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
25 September 2016
Three new reports on behavioural science applied to policy making
European Commission There is growing recognition that behavioural insights (BIs) – by shedding light on how people actually make choices – help deliver more effective policies and complement traditional forms of intervention. The Behavioural Insights Applied …
18 September 2016
Better decisions by design: applied behavioral science
Can we design a decision aid that gives us health information we need and counters our biases so that we end up more knowledgeable and confident in our preference? This is the challenge that …
18 September 2016
Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic on the home of the future
Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD (San Diego, USA), working with the students on design fiction and futurism. The residency …
5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing
The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to "transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and …
4 September 2016
Cognitive bias cheat sheet
Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment. Buster Benson has tried to arrange the rather exhaustive lists of cognitive …
3 September 2016
[Paper] Design for behaviour change as a driver for sustainable innovation
Design for Behaviour Change as a Driver for Sustainable Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for Implementation in the Private and Public Sectors Niedderer, K., Ludden, G., Clune, S. J., Lockton, D., Mackrill, J., Morris, A., Cain, R., …
30 August 2016
Intel’s Todd Harple proposes new toolkit for fashion designers
Fashion designers must integrate software, sensors, processors and new synthetic and biological materials into their toolkit, argues Intel anthropologist Todd Harple. "A fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of …
24 August 2016
New Human Centred Design toolkit launched for African context
Future by Design, a Human Centred Design (HCD) and customer-centricity consultancy focused on the African continent, has produced an HCD Toolkit (download link) that’s especially appropriate for an African context, and intended for application where …

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.

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

29 August 2016
Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

See all articles