11 Design Strategies of the Next Decade

Click here if you cannot view this slideshow document from designsojourn.

At the end of last year I was planning to write a post that was something like “The Best Products of 2009” or “The 2009 Product of the Year” or even “The Best Products of the Decade”. After asking my twitter friends and designers what they thought, and compiling their feedback and suggestions, I realize this did not make sense, as I was not in a position to actually trial enough products to make an accurate call.
Not only that, I realized that the Internet was littered with such product “Oscar Awards”. Unfazed, I decided to instead focus on something that is closer to the core focus of this site. Design strategy and direction.
At the same time while I was drafting the content of this post, I was contacted by the PR folks from Waggner Edstrom, and asked if I would be interested to take part as 1 of the 5 expert panelist in an event organized by HP + Microsoft called Future Is. They asked me if I would be interested to share what I thought the Future Is from the perspective of an industrial designer.

As with most weird cosmic convergences, I was more than happy to share, last Saturday, my 11 Design Strategies of the Next Decade on this public platform but I only managed to share 1 out of my 11 strategies during the panel discussion. However the sideshow above contains the full 11 strategies and thus you will get to read the entire presentation instead of being there.
Besides only having 5 minutes to present, the reason why the full slide presentation is published here was that HP would like to take this discussion online and engage the world’s budding design futurists. HP would like to hear your thoughts on what the Future Is to you?
Now to encourage you guys to stop lurking and start sharing, I am giving away a HP Mini 5101 for the best comment, which I will select. Comments from regular readers get extra brownie points! (Just Kidding)
HP Mini 5101
If only it was that easy! The other 4 bloggers will also share their thoughts online and only the contributors of the best, most interesting and vibrant discussion will get a chance to win this giveaway! So do start writing, tweeting and passing the word around! But most of all I hope you will enjoy the article and the conversations that follow.
Disclaimer 1: It seems that if the judges pick this as the winning discussion, I get to win a HP Envy 15. So if you win, I win! As I’m in the market for a PC and I have a belly to feed, this will really help me out! (Heh-heh no pressure!)
Disclaimer 2: I intentionally left Green out of the presentation as I consider Green is a basic “hygiene factor” i.e. a must do in the next decade.

  • Russel Nelson

    February 9, 2011 at 1:15 am Reply

    The future of industrial design. I am sure there is a future for this area of design with some folks angleing more towards product design. I have been looking at many of the design projects for years as product. With some product being small and others large like cities. My skills have enabled me to assist many designers and artists making models and drawings. Although I have not been won over to doing a great deal of my work on the computer. I think this skill will continue to feed into the work of Industrial Designers. I we measure the success of work, will relie on how we feel about the work. If the work makes you feel good, then there is a good chance that other folks will also enjoy what you are doing. If the groups that gain enjoyment are large will play a great deal into the success of the product. If our products become a blight on the environment then I question their success. Quite simply put if the world has no future then there is no stage for our work to exist on. Another experience for the designer is the speed of development. In our future rapid prototyping will bring many proucts to market much faster. This will not necessary gurantee success. The longer the lifespan of any products created by Industrial Designer the longer they will be enjoyed, the more use derived from them, and less energy used to replace them. How we as Industrial Designers see our designs and how they fit into our lives can be a profound statment. Sooner or later we just might get it right the way we want it. Enjoy Russel Nelson

  • Christian

    April 2, 2010 at 5:31 am Reply

    Really interesting post, very nice reading and I think this will be a material to read and look through a couple of times to question your future approach to design.

  • Dan Zollman

    February 11, 2010 at 2:57 pm Reply

    Exactly. “Wisdom of the Crowds” is a new strategy for getting user or consumer input, but it’s still user/consumer input, so this shares many of the limitations of every other strategy for doing so.

  • DT

    February 10, 2010 at 9:48 pm Reply

    @Dan Zollman: Thanks for the link to Littlebits its a good one and something I will find the time to study a little more.
    There are lots of problems with Wisdom of the Crowds. One big one, for sure, is the ability of filtering the noise. Therefore the reason why people don’t understand it or get it wrong and fall flat because they don’t harness it right. When you don’t have control, it becomes a free for all information mess.
    I am a big believer that asking people is the wrong way to get radical or innovator ideas. So to me its about how you harness the Wisdom of the Crowds and still innovate? Here is one way. My Spaces of Ideas project as well as Threadless leverages on the crowd to help make decisions, but ultimately it is still requires an enlighten thinker to make that difference or start the ball rolling.
    Thanks for keeping the discussion going!

