Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What is the goal of design?

Last week I did go to Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. It was a costly trip by train and the admission fee was also much too high. Oh yeah and it rained cats and dogs, so that sets the scene!
Basically (former) students are sharing their work in various places.

However I did not see anything that I would consider to be useful, with the exception of a good-looking bike. The intent was to allow the manufacturing to happen here, rather than in China. The rest of the pots, carpets, lights and sites was not making me enthusiastic.

I might be mistaken, but isn’t the goal of good design to make a connection between the product and me, the customer?  And it was not only my experience; I did hear the same reaction from more people, that the show was very disappointing.

It looks like something is wrong with the way we are educating students. They should learn to design with the customer in mind, right from the start! Also I did ask the Design Academy whether they were focusing on service design (more than 80% of our economy is service based) or on sustainability. The response was a glaze of not knowing what I was talking the about. They were doing “ all kinds of design”.

The lack of interest in sustainability was also shocking, as many designers were having studios in the former Philips factories. These factories are huge concrete building with very high ceilings. I did ask what there were doing with respect to sustainability. The answer was “nothing” and they did complain about the costs of heating in the winter.

I would say that this is another missed chance. Students should be familiarized with sustainability in every aspect of their education.

How can we change as a society if we don’t teach students new and necessary approaches?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Detaching is crucial for small business owners

Especially in retail, small business owners make very long hours, each week. During daytime and part of the evening they are open to serve customers and when the shop is closed they have to do the admin, ordering and replenishing the stock.

They are in this routine, 6 days per week. That is quite challenging, physical as well as mental. The risk is that they have no time and energy left to scan and research the market. The only newness they bring are new products, which they got delivered from their distribution channel.

This means that they might be up for a big surprise, and it is likely not a nice surprise. E.g. a retailer of organic foods might be very satisfied with a steady growth in sales. What they are missing is that the large supermarkets are also very aware of this trend. These supermarkets are thus adding much more organic products to their collection. And that means that the niche retailers for organic products are loosing more market share than they initially had.

It is therefor crucial to set weekly one hour aside to look into the future, to scan the market and to consider innovation on all kind of levels. If you are not detaching from the daily grind, you might be in for a nasty surprise.

Are you detaching regularly?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!