A newborn begins to cry, inducing her neonatal neighbors to join in an ensemble of high pitch cries. A few years later, that child runs to hug her classmate in pain. As a teenager, she enjoys hanging out with her friends. Sometimes she laughs with them, even though she is not sure what they are laughing about. A few years later, this teen is a professional designer interviewing a user for the first time. Her colleagues say she is good at building an “emotional connection” with her clients. She cannot tell for sure why, but she feels she connects with the emotions of others and can sometimes experience on her flesh the sensations and feelings described by someone else.
Product development is a team sport in small food and beverage companies, requiring creative collaboration efforts between entrepreneurs and their stakeholders. As the epidemic continues to stir the marketplace and ways of working, rapidly created novel and rebranded products, sales channels and market positioning are emerging in response to the ongoing crisis.
We have started to measure what the user is thinking and it has given us quite a surprising result: we understand them up to 50%. This is significant. We tend to believe that when we talk to users and spend time in their environment, we get good user understanding.
For any new product to succeed, customers need to adopt it as part of their consumption habits. Food products represent specific types of consumer products in their high frequency of consumption, physiological function, actual ingestion of the product and socially embedded nature of food-related behavior, all of these adding up to the challenge of new product adoption. How to then enhance customer acceptance of new food products?
With the rising complexity and reach of technology, the work of designers can have global consequences. We need to be open to talking about the dark side of design and prepare for some difficult discussions on responsibility and who do designs include, exclude and advocate for.
Empathy is part of our everyday life. Empathy allows us to understand others and to feel the joys and sorrows of fictional movie characters as if they were real. Empathic understanding helps us to recognize the needs of other people and can even lead to extreme forms of unselfish behavior. People have even donated their kidney to an unknown person without expecting anything in return. Where does this remarkable ability originate? Often, it’s said that only humans can feel empathy. But what should we think, for example, about birds that show characteristics of empathy or unselfish behavior among single-celled organisms?
What will be the next big plant-based protein? Will insect food make a second coming? What is this fermentation thing that everybody seems to be talking about? Is veganism merely a fad or is it here to stay? The DesignBites research team spent last Friday at Vegemessut getting insights and perspectives on the Finnish food and beverage scene.
The ability to function effectively across national and cultural boundaries is a critical challenge faced by companies in the increasingly global economy. Idean, a Finnish design agency with a strong international presence, offers one example of a pathway to globalizing design services. Growth requires learning along the way, adapting plans and practices.
In engineering-driven organizations, designers often find themselves increasing design awareness amongst developers, selling the relevance of user research to management, or facilitating design workshops for product managers. Designers go beyond doing design work, and act as change agents creating more design-friendly working environments. Sharing showcases and offering opportunities for first-hand experience help to get the message across.