  • DT

    February 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm Reply

    @zippy: Thanks for your comments, as usual it comes from a huge pool of experience, and as such the design community is much better because of it. Also, apologies for the the late reply, as I have been caught up at work. Let me touch on a few of your points.
    I intentionally included the silicone jewelry more to provoke as well as share the possibilities materials can be pushed to. I tried to leave the equation of beauty out of this, and leave that decision to the designer. I agree with your assessment on materials, but I think what makes sense also is the materials should be used in relevant applications.
    I will think about your suggestion about UI, and perhaps add it into my deck! I used to think that eventually the world of objects would dissolve into a screen. Miniaturization and cloud computing means you need very little electronics and the screen would be the largest object around.
    Personally, I believe buttons will come back. Its effect and usability is undeniable. Perhaps it will evolve into a haptic object, only time and clever design will tell.
    Once again thanks for your time in penning that long comment and feedback!

  • Donald Fogarty

    February 2, 2010 at 1:47 am Reply

    I don’t normally post, but my laptop currently sounds like a helicopter so i have good reason…
    I’m currently writing a dissertation on how products affect consumers, with the aim of working out whether or not we can design products to encourage consumers to act more responsibly. I was hoping one of your strategies covered this, but, many of the strategies you did mentioned are inter-linked so you’ve helped!
    As we see rapid advances in manufacturing and design over the next decade, products are set to become more widespread and eventually, more unique to the user….’everyone’ has an iPod, but in ten years, can i realistically order one online and have it printed out with my personal design and user software down at my local store? ready within 1 hour…probably not possibly!
    Therefore i think a real emphasis when it comes to future design, should be on how the product affects the users lifestyle and is that effect positive or negative. Where can we design to ensure users continue to act responsibly or even begin to act reponsibly. How can we remove certain bad traits from society through the products people buy.
    I would appreciate any thoughts you have on this, and think that, as someone who blogs on design, you will have considered this before. I’m not on a crusade but i want to provide some evidence that the consumerist society we have created, whether it be in western civilisation or growing countries/continents, can actually be used to harness responsibility for ourselves and our planet.
    I would appreciate anyones thoughts on products they feel already encourage responsibilty or how exisiting products could evolve to turn negatives into positives. Or how effective such a shift in design would be on impacting the consumer.

  • DT

    January 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm Reply

    @Dan Zollman: Hey Dan, thanks for the insightful comment and a link to my post from your blog. Here are some of my thoughts.
    1) Software, widgets, developer APIs etc. are definitely far ahead of products when it comes to the modularity game. It is just the flexible nature of the medium that allows software to go modular so quickly. But as a product’s experience is both tangible and intangible, it will be a matter of time before tangible products will catch up.

    Finally, with smartphones and the like, we are approaching a seamless integration between the web itself and the products with which we use and experience the web. I think this is one place where the modularity of the web and of mobile software will extend to the products: components and peripherals will be selected and interchanges with each other while software will find ways to relate to our physical environments. In other words, software AND hardware AND our physical and social experiences, together as a single system, will see new forms of modularity.

    Great comment. I actually started drafting a similar trend which I called “App-ilization” referencing Products and their App stores, somehow that got shaped into my “offline is the new online” trend. I suppose I was looking at it from a brand perspective.
    Going back to your comment, I quite agree, the tangible and the intangible will work much closer together in the near future. The important thing to consider is tangible products will become conduits of this experience.
    2) Great observation on the changing roles of designers in response to enabling factors for amateurs to excel. Thanks for the brilliant example of amateur film makers and the link to Ji Lee. I will try to spend some time to digest his presentation. Once again thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. BTW Sugru is great and I’ll respond to your other comments after I reply to Zippyflounder.
    @Bonnie Van Tassel: Bonnie, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. I do hope that Design Thinking can transcend design and designers and become part of the fabric of every organization. If designers trained in design thinking can see part that, they will find so many more applications to their skills other than “form giving”. Please keep in touch?
    @Korry Richards: Hey Korry, thanks for your vote of confidence and also sharing your thoughts.

