“Companies are investing more into understanding their customers and trying to anticipate the perfect product. As designers we have seen or participated in focus groups, surveys, questionnaires, beta programs, and various forms of ethnographic research and observation in order to understand what consumers really want. More recently some organizations have begun to use co-creation sessions. These are participatory gatherings where designers and researchers sit with a panel of target users and, through story telling and with the help of “toolkits” (a collection of objects that may represent features, functions, or forms), try to elicit features that consumers might want but never knew how to explain. Although co-creation is still a far cry from users designing their own products, it is the closest we can get to translating user wants and needs. But what is the next level? Can we get even closer? […]
According to the designers involved in this exercise, it was an eye opening exercise, confirming to the designers what they had already suspected: that to a significant degree, consumers or end users really do know what they want or need in a product–even what they aspire to. But it is the job of the designer to tease it out of them, like a therapist helping a patient unlock their inner feelings. Sitting down with the students, evaluating their concepts, explaining the system architecture problems, the back-end of mechanical designâ€”all through a combination of explaining and educatingâ€”thesee were the steps in helping them to refine their raw content into the idealized end product they desired.”
Bryan Hynecek of Ignition reports on Core77 how his company teamed up with the Texas Instruments DLP Products Group and students from The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, putting together a program that would enable video gaming experts the chance to design their “ideal product”–a video projector design specifically for gamers.