image source: google images
Back to the future…
“The Jetsons” was a hit cartoon when I was growing up (produced by Hanna-Barbera,aired in primetime from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963). For a half hour every week, the show engulfed my imagination in a future world where people were enabled by robots, automation and streamlined, on demand mobility options. Rosie the maid was a robot and everything seemed so much easier for humans. The family seemed so happy, except when they were complaining about the hard work and minor inconveniences of life. Many things have changed over the years, now decades, and some things will remain the same.
This lifestyle, as it relates to mobility and the way we interact with products, is a reality in the developed countries of this world. CES showcased IoT, smart city, smart home and automotive technologies to improve our lives. That’s the idea anyway.
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.
City planning for the work space.
We commissioned a research and ideation project to explore the correlation between city planning and the design of work environments. The findings from this study supported our premise that any work environment is a landscape of unique environments and spaces designed to meet different types of activities and work styles. This connection is a powerful concept that can be leveraged on space planning and furniture design. Collaborative partnerships with the customer, A+D firms and product designers from diverse backgrounds will drive new thinking and dramatic improvements in the work place.
The work space continues to evolve and the next several years will be a challenging time for many furniture brands. The overall market is flat and there are simply a lot of companies competing for market share. Ongoing uncertainty in the market will require agility and responsiveness to customer demands for new thinking and solutions.
A recent day trip to Neocon in Chicago highlighted the trends that will shape the furniture market over the next several years and beyond.
Well, it’s now only 48 days until the doors open at Neocon 2017…yikes!
Many of our friends in the furniture business are drag racing to the deadline for installation of show properties and prototypes. Wash, rinse and repeat…it’s the same every year.
The furniture industry is not alone in their lean and compressed approach to new product development. Our work with automotive suppliers and consumer products companies is focused on the development of advanced projects, show properties, mock-ups, and prototypes. These are best-in-class companies with brilliant leadership, professional managers, gifted marketers, and fantastic creative and technical teams. Since the downturn, many of these companies have also accumulated significant stockpiles of cash. They have all the resources to do things well and we still find ourselves with tight timing, almost constant scope changes and team misalignment moving from early ideation to completion of show properties.
These are the top three reasons for this condition with a few suggestions for improved team performance and a better outcome to industry shows… (more…)