Image courtesy of Maury Fredricks
Just returned from a trip to attend the Industry Preview Days at the Autoshow in Detroit. It’s about a three-hour drive down I-96 from our home in Grand Haven. Typically, drivers are doing an average of 15 over the prescribed limit and traffic is tight in spots. You can move swiftly across the state and it’s worth the drive to check out the NAIAS, the Autoshow. As designers and engineers, we go to witness and take note of styling and technical trends. For us, it’s a bit of a museum of the past and lens to the future. Ironically, the most innovative vehicles shown may be the death of the show itself.
As I confirmed through multiple conversations at Cobo Hall, the show is dying from the inside. Difficult to change the course of a large ship and the NAIAS is at risk of not being able to adapt to the blurring social and technological landscape. (more…)
Two different viewpoints…
Recently, I’ve attempted to wean myself from daily media sources and the talking heads. It’s a hard habit to kick. My primary sources of news lean towards liberal publications and daily news programs. It does not matter which side of the political divide you’re on, the world is in rough shape and nothing is getting done in the capitals of the world. It’s a pretty depressing picture.
There was an article (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/dining/kimbal-musk-food.html) published in the NY Times last Monday that prompted a welcome diversion in my thinking and a refreshed viewpoint on a few key issues.
Kimbal Musk is a tech entrepreneur who made his early fortune working with his brother Elon. He has the resources to do great things and his ideas about the food ecosystem in this country are worth reflection. His heart is in the right place and I was beginning to embrace his thinking until mid-way through the article. The goal of scale for the food business runs contrary to the immediate need in many communities for healthy sources of food and clean water. The need is now and urgent. Scaling industries takes time, capital and environmental resources. “The problem is that the people who made their money in tech understand disruption and scaling and all of these terms, but they don’t know how to get their hands dirty and engage the neighbors and the farmers and the cooks who make a food community”, said Michel Nischan, the founder and chief executive officer of Wholesome Wave.
Real change happens at the community level and we all have the power to affect positive change.
“We benchmark in/out of market, gather voice of the consumer (VOC) and intelligence to form a project brief that outlines goals and problem statements. Our clients sometimes provide the project brief”.
This quote, from the Discover Phase of our product development process, highlights the importance of a thorough and detailed design brief in early phase product development.
Our work over three decades with some of the world’s best companies has been challenging, rewarding and, admittedly sometimes a bit frustrating. Looking back at our diverse work, we have learned to ask the right questions during the development of a well-constructed design brief. We offer this brief essay to share our key lessons and help improve our work with clients and suppliers. (more…)
I read several papers each week. Every now and then, an article hits home and prompts reflections on the changing world and our product development business. The Wall Street Journal article “Uber snags a ride to China with Baidu” affirms fundamental business conditions and highlights several significant challenges for new technologies and emerging markets.
Uber is a technology based, mobile app solution connecting passengers with private drivers in metropolitan areas. It is an alternative to traditional taxis and other modes of public transportation. Their website describes them in this way: “Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 200 cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.” (more…)
Some of our best concepts sprout when we are in a kindergarten mindset.
Our Clients come to us with wildly diverse challenges. Sometimes the problems are well defined and other times we are working to define the end users’ needs. In either case (or anything in between), an open mind and free thinking are keys to effectively exploring new ideas. Often finding the best solutions to the biggest challenges is achieved by an unconventional team and a change of scenery. That’s where we come in…
For years, Fredricks has understood the value in approaching daunting problems with an agile and open mindset; great concepts often grow from unexpected ideas. Our Workshops are designed to provide Clients with a chance to escape from the day-to-day operations and distractions of the office: the freedom and tools to generate these unexpected ideas. (more…)