putting people first

by experientia
by experientia
25 September 2006

Design intervention at Philips [Fast Company]

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

Philips' Ambilight TV
In a long, in-depth Fast Company feature article, Jennifer Rheingold tries to answer the question if Philips will “emerge as a shining example of an organization that fueled its renaissance with design, or as one that ultimately failed because it lost sight of its real objective?”. In the article she provides a detailed portrait of the Philips Design unit and its role within Philips in general.

“Mapping out just how it should function has fallen in large part to Andrea Ragnetti, Philips’s chief marketing officer, and Stefano Marzano, the longtime CEO and chief creative director of Philips Design, a freestanding unit with 450 staffers, a satchelful of prestigious awards, and an estimated annual budget of $250 million. Marzano has been tapped to unify the company through what it calls ‘simplicity-led design’. He wants to establish his design principles–the unity of form and function, ease of use, and, in Philips’s world, improving the consumer’s life–as an organizing framework for the entire company, from its corporate structure to the ways departments and executives communicate, right on up to the user interface on every electronic gizmo.” […]

“Marzano’s attempt to overhaul Philips through design is not just some right-brain fantasia. There is a method here, one that draws together the data-driven old guard, the truest of blue-sky thinkers, and everyone in between. Marzano has devoted his career to exploring meta-trends in society and has put that experience at the center of product development at Philips. So, where a company of this scale would typically rely on designers or engineers to generate ideas in-house and then force them into the market, at Philips the process starts out as macrofocused as possible.”

“It starts, in other words, with a mandate not to develop the next iPod but to assess what, exactly, would change consumers’ lives for the better, whether a lightbulb or a music player. Drawing on broad, proprietary sociocultural research, the group– a small army of designers, social scientists, cultural experts, and assorted brainiacs–might identify, for example, an emerging baby boom, a global water shortage, or a growing desire to spend more time at home. It then distills its research into a series of “personas,” each representing a group with like-minded interests, needs, and values–on child rearing, maybe, or the ideal home. Only then do designers and engineers try to imagine and build a series of products such a composite person might want.” […]

“Ragnetti established a new vetting process three years ago in which design, marketing, and technology evaluate each new product idea as a team at every stage of development–both to translate the big think for more-analytical types and to anchor that big think in reality.”

“Philips is also trying to better track the impact of design at the company. Now, design shares its broad-based research at every early meeting to ensure that each proposed product is backed up by a real “validated proposition,” in Philips jargon. This means it’s based not on a hypothesis about what people might desire but rather on hard research that shows what people actually desire. Since March, the company has been tracking the percentage of R&D funds spent on such propositions; products that are now “mission critical,” meaning one to two years from the market, must be tied to research or they will not go forward. And thousands of managers have had to be retrained to understand these new metrics.”

Read full story

Be the first to share
Related Article
21 December 2014
Why Americans care more about experiences than possessions
Leslie Bradshaw, managing parter of Made by Many, describes Americans' shifting value systems. "Young people have redefined success, and their new definition values experience over possession. The word “experience” may sound like a code word for …
Related Article
19 December 2014
Beautiful users: book and exhibition
BOOK Beautiful Users: Designing for People Edited and designed by Ellen Lupton Princeton Architectural Press, 2014, 144 pages In the mid-twentieth century, Henry Dreyfuss, widely considered the father of industrial design, pioneered a user-centered approach to design that focuses …
Related Article
4 December 2014
There is no such thing as UX Design
Peter Merholz argues that the entire “field” of user experience emerged for one reason — to accommodate, and overcome, poor (or non-existent) product management practices. He now wants to retire the term: "'User experience design' served a …
Related Article
3 December 2014
Ericsson’s new ConsumerLab report about the smart citizen
Last month, Ericsson published its latest ConsumerLab report, entitled "Smart Citizens: How the internet facilitates smart choices in city life." The study covers 9 cities worldwide-Beijing, Delhi, London, New York, Paris, Rome, São Paulo, Stockholm and …
Related Article
27 November 2014
Deep dive into drinking occasions
Five years into his role as head of strategic insights at Heineken UK, Mick Doran believes that the brewing industry is learning valuable lessons from other FMCG sectors in becoming more consumer inspired and brand …
Related Article
27 November 2014
Are we viewing consumers as humans?
Underneath all the shopping, online searching, and purchasing is a human being who takes a particular action for very personal reasons, writes Jure Klepic in The Huffington Post. Those reasons maybe based on a response …
Related Article
27 November 2014
Intel, Tony Salvador, and design anthropology
Why would Intel need to conduct a tremendous amount of ethnographic research if all they are manufacturing are microchips? This short essay by Ioanis Hristodoulou eexamines Intel’s role in design anthropology on a worldwide context, exploring …
Related Article
20 November 2014
The Banks of the Future: An Experience Design Perspective
Banks should shift their role from payment processors to trusted consumer advisors by focusing on the customer experience, argues Rob Girling in an Op-Ed piece for PSFL. "My advice to banks is to start by looking …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

25 October 2014
Experientia president to speak at User Friendly 2014 in China

Experientia president Michele Visciola is one of the keynote speakers at User Friendly 2014, the annual user experience conference of UXPA China, to be held in Wuxi, China, 13 to 16 November. The theme of the 11th conference is the “new era of the experience economy,” thus underlining the importance of transferring UX concepts and […]

See all articles