  • DT

    January 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm Reply

    @Gwen: Thanks for the really nice and long discussion comment! I love it. Here are a few of my thoughts in reply. Oh sorry for the delay, I wanted to ensure I set aside enough time to give the answer the care it needs.
    1)I think you need to look beyond the use of “wood”. That is also why I called that segment “inspired by materials”. People will never get wooden computers simply because it does not make sense. Replacing a material for something else is really just form for form’s sake and a recipe for failure. The choice of materials has to make sense, and thus when a design gets inspired by it.
    2)Personally things like going green, universal design (for kids, aging etc) will be part of the solution. If and when design thinking gets into the system on a much higher level, products will automatically be designed to consider such requirements. I’ll say its a hygiene factor.
    3)Modularity is for sure not for everyone. But it is a means to an end. If a product is designed for a customizable experience, then modularity is the answer. I see going forward more and more people wanting their personalized experience and thus I felt Modularity is one of the ways to go. One last comment, actually a modular system is essentially a platform design and cheaper to manufacture than product “islands”
    Once again thanks for sharing your thoughts and please keep in touch.

    @Eric: Thanks for stopping by.

    The reality is that this makes as much sense as me calling myself a doctor just because I can spend the day doing Google searches and diagnosing myself. Will everyone become a doctor, lawyer, playwright and chef too?

    The short answer to your question is yes.
    Here is the long answer. I would say it depends how you define design no? If say a 13 year old that has long hair and spends 30mins to braid it or decorate it with pins, would you not say she has “designed” her hair? Another great example is photographers. Ask yourself how many people now call themselves photographers? Simply because DSLRs are now so cheap that the enabling conditions are all there. Really it is a matter of time before this happens, and I would really task designers to really take a hard look at what they are doing.

    @William Sutton: That is an interesting view.

    I predict that the form and surface detail of manufactured objects is going to move towards more ornamented and baroque designs.

    I’m not 100% agreeable with you, but I can see where you are coming from. I think people may start to get tired of plain surfaces, and hunger for more. But this would only appeal to a small subset of the population (My guess?). Not only that, there is more to a product than just the skin. The Mac computer that I’m typing this on is a good example.

    @CV: Hey thanks for your great comment. I fully agree with you. Amateurs will never replace Pros. That is really why someone is called a Pro. I see it more that Designers, or Photographers if you take a look at my example above, will have to really lift their game and push themselves to keep on getting better. Put it this way, there are some really really awesome photographs taken by amateurs.

  • Dan Zollman

    January 21, 2010 at 11:04 am Reply

    Also, replying to DT’s comment about using technology to design in different ways: one thing that comes to mind is Smart Design’s littleBits, which is an electronics kit that makes it easy to rapidly prototype interactive hardware products:
    That as well as Arduino are both opportunities to make interactive prototypes a bigger part of the iterative design process. Without systems like these, you’d either have to engage in a much slower prototyping process (difficult to make that an intimate part of the design process) or simulate in on the computer. There is no substitute for the ability to _physically_ experience this type of interaction.
    I’m not convinced that “wisdom of the crowds” or crowdsourcing has much value for design. Design researchers know that it will be unhelpful or even counterproductive to ask consumers for ideas or recommendations because consumers a) often misunderstand their own wants, needs, and behaviors, and b) won’t usually be able to foresee an innovation. Even focus groups have limited value; they can help refine a product, but not innovate. As you know, the best way to learn about users is to observe and interview with the right approach…you can’t do either by conferring with the cloud.
    On the other hand, the internet WILL continue to have an increasing influence on design by influencing the way ideas, beliefs, values, and styles travel between countries and cultures.

