This edition of our newsletter addresses open innovation, which is much more accessible than most people believe. Indeed, this concept allows businesses to stand out in an ever more competitive market whose shares seem increasingly varied, but less and less sizeable.
In addition, Skerpa Design offers its clients an all-new component: a turnkey professional photographer and model service to promote, highlight and contextualize products designed and developed by Skerpa Design.
Finally, we present a case study regarding an off-standards product designed and developed by Skerpa Design.
Open vs. Closed Innovation
Open innovation is in sharp contrast with more traditional, closed innovation, usually connoted to depend solely upon results of internal research and development.
In the 60s and 70s, innovative businesses could hold their innovations secret instead of protecting them via patents in order to sell user and marketing licences failing use of these innovations strictly for themselves.
Open innovation emphasizes use of innovation sources external to businesses attempting to market value-added products. These outside sources can be varied: universities, technology transfer centres, engineering or industrial design firms to name only a few. And how about firms born of the same industry segment that pool their technological innovations together, on the one hand for cost reduction reasons, but also to expedite development and shorten lead times to market? Sometimes, they even have to pay royalties to a third-party concern holding a patent on an innovation.
No need to search very far to discover a highly relevant example of open innovation: just look at the famed and sought-after iPhone smart phone from Apple. It derives from an amalgamation of external innovative technologies. Apple made do with (or limited itself to?) creating the best possible interface from existing innovations. Not only the phone’s design is a clean, no-frills affair, which will make it durable, but also, and first and foremost, its unique, user-friendly (not to say leisure or even ludic) feel with its numerous applications ensures its success.
Professional Photographer and Model Service
Holding a well-thought out product that appropriately targets a profitable client base is certainly a step in the right direction. However, in an ever more competitive market whose shares get increasingly segmented but are more and more shrinking, it has become essential to know how to pique attention further and quicker, from the standpoints of both consumers and large distribution chain purchasers. Although a new product may be highly innovative and sometimes supremely aesthetic, an original, suggestive or even contextual photograph can nevertheless enhance and truly set off the product to bring up a particular ambiance or emotion in consumers’ minds. This is the new service that Skerpa Design now offers its clients. Our studio can now accommodate a professional photographer and model for picture-taking sessions with our co-operation so as to highlight the product’s best, most desirable facets. The case study to follow presents photographs resulting from the collaboration of a professional actress and model Christina Sciortino and photographer Kahl Sutherland. You will be in a position to appreciate these pictures’ enormous impact on the product.
Case Study of An Off-Standards Product…
Two years ago, Skerpa Design initiated an internal design and development project for an innovative product whose paradigm was literally put back into question. “Paradigm” here means a way of considering things, that sometimes consists in trying to change a typical, everyday object’s perception, interpretation and even definition, which have not evolved in a long time.
In co-operation with his multidisciplinary team, Daniel Thibault designed and developed a plastic molded garden watering can that is both ergonomic and environment-friendly. The concept simply consisted in making this traditional, low-value added product stackable in order to reduce its ecological footprint. Thus the concept simultaneously enables to pile up double the number of watering cans for transport, warehousing and in-store display.
The challenge would not have been fully met if it had been plainly and simply a question of satisfying industrial and commercial requirements. It ensues from the industrial designer’s training and concerns that (s)he always has to pointedly make sure the end consumer can also benefit from this new item. We equipped this watering can with a double-function handle so as to compress its required space, better adapt it to gardening activities and make it more ergonomic. Though it may look and sound surprising, this bi-functional handle appropriately replaces the two distinct single-function handles on most garden watering cans. It also better fits the hand’s unique morphology, both for lifting the sprinkler and initiating the sprinkling phase. Watering action is much more natural, as there is no need to use the second hand or radically change the holding hand’s position on the handle. (See photograph)
To make this project succeed, we created numerous prototypes using fast prototyping, then tested them to validate their physical perception in space as well as their aesthetic sense. The tests proved very useful in evaluating and improving ergonomics, comfort, as well as resistance to mechanical stresses due to water weight for this 7-liter plus-capacity watering can. Help from a molding illustration expert for plastic resin part injection allowed us to tailor the product to molding requirements and stresses. Computer-aided simulation tests conducted by a mechanical engineer enabled us to identify structural weaknesses and make the modifications appropriate for ensuring the product’s durability.
In order to approach various potential investors to provide for the product’s manufacturing and marketing, a temporary silicone mold was developed to reproduce a few sample copies cast via a low-pressure casting process using two polyurethane resin densities to simulate an injected product. These samples also enabled us to repeatedly test solidity and comfort so as to bring in new improvements.
MEZZAMORPHOS tm is the new projected brand to be used for potential marketing of all products designed, developed and edited by and for Skerpa Design. Discussions are now taking place concerning the current patent-pending watering can to provide for its manufacturing and marketing, whether in North America or Europe.
Are you nurturing ideas? Tinkering with projects? Searching for solutions? Contact Us ASAP. We will make it a pleasure to meet with you!
Skerpa Design, your source of innovation.