Tag Archives: problem solving

25 Apr

how to plan, develop and deliver a show property

source for image: Adient.com

Well, it’s now only 48 days until the doors open at Neocon 2017…yikes!

Many of our friends in the furniture business are drag racing to the deadline for installation of show properties and prototypes. Wash, rinse and repeat…it’s the same every year.

The furniture industry is not alone in their lean and compressed approach to new product development. Our work with automotive suppliers and consumer products companies is focused on the development of advanced projects, show properties, mock-ups, and prototypes. These are best- in-class companies with brilliant leadership, professional managers, gifted marketers, and fantastic creative and technical teams. Since the downturn, many of these companies have also accumulated significant stockpiles of cash. They have all the resources to do things well and we still find ourselves with tight timing, almost constant scope changes and team misalignment moving from early ideation to completion of show properties.

These are the top three reasons for this condition with a few suggestions for improved team performance and a better outcome to industry shows… Read More

17 Jan

CES and Auto Show 2017 automotive insights

 

Photo Jan 05, 5 18 44 PM

image source: maury fredricks @ CES 2017 BMW showroom

I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on my experience over the past two weeks at CES and Auto Show.

The sequential timing of the shows this year was challenging. I am curious about what is going on behind the scenes with the planning teams for both shows. Will the shows be held during the first two weeks of January 2018 or will they get smart and collaborate on timing to attract more automotive attendees out to the desert? Schedules aside, it was a wonderful experience and I am energized about the future of the mobility business and the challenges ahead!

We find ourselves at unique moment in time to work on wicked problems for drivers and passengers. The trending for autonomous vehicles continues to pick up pace and it will not be long before we are able to call up a guided vehicle to make our way from point A to point B. The real work is just beginning… Read More

01 Dec

How to construct an effective design brief.

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“We benchmark in/out of market, gather voice of the consumer (VOC) and intelligence to form a project brief that outlines goals and problem statements. Our clients sometimes provide the project brief”.

 This quote, from the Discover Phase of our product development process, highlights the importance of a thorough and detailed design brief in early phase product development.

Our work over three decades with some of the world’s best companies has been challenging, rewarding and, admittedly sometimes a bit frustrating. Looking back at our diverse work, we have learned to ask the right questions during the development of a well-constructed design brief. We offer this brief essay to share our key lessons and help improve our work with clients and suppliers. Read More

30 Sep

What is Freespace?

What is Freespace?

It’s the first phase in our product development process and it’s where unmet needs are identified and product ideas begin to surface for future exploration and development. Freespace is a word we came up with to describe the wide open, exploration of unmet needs and end user problems.

This is how we briefly describe Freespace on our website:

“Using primary/secondary research and a preliminary business case, we analyze the market needs and potential with our client to identify the challenges and opportunities ahead”.

 Let’s unpack this description and dive a little deeper into how we work in early phase exploration of unmet needs… Read More

06 Aug

The Story of Telling Our Story

Recently, we launched our revamped Fredricks Design company website. We are very proud to have collectively designed the layout, graphics, and functionality in-house with the assistance of our great IT support guru Nate Beighley from Vortex Networking. Before this endeavor, we collaborated with our internal team and a 3rd party marketing and graphics design resource to develop our marketing materials. Our previous website was clean, beautiful, and functional but we began to realize that our story was not being told as effectively as it could be. After an assessment of our website, brochure, and other marketing materials we came to the conclusion that we needed a new direction and voice. We challenged ourselves to tell our own story and design our own graphics with the goal of succinctly communicating who we are and what we believe. Read More

31 Mar

Auto Show 2015 | a project case study

Overview

All of our clients struggle with the same challenges; they have limited internal design and engineering resources, too many projects and not enough time to complete them. They are also looking for fresh insights to develop new products that build an emotional connection with the end user. This situation is prevalent across all markets and companies.

The annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is held in January in Detroit. Many of our clients begin scrambling in early fall for resources to meet tight timelines and technical challenges to prepare properties and prototypes for the show.

This brief case study follows our work with a key client from September 2014 through the installation of show properties at NAIAS in January 2015.

How we started…

Read More

17 Dec

We’re gonna need a bigger cab…

 

I read several papers each week. Every now and then, an article hits home and prompts reflections on the changing world and our product development business.  The Wall Street Journal article[1] “Uber snags a ride to China with Baidu” affirms fundamental business conditions and highlights several significant challenges for new technologies and emerging markets.

Uber is a technology based, mobile app solution connecting passengers with private drivers in metropolitan areas. It is an alternative to traditional taxis and other modes of public transportation. Their website describes them in this way: “Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 200 cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.” Read More

04 Nov

Opportunity: Industrial Designer

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Although we respect differences between product development disciplines, we are passionate about collaboration between industrial design and engineering. We are looking for a thoughtful, extremely talented industrial designer to join our studio in Grand Haven, MI and help us fundamentally shape products for our clients. Your work will help top Fortune 500 companies across the United States bring new products to life. We want you to play a major part in establishing a design-centered culture in our company. Read More

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