This article is the first in a series of three that will dissect some of the tragic mistakes we see in today’s industrial design and highlight some best practices for creating product experiences that move us forward.
User-centered design is absolutely critical to the success of most, if not all, products. But it’s not enough, especially when we consider high-value complex systems, where many different stakeholders must interact with the product successfully. If anyone in the chain has a poor experience, the success of your product is put at risk.
Only one of those stakeholders is the user.
Over the past few weeks, there have been all sorts of interesting rumors concerning a possible foray into the automobile business by our favorite purveyor of consumer lust, Apple. Being an ex-Ford engineer, I have a basic understanding of what it takes to design, build, sell and service a car line, so my first reaction was total disbelief. Auto manufacturing is hugely capital-intensive, highly regulated, and has low margins compared to Apple’s current business. Why the heck would Apple want to get involved in something like this?
Have you ever been given a project or challenge that on the surface seems like it has only one answer? Before you’ve even begun, you run through the logical outcome scenarios in your head and come to the conclusion that there is only one way to solve it. We call this a highly constrained solution space
Low cost “desktop” 3D printers seem to be getting lots of “buzz” these days, and rightly so. As described in the M3 Design Journal article “Low-Cost 3D Printers”, the cost, reliability and capability of that class of devices is improving at a rapid clip. But where else might 3D printing, or more accurately, “Additive Manufacturing” be headed, and how might it affect product development in the future? Let’s explore.
I don’t think any other six words in the English language have done more damage to product developers than “Do it right the first time”, otherwise known as “DRIFT”.
Over the past 25 years, I have worked with hundreds of companies that were navigating through the process of selecting a product development firm. If I were in the role of selecting a product development firm, what would I do differently if it were my money?
The recent inundation of low-cost desktop style 3D printers has nearly everyone considering purchasing one. In the past year alone, all the big players in the low-cost segment have made major improvements to their core models or introduced completely new ones. These new printers now offer real utility to everyone from the small business to the corporate entity. With these improvements in mind, is it finally time for us non-tinkerers to take these low-cost models seriously and invest in a desktop 3D printer? Let’s take a look at the details.
Back during the last Internet bubble (think drive-by venture capital and sock-puppets), I was part of a team that was developing high-reliability systems for the telecommunications industry. My manager at the time called me into his office for a chat about what he was looking for in his team.
“Gray,” he said, “We are going to change the Telecom world and the only way we can do that is with a team that is absolutely expert in Telecom and only Telecom. I don’t want any generalists. I want people who are an inch wide and a mile deep.”
I’ve been in too many kickoff meetings where the program seems to be solely centered on a competitive response to a rival product. I’ve sat through slide after slide about how competitor X has this hot new feature, and why we need to add more and more features to counter it. In this article, I will present four principles explaining why this practice promotes marginalized innovation, and ultimately turns your brand into a commodity.