  • Dan Zollman

    January 21, 2010 at 10:42 am Reply

    Zippyflounder makes a good point in saying that manufacturing can fake some materials. But, regardless of whether or not fake materials are used, the visual characteristics aren’t the only ones that matter: the texture, feel (as mentioned in slide 7), weight, and strength of the material, structural attributes (choice of material affects how it might be put together), and even the sounds it makes when handled are all part of the intrinsic and emotional values in the material. The way designers value those attributes will determine the materials they use. Fake materials will fail to match all of those characteristics; however, those differences between materials are what define them in the first place. So is “celebrating beautiful materials” about celebrating natural materials, or is it really about valuing certain properties of materials? Will “beauty” in a material be determined by the way we interpret the “naturalness” of the material, or by the perceived physical characteristics of the material? Either way, I think it’s about much more than the economic value of the material…real materials might be more expensive, but even if they are, the “ultra high end consumer” isn’t the only one who cares.
    Responding to the comment about evolved products: it’s an interesting idea that we are trying to make “universal products.” I think that’s partly related to the fact that there are so many new internet-related technologies, and consumers want to be able to use all of them (at least, companies want consumers to think that way), so the evolution of “universal products” is just as much the result of market positioning as it is the result of design. Will that change any time soon? And, while this has started with smartphone and TVs, will the “universal product” trend move into consumer products that don’t involve the internet?
    Thinking about that last question further–we do already have lots of products that combine the functions of multiple products…everything from Swiss army knives to furniture. So maybe the “universal product” isn’t a new trend, but a trend that has already existed for a while and is finally moving into cell phones, TVs, etc.

  • zippyflounder

    January 21, 2010 at 5:12 am Reply

    DT: I looked through your slide presentation on design strategies and thought to comment. Some of your points are timeless, in that the stratagem was smart in the past and will be in the future. New manufacturing process allows design to use new form factors that before only existed in the imagination and or rendering. This extends back a long way, heck swoopy mass produced products only came about because of mold able plastic. Any good designer needs to be on top of new materials and processes and use them where appropriate. The rub is that we humans have not changed as much as some people think, a early person from the late stone age would (given their cave art and carvings) like many of the same forms that we do now and so new forms for their own sake may not always resonate.
    In create beautiful materials you show a few examples that have less to do with materials than forms that we find appealing, the coral like fractal complexity, the fluid compound curve, the clean line. New mfg process will allow for better fakes, so its just the question of what you want to fake. Some materials have intrinsic value, others emotional. Some materials denote more value and illicit more emotional response due to their perceived rarity and or difficulty in using. The deep luster and warm tones of fine hardwood be it in furniture or a Rolls Royce dashboard screams time and craftsmanship to such a large extent that companies spent a fortune on developing processes to mimic them. In the end however the original true material and process still carries the higher emotional value because of its inherent exclusivity. In time the line between real and fake blurs, the “wood” in a S class Benz looks like the real deal but only when it comes to gaining warmth with age does it fail. We still live in a largely disposable society, so a “real” material only matters to the ultra high end consumer or the person who will collect them in the future.
    The evolving product: In certain classes of product you will end up with the universal device where the user interface if intuitive enough allows for the item to be anything the customer wants at any time. As we have seen with the Iphone and flat screen TV’s the form factor and the materials its built of becomes much less important, its all about the UI. The design of intuitive UI is going to be hot, and to a extent cultural and regional but in the end the device will be smart enough to respond to normal human communication modes such as “call bill”, “where am I”, “where is Steve”, “whats happening”. Speech recognition is evolving and will be close to the ultimate UI and no doubt will be cracked with in this decade. There are whole other classes of products that will incorporate the universal product into them, transportation and housing come to mind. As much as designers like to try a truck makes a poor urban car and house rarely flies well more than one.
    Design and brand: This is a sticky one, and is do largely on the market served, in apparel the brand is a huge part of the appeal of the product. It gives the owner a membership into the “club” of like minded that use the logo as broadcast to others. In other markets it is more blurred where features and performance for the money is keystone. This value proposition will be the chief motivator in the coming decade due to the natural recoil from the over consumption of the prior decade and economic collapse. Good design will become the norm, and that is good design as that market defines it, but only when attached to good value.
    Design to communicate: Its not about brand, it is about design for your markets taste and being bound intrinsically with real value. A brand “look” as stated before will be important in only a few markets. The ability to ask the “cloud” if a product is good, durable, and provides good value will be much more important than a brand look.
    Simplicity: Transparent operation and function, look back on TV’s. TV’s for decades were slathered in fine wood so as to disguise their function when not in use, with time and their usage becoming around the clock they devolved into just the screen. The TV’s totally transparent operation belies all the technological magic in the background, the user just don’t care, they are only interested in the content. The more reliable and transparent the operation of a device is, the less important will be the container. The alternative is where the container is just a whimsical fashion choice by the individual a good example is the skins that are applied to Iphones and the like. The market for personalization will be good but transitory because it is fashion and that changes by the season and the whim of the fashion movers.
    Modularity: Feature creep is normal, driven partly by the need to advertise something new and by technology. For many products new features will be new software, that is downloaded by the end user to fit real or perceived needs. New hardware modules will likely only exist on areas where improvements in physics apply such as power supplies.
    Off line is the new on line: This go’s back to the notion that brand is important, to some it will be but for most of the market place (given the wake up call the economy gave us all) it will be about price versus performance and if the new enhanced performance is even worth the replacement cost.
    Haptic: The feel of a product has always been a cornerstone of good design, be it the feel of a well designed tool or the bounce of a key on a good keyboard. In consumer electronics it will be a war between IO and the human form, lets face it buttons can be only so small and numerous before they become useless.
    Silicon value:The customization of consumer electronics with after market accessories will be normal mostly on the software side as more and more manufactures realize that even though the products are personal they are largely disposable. This disposable issue may allow for ultra short run or in factory customization of the case much like the auto industry did for years with pages and pages of options offered from the factory.
    Wisdom of the crowd (market): The ability to research your market and even test fly product concept and executions has never been easier. Any designer that does not take full advantage of this is at core a artist not a product designer. The hazard is taking the most vocal of the “crowd” as the real core opinion for you design direction. Taking direction from a crowd is highly dependent on the means of communication, in text people are some what more honest (sometimes) and more devious. The gold standard is still face to face, we humans communicate so much non verbally (text is even worse) that its crazy not to use use the electronic version of focus groups. There are also markets such as fashion where the market wants to be lead, not consulted and so it will remain the domain of the rock star designer.
    Fabbing: The statement that “everyone now can be a designer” is at its core hubris. To be human is to be a designer and inventor, it’s the hall mark of our species. A good analogy is cooking, almost everybody can cook, but restaurants of all types from drive tru’s to 5 star’s exist. The reason is simple, some folk are just better and more passionate about it than others with a dedication and access to materials that many do not. The real impact of fabbing will come from in factory ultra short run accessories. If there is no tooling involved then a customer can select a option or with the help of a more talented designer (real or software) have their desire made real. In sum, designers are like chef’s they have a ability that over time has been honed to a high standard to create things that their customers want and have found value in.

