« …The strategy is not only about offering a product that differs from competitors anymore, but about offering a product that anticipates the user’s needs before he even knows what they are. »
The new marketing trends of the 21st century…
With the advent of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, just to name a few, the way we interact with others and receive information is rapidly changing. The way we consume is also changing. The consumer is actually becoming an actor (consum’actor) in the abundance of product choices where market shares are increasingly divided. Instead of the companies imposing products upon him, he will start dictating the required traits and benefits of those said products. The mass production that defined the 20th century has pushed the product more and more towards the consumer. He wants products that meet his demands, but branding is still a very important part of the social image. And although we are focusing on the fact that the consumers wants custom or “made to order” products, he is not always willing to pay the price… Thus the priority is still on mass products, but much better targeted.
Industrial design, in Apple’s case for example, goes beyond the simple determining of the consumer-user needs. It transcends a person’s unconscious or unexpected needs into powerful desire by simply seducing the consumer with a product that is original, refined, unisex and disarmingly easy to use. Apple creates viral products that make every customer become a «subscriber» to the brand, therefore promoting it themselves.
A mass production, mass consumption and media based 20th century, gives way to a society capable of manufacturing custom products and services, a society where the consumer wants «custom made» products, where the media is divided. The strategy is not only about offering a product that differs from competitors anymore, but about offering a product that anticipates the user’s needs before he even knows what they are.
Industrial design as a strategy for innovation
Here is how Wikipedia describes industrial design as something to be considered more and more (translation from French):
It is a management process, led most of the time by a designer, whose goal is to make a innovative project progress, as well as its specifications and its realization (in a tangible or virtual form) while maintaining consistency between the various skills and stages of advancement. This approach is characterized by meaningful and qualitative research for innovation as opposed to a strictly technical, utilitarian or ameliorative (gadget) innovation. This strategy is therefore in direct opposition to a marketing one. In France, the superior education and research establishment that refers to this is the ” École nationale supérieure de création industrielle (ENSCI- Les Ateliers)
This kind of design is a rare commodity as:
- It needs to be supported by the whole company (The president of the company, the marketing department, the engineers and the designers, amongst others)
- It requires taking a risk (commercial and marketing) as it aims for innovation and that the unknown is part of the strategy. That is why we witnessed the Twingo and the Smart having such a rocky start a few years ago.
In a low-tech way, innovation is not necessarily a technical one. It is possible to develop very innovative products without sophisticated technology. Design in this sense provides a broader definition of innovation and progress, opposed to technicist design. A good example of this is Apple’s Ipod Shuffle, or how to propose a screen less mp3 player.
Digital innovation and the diffusion of information and communication technologies are giving industrial design a strategic place at the heart of the industry and major societal issues, highlighting once again the question of «what to produce». This query is paving the way for the creation of new objects, new services, new uses, new representations.”
Up to the minute…
The Réseau Croissance Design (a Network for Design Growth) was just launched by the MDEIE in collaboration with Emploi-Québec, Mission Design and l’ADIQ. The initiative is aimed towards Montreal manufacturing companies having little or no experience with industrial design. Similar (in its ethics) to the Enviroclub here are the five proposed phases:
- The discovery of industrial design;
- The realization of the company’s « industrial design diagnostic »;
- The listing of your project specifications;
- The selection of an industrial design consultant;
- Providing support for the company in designing or improving a product.
This network is:
A group training and customized coaching in industrial design;
The execution of a product design or product improvement project;
The sharing of experience and knowledge between the coaches, the consultants and the participants.
A free information session will be held on March 22nd for all interested companies. It will allow all attending to discover industrial design and the Réseau Croissance Design.
For more information, see link below: