17 September 2006

ZIBA Design’s search for the soul of the Chinese consumer

Be the first to share

Ziba Design on China
The “Inside Innovation” supplement of the current issue of Business Week features a lengthy article on Ziba Design‘s the ethnographic user research for Lenovo, China’s biggest computer company. The story goes into quite some depth on the methods and tools used.

The research won a 2006 gold Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) from the Industrial Designers Society of America.

“Lenovo asked us to help them define product opportunities for their consumer divisions in desktop, notebook, and cellular so they could better compete on meaning and value. We needed to create an approach that captured the soul of the Chinese consumer and inspired Lenovo’s design teams. We needed to create new research tools to find out which design elements have meaning and value for specific groups of Chinese consumers. We provided Lenovo with a 36-month strategic product plan for each of its three consumer technology platforms. Because we were building a strategy, our design research had to create targets for idea generation and concept refinement.”

“To create product experiences that connect with China’s consumers, the team needed to understand three cultures: China, users, and products. To build these connections, the team developed an approach called “Search for the Soul,” which integrates immersive experience (live-the-life), rapid ethnography, and method acting to uncover latent needs and wants.” […]

Based on the research, the team identified “the aspirations, behaviors, and needs of distinct clusters [of users]. These clusters became known as ‘technology tribes’. The five technology tribes identified were: Social Butterflies, Relationship Builders, Upward Maximizers, Deep Immersers, and Conspicuous Collectors. Each of these groups has vastly different needs, ranging from the need to connect to a broad social network (Social Butterflies) to the desire to seek escape through fantasy and immersion (Deep Immersers).”

These profiles drove concept generation, allowed for “a clear understanding of who Lenovo’s target consumers ought to be (four primary tech tribes: Social Butterflies, Relationship Builders, Upward Maximizers, and Deep Immersers) and laid the groundwork to create product-line strategies for Lenovo’s desktop, notebook, and cellular platforms.

In conclusion:

“The definition of rich, psychographic tribes gave Lenovo’s senior management and marketing teams a common language and a common vision of the future. Our research gave them a defined segment map (based on behavior, attitudes, and values) to guide the development of appropriate products for target consumers. Future product lines are now organized around the needs of specific “tech tribes.” Our research gave Lenovo an understanding of Western approaches to creativity and markets. Within months of the completion of this project in 2005, Lenovo cemented its commitment to high-value design by acquiring IBM’s PC (ThinkPad) business unit.”

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 …
30 October 2015
[Book] Digital Ethnography
Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice By Sarah Pink, Heather Horst, John Postill, Larissa Hjorth, Tania Lewis and Jo Tacchi (RMIT University) SAGE Publications October 2015, 216 pages Abstract This sharp, innovative book champions the rising significance of ethnographic research on …
29 October 2015
An ethnography of tax-avoidance experts
Sociologist Brooke Harrington realized that if she were ever going to understand global inequality she would have to become one of the people who helps create it. So she trained to become a wealth manager …

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