25 September 2006

Design intervention at Philips [Fast Company]

Be the first to share

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
10 November 2015
Why service design is luxury’s new battleground
Ana Andjelic writes in AdAge that most legacy luxury brands are failing at delivering service, especially online: The fact that most legacy luxury brands fail to successfully create and deliver service is unfortunate. The business of …
10 November 2015
For years, Apple followed user-centered design principles. Then something went wrong.
Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini are taking their gloves off and accuse Apple of abandoning the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, proper mapping, appropriate use of constraints, and, of course, the power to …
5 November 2015
Customer journey mapping is at the heart of digital transformation
Digital technologies such as analytics, mobility, social networks, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are making old ways of working redundant and forcing companies to transform. According to Raman Sapra, global head of Dell’s …
5 November 2015
[Conference] Design & The City, Amsterdam, April 2016
Design & The City explores citizen-centered design approaches for the smart city. Central theme is the role of design(ers) to create opportunities and practices for citizens, (social) entrepreneurs and policy makers towards more liveable, sustainable and …
3 November 2015
Another book entitled “The Quantified Self”
The Quantified Self By Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus MIT Press, 264 pp. April 2016 Oops, that is confusing: two books by sociologists on the quantified self movement, both entitled "The Quantified Self" and both appearing in April 2016. …
1 November 2015
User-centred design of the bridge of sea ships
The Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge Design has won this year’s Ergonomics Design Award, presented by the UK Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors. The award recognises industrial design which puts the customer at the heart …
26 October 2015
Madrid, the non-neoliberal smart city
Paul Mason, economics editor at Channel 4 News and occasional columnist at The Guardian, writes about an alternative smart city vision: the "non-neoliberal smart city" that is currently being developed in Madrid: Instead of seeing the …
23 October 2015
White paper: Design for aging
Designing the Second Half of Life: Innovation for Aging A visual white paper by Karten Design September 2015 The next 30 years will be a defining era for the American healthcare system, as the number of adults aged …

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.

13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
See all articles