resonates as authentic. • Our survey found that 60% of consumers (and 70% of millennials) said social content from friends and family impact their purchasing decisions - while only 23% said celebrity influencer content was impactful. In the world of fake news and exaggerated communication, consumers are seeking brands that they can TRUST
  38. 38. 41 “UNBRANDED” PRODUCTS TRANSPARENCY WITH TECHNOLOGY A FUTURE WITH SYMMETRY OF INFORMATION SEARCH FOR AUTHENTICITY • Unbranded Online grocery sells 'unbranded' goods at USD 3 or less • Blockchain technology allows consumer to track the source of the ingredients • World's first blockchain beer is fully traceable from source to retail. • Consumers are increasingly aware of the truth behind the brand communication. • From the cost of production for iPhone, to retail price comparison, brands can no longer gain advantage of information asymmetry Consumers are increasingly looking for transparency
  39. 39. SEARCH FOR AUTHENTICITY 1. Be honest 2. Embrace transparency and imperfection
  40. 40. PURSUIT OF EXCLUSIVITY Searching for new symbols of exclusivity
  41. 41. 44 BLURRING OF MARKET SEGMENT WEAKENED CORRELATION TO ECONOMIC INDICATORS PURSUIT OF EXCLUSIVITY • Greater access to product options • Consumers are mixing and matching their purchases • Besides economic outlook, changes in consumer values and behavior contribute to the decline in sales of luxury products. Despite economic growth, luxury market growth has slowed Global luxury market annual growth Source: EY Source: YouGov Affluent Perspective Global Study Global luxury market annual growth PREMIUM MASS VALUE LUXURY VALUE PREMIUM MASS AFFORDABLE LUXURY ULTRA LUXURY PREMIUM Distinct segments Distinct segments
  42. 42. 45 EVERYDAY WELLNESS ETHICAL LIVING EXPERIENCE MORE IT’S NOT ABOUT PRICE PURSUIT OF EXCLUSIVITY • Stress-reducing luxury homes priced at USD 4 million • LUCKYNELLY vegan handbag line is made from apples • Airbnb Plus offers properties that meet the hotel-level standard with an average of USD 200. • Goodwill opens a curated boutique in NYC selling trend- forward pieces Creating status symbol with megatrends
  43. 43. PURSUIT OF EXCLUSIVITY 1. Premiumize or commoditize 2. Utilize other Megatrends to create meaningful exclusivity
  44. 44. IDEA 1 47
  45. 45. 48 STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT USER RESEARCH DEFINITION PRODUCT BRAINSTORMING • Conduct SWOT analysis to understand the trend’s implication to the brand • Create hypothesis about consumers • Utilize the trends as a tool kit to provide inspiration and catalysts for ideation Application of trends across project phases
  46. 46. 1. Megatrends work together and with each other. 2. Consumer expectations of your product are shaped not only by your competitors, but also by trends that affect every aspect of their life. 49
  47. 47. Case Study 50 03
  48. 48. New Product Ideation for Personal Care How might we use Megatrends to discover opportunities for personal hygiene and beauty products?
  49. 49. OUR SERVICES 52 • ANALYSIS Consolidate prior knowledge and align on business strategy Conduct lead user/expert interviews Analyze Megatrends impact on the industry (RE)FRAMING Synthesize knowledge into new perspectives and areas of opportunity Translate opportunities into actionable hypotheses STRATEGY Translate insights into design strategy Create tactical plans and product roadmaps Concept creation and testing VALIDATION Test hypotheses with quantitative research and business validation Deepen consumer understanding with qualitative research We solve innovation challenges with an insight-driven, iterative process. CHALLENGE IMPLEMENTATION
  50. 50. ANALYSIS ANALYSIS Start with understanding business context 53 Premium Beauty & Personal Care Beauty & Personal Care Soft Drinks Packaged Food Home Care 11.6% 9.5%
  51. 51. ANALYSIS ANALYSIS Research into the Megatrend implications 54
  52. 52. RE(FRAMING) RE(FRAMING) Create Themes and Hypotheses 55 THEME 3 – Connection / Disconnection Our consumer cares deeply about creation, curation, and connection when they make their product decision. THEME 1 – Consumers Remapped Our consumer desires products that celebrate their individualism beyond gender, race, and age. THEME 2 – Quest for Convenience Our consumer desires technology that empowers them with curated information and assisted choice.
  53. 53. HYPOTHESIS – Sense of identity Our consumers desire products that celebrate their individualism beyond gender, race, and age. @4theloveoftoys
  54. 54. Embracing individualism, breaking stereotypes Genderless Makeup Vogue dedicates edition exclusively to women over 60 Body positive campaign celebrates flaws and imperfections
  55. 55. Amplifying belief Beauty for sportsSunscreen for construction workers Brand swaps logo to save endangered species Burberry partner with streetwear
  56. 56. Redefining beauty with new aesthetic @esantoinette @palecanvas color changing hair dye @beasweetbeauty CONFIDENTIAL
  57. 57. HYPOTHESIS 1 – SENSE OF IDENTITY How might we create products that celebrate a consumer’s individualism? 60 Redefining Beauty With New Aesthetic Embracing Individualism, Breaking Stereotypes Amplifying Belief MEGATREND DRIVERS CONSUMERS REMAPPED RADICAL PERSONALIZATION
  58. 58. HYPOTHESIS – Smart technology Our consumers desire convenient solutions that empower them with curated information and assisted decision.