  • Korry Richards

    January 20, 2010 at 11:34 pm Reply

    I am so glad I found the time to look through your presentation. I cant agree with you more on your concerns of how we can design differently, and how the influence of technology affects design and the process of developing innovative solutions. I think the last decade was dedicated to that, and your presentation called out alot of the successful solutions that took advantage of the new technologies and in result strived from them.
    I think the next decade will/should be focused on broad application of these new technologies and a vast appreciation of the industrial designer and what they could bring to the table for a large spectrum of companies or organizations. I think the from 2010 – 2020 industrial designers will be placed in law firms, sports organizations and even non profit groups to take the new technologies that are being developed and apply them in the most sufficient way. The abundance of “designers” is growing with the advancements of Design programs, availability of a 3D modeling software and rapid prototype but at the same time, opportunities for “designers” will grow in the next decade as well. The fact that I am a part of this growing culture is what puts a smile on my face 🙂 . Thanks for your post. I look forward to reading more of the blog.
    Korry Richards

  • Bonnie Van Tassel

    January 20, 2010 at 11:07 pm Reply

    Thank you for putting together a very insightful presentation. I find myself being inspired by industry leaders who continue to promote the value of human factors and usability as major design drivers. I also think that the collaborative aspect of your presentation is good, as well. As a designer in a very new-designer-saturated city I find more and more companies willing to bring in design thinkers to help shape not only their tangible products, but influence their services and manufacturing. With this I am hoping that the industry will grow and become more mainstream in what businesses will consider an essential service.