  59. 59. Discovering oneself via new information
  60. 60. Bespoke Beauty and Grooming Service Powered by AI Organic tampons delivered via AI Customized suppliment based on DNA Enabling greater choices and customization
  61. 61. Live mood data used to personalize ads Enabling easier shopping experiences
  62. 62. Accessories to house contactless payment chip Tory Burch X Fitbit Making technology desirable
  63. 63. Making technology desirable HYPOTHESIS 2 – SMART TECHNOLOGY How might we empower customers with new technology, and curated information? 66 Discovering oneself with new information Enabling greater choices and customization Enabling easier shopping experience MEGATREND DRIVERS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE RADICAL PERSONALIZATION EVERYDAY WELLNESS
  64. 64. HYPOTHESIS – Social Our consumers care deeply about creation, curation, and connection when they make their product decisions.
  65. 65. Enabling Instagram-readiness
  66. 66. Luxury hotel bar crowdsources cocktail menu inspiration Modular furniture comes with authorized hacks Beauty brand unveils personalizable DIY at-home kits Luxury hotel bar crowdsources cocktail menu inspiration Create your own scents Transitioning from curation to creation
  67. 67. Furniture e-tailer crowdsources new designs Craft beer designed to be opened in pairs App lets viewers weigh in on runway looks in real-time Subscription-based network caters to working mothers Mobile app lets people to listen to music together Bracelets lights up when friends are around Enabling connection with community
  68. 68. HYPOTHESIS 3 – SOCIAL How might we fulfill the desire for creation, curation, and connection? 71 Enabling connection with community Enabling Instagram-readiness Transiting from curation to creation MEGATREND DRIVERS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE CONNECTION / DISCONNECTION
  69. 69. VALIDATION VALIDATION Validate the Themes and Hypothesis 72 THEME 3 – Connection / Disconnection Our consumer cares deeply about creation, curation, and connection when they make their product decision. THEME 1 – Consumers Remapped Our consumer desires products that celebrate their individualism beyond gender, race, and age. THEME 2 – Quest for Convenience Our consumer desires technology that empowers them with curated information and assisted choices.
  70. 70. VALIDATION VALIDATION Validate the Themes and Hypotheses 73 Attitudes towards the Future Behavior Now
  71. 71. STRATEGY STRATEGY Create product concepts and roadmap 74
  72. 72. MEGATREND DRIVERS IDEAS Beautiful Smile with Minimal Hassle • 3 month all-inclusive program with brush and toothpaste included • No additional effort, brush as usual • Progress updates keep user motivated 75 QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE RADICAL PERSONALIZATION EVERYDAY WELLNESS
  73. 73. IDEAS Freshly Made Face Mask and Wipes in The Comfort of Your Home • The device extracts contents from the pod and create face masks and wipes. • Pods come in variety of functions to create beauty and personal care products. Even wipes for baby. 76 MEGATREND DRIVERS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE EVERYDAY WELLNESS
  74. 74. RADICAL PERSONALIZATION EXPERIENCE MORE IDEAS Personalized Subscription To Make Your Own Personal Care Packages • 3 month all-inclusive program with brush and paste included • Easy • Progress updates provide gratification 77 MEGATREND DRIVERS SEARCH FOR AUTHENTICITY
  75. 75. IDEAS Personalized Personal Care Recommendations Based On Environmental And Skin Tracking • Environmental sensor tracking pollution, UV light, and air moisture • Personal sensor tracks activities and skin condition • AI recommends the right combination of cosmetic and personal care products 78 MEGATREND DRIVERS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE RADICAL PERSONALIZATION EVERYDAY WELLNESS
  76. 76. IDEAS Pamper Your Face Anywhere With Customized Vapor • Apply cream and essence without touching your face • Ultra-portable, fits in your pocket • Customizable vapor (revitalizing, protection, moisturizing and more) with removable pods 79 MEGATREND DRIVERS QUEST FOR CONVENIENCE
  77. 77. IDEAS Ageing Gracefully Cosmetic Line • Because aging is not all about reducing wrinkles • Customized for different needs of the silver population 80 MEGATREND DRIVERS CONSUMERS REMAPPED RADICAL PERSONALIZATION
  78. 78. 81 NEW POSITIONING NEW PRODUCT INNOVATION HIGH CONSUMER IMPACT LOW CONSUMER IMPACT • User research will help us better position the concepts • Other factors to consider include brand fit, technical feasibility, and competitive landscape
  80. 80. 83
  81. 81. 84
  83. 83. What’s next? 87
  84. 84. MEGATRENDS 1. Megatrends describe how consumer value and behavior will evolve in the future. 2. It’s an iterative and structured process. 3. Trend Analysis works with User Research, Industrial Design, and other disciplines to discover opportunities for the future. 88
  85. 85. STILL CURIOUS? Learn more at Follow us at @bresslergroup #bresslergroup #designphiladelphia