  • DT

    January 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm Reply

    Hello everyone!
    I have to thank all of you for the fantastic responses. I am taking my time to really read through them all, sometimes 3-4 times to make sure I really understood what you meant.
    One thing to consider is that this presentation has a baseline with technology. How we can design differently, with the influence of technology, and processes that we are able to use because of technology.
    I have been really busy in the last week and am planning to find a good time to reply, if any that do need replying. Meanwhile please keep those comments coming?

  • Dan Zollman

    January 12, 2010 at 8:14 am Reply

    Interesting discussion; thanks for posting the slides.
    Modularity is an interesting one because modular products have certainly been around for a while, but the nature of that modularity is changing. The concept has appeared in many forms in the context of product design and architecture (of course, there will always be cross-pollination of design patterns and concepts between media), but at the moment I’m thinking about software: in the past decade we’ve seen more forms of modularity appear in software. And, it is no longer limited to the way developers create the software, but it also appears on the consumers’ side, becoming part of the way they use software. Think of browsers and browser extensions, or WordPress and its thousands of themes and plugins. Now social networking and bookmarking, online collaboration, and other Saas are approaching a similar model; many other product are just now springing up to integrate online services and experiences in different ways–the web itself is turning into a modular system where any service can be integrated with another.
    Finally, with smartphones and the like, we are approaching a seamless integration between the web itself and the products with which we use and experience the web. I think this is one place where the modularity of the web and of mobile software will extend to the products: components and peripherals will be selected and interchanges with each other while software will find ways to relate to our physical environments. In other words, software AND hardware AND our physical and social experiences, together as a single system, will see new forms of modularity. One great example, which is a great innovation but is still only at the beginning of what’s possible, is Square (https://squareup.com).
    On the subject of consumers becoming/replacing designers, I don’t think it’s a question of _whether_ consumers will become designers so much as a question of _how_ consumers’ and designers’ _roles_ will change. Sure, some consumers will have enough money and free time to make their own objects with rapid prototyping marchines; some people will call themselves designers and try to fill that role even without the knowledge or expertise one would need in order to do any justice to the profession. Over the long term, however, there will be a shift in roles.
    Again, software, internet, and media may give us insight into what could happen: amateur and independent programmers, artists, writers, and film makers have been able to reach high skill levels and to produce software, content, videos, and art that have been distributed as widely as commercial software or content has. But the greatest growth and the greatest impact of the democratization of these technologies have not come from amateurs who try to act as professionals (yes, open source software has had quite an impact, but it has not involved the greatest number of amateurs as creators). What has involved the greatest participation from amateurs and the general public are _platforms_ for participation and creation: blogs and Twitter, YouTube and other video sites, frameworks for software extensions and plugins, content management systems for websites, deviantART. Ze Frank talks a lot about creating platforms for participation; so does Ji Lee in this talk which was just posted today: http://the99percent.com/videos/6231/ji-lee-the-transformative-power-of-personal-projects
    So what does this suggest about the future of industrial design? Even though the medium is much different and requires different types of resources, I think the future for consumers-as-designers will be in _platforms_ for design and creation. There’s already quite a history of “design hacks” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/21120742/Design-Society-Hacking-Design), there’s Make Magazine, and there’s Arduino and related platforms, which have great potential for product design. While I don’t think the current role of industrial designers will disappear for a very long time (if ever), I think we’ll also see designers creating products that act as platforms and frameworks for design, both on a large scale for very flexible application (consumer-friendly RP machines?) and on a smaller scale (e.g. Sugru – http://sugru.com/).
    I guess that was a somewhat roundabout post–but the point is, both for these two trends and for some of the other design strategies, other media may follow similar patterns; models and concepts may move from software design to industrial design, or from industrial design to somewhere else, etc. As the physical and digital become even more difficult to separate than they are now, many of these trends and patterns will converge.

  • C.V

    January 12, 2010 at 4:43 am Reply

    Great Post! As far as design goes in the next decade with rapid prototyping and desktop 3D printers becoming more available to the general public a lot of people will start designing their own products but by no means will they replace the professional Industrial Designers. Just because someone buys carpentry tools and does some amateur work, will he replace the professional? No, when someone wants real professional work done they still turn to the professionals. Also, products will probably start to be sold off the internet and printed at home, so it will be a whole new market for Industrial designers.

  • William Sutton

    January 12, 2010 at 4:05 am Reply

    I predict that the form and surface detail of manufactured objects is going to move towards more ornamented and baroque designs.
    This is because industrial design always seems to show marks of the tools available to the designer. sleek NURBS surfaces created in programs like Rhino will start to look plain when compared to the organinic hyper-detailed sculpture created in Zbrush.

  • Eric

    January 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm Reply

    I enjoyed the 11 Strategies slide show. I do tend to disagree with you on consumer designed products. (Gwen brings out some great points.) I know more and more people are presuming to call themselves designers because they have access to things like pirated software, online access to other peoples work to rip off, crowdsourcing advocates, etc. The reality is that this makes as much sense as me calling myself a doctor just because I can spend the day doing Google searches and diagnosing myself. Will everyone become a doctor, lawyer, playwright and chef too?

  • gwen

    January 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm Reply

    I am sort of lost for words. I have conflicting points of views in terms of the future of the next decade. And perhaps others agree or disagree… it is all subjective really.
    starting with agreement – textured surface designs for all electronics and it will transcend into everywhere, though I don’t think technological devices will truly look like nature (wood, grass, stone, dirt) and it relates back to not the hardware but the software design. Once the software design is intuitive and responsive within the “touch” technological world then maybe I will start seeing the devices having “natural” elements. I just think consumers will not like wood computers is the software does not allow them to “feel” at peace working in the forest.
    This is a personal design topic of mine – design for the aging. It will mostly be felt in the decade of 2020 but this decade we need to start being more proactive of what to do. While every young designer is about green design, I focused my attention to elderly design. The reason is that we have a system in place where it’s the elderly taking care of the oldest old. I know that intel and microsoft have been researching in these areas, I personally feel that you can go so far with research but we must act. –producing & improving products; testing & redevelop these products – I am not just talking about medical products, basic packaging design to open/close and operate are problematic. (I could go on about aging design but enough said).
    One slight disagreement, & I am not sure if I actually disagree with the statement or I am seeing technology based organizations doing it in the opposite direction. The idea of modular components/products, I agree I like the concept of making products simple and modular but I am seeing organizations taking the approach to have their hardware design very generic shape and form for quick & easy manufacturing. But they challenge me & others to create multiple experiences when operating this hardware. It is like they are telling me – “we created this form, so tell us what its story should be.” Of course, to me this is not the innovative “valid” understanding of product strategy. I believe form is always after you have created the story of the user’s experience. Except this forces companies to start build customizable or modular systems which manufacturing cost is higher to produce.
    The concept of having our consumers become designers. I think this will be a phase that will not even reach year 2019. Consumers are not designers, but it depends on the product we are looking at. For threadless, correct that will not die, just like all those t-shirt silkscreen operations back in the 80s/90s it just went on the web. But pushing the bucket of consumer designed products into our consumer goods and electronics, that is an unfortunate “no” answer. The two main reason – liablity issues & consumers don’t know what they want. They are good crits for insulting your design and how to use a product so you can “improve” the design but not helping to make a innovative product for a need they don’t even know they need. BUT…. I believe in “generative” workshops – co-creation is the other jargon word for it. These workshops will explode next decade, setting up a space with lots of props, tools, crafting materials to allow your consumers to help build on new product ideations. It is similar to focus groups but getting your consumer to stop having verbal conversations but to do activities/exercises to add in criticism that is “constructive.”
    (btw…. Threadless internally have a unique operating system a co-worker interviewed one of their designers and when you start working there as a designer or manager, you work as a groundfloor man understanding their manufacturing system and the entire infrastructure so you know everyone (and their role) that works there)
    The last one (of course it never ends for future predictions) gestural interaction. I keep it as “gestural” because the concept of “touch” implies the user to use their index finger and thumb to interact with the devices. The hand is a work of art. We only scratched the surface of what our hands are capable of doing. It is sense close to a 100th of an inch, but we can not manufacture at that detail within injection molding processes. There are different “electrical” points – we can control an alorgithm that can create different functions of touch from different parts of our hand. And we have three other fingers too….. Space definition will also imply to this new level of gestural interaction….
    Sorry for the length but when I saw your slides (yes I read your notes… but the slides made me write… also CES is still in my head bouncing around at the moment too. LOL)

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