All posts by Maury Fredricks

14 Jan

CES 2016 insights

 

Photo by John F. Martin for Delphi.

A visit to CES is like taking a trip to Europe. You have to choose where you spend your time or you run the risk of experiential overload. There is a lot to see and too little time. A high degree of patience is required for any visit to Las Vegas. There are people everywhere and dinner reservations are at a premium. These, of course, are developed world problems and I was lucky to be able to experience the show over two busy days.

CES is set up in 2.74m square feet of space housed in three different venues from the north of the Strip to the south end. There were 3800 companies exhibiting and the show attracted approximately 175k visitors from North America, Europe, Asia and many other countries. The investment in manpower, travel, marketing, show design, exhibit fabrication, setup and tear down must be an astronomical number. It’s really amazing that anyone with business credentials, a nominal fee for entry and the desire to walk miles every day can experience everything the show has to offer. Read More

01 Dec

How to construct an effective design brief.

effective design brief

“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 Nov

Ben Fredricks celebrates 6.0 years with our company!

Ben Fredricks, Industrial Designer

Ben Fredricks joined our family business on November 30, 2009 and it’s been a wonderful journey, so far!

They say that height and talent skip a generation. This is entirely the case in our family. Please note that, Ben is not standing on a soapbox in the photo above.

Ben is a well rounded designer with the ability to sketch, render, model and figure out how things will work when the concepts ultimately go into production. Read More

30 Sep

What is Freespace in the Product Development Process?

Freespace - first phase in product development process

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

03 Jun

Jim Biros marks 30 years with Fredricks Design, Inc. today!

Jim Biros, Designer

Today is a big day for our firm. We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Jim Biros (the handsome guy on the right) with Fredricks Design!

I run the risk of writing too much about our relationship and I do not want to embarrass Jim. He is a very humble guy!

A brief look back?

Jim joined our company on June 3, 1985. We were a start-up with a few local clients in the car and furniture business. All of our work was done on manual drawing boards with pencils and velum. Jim was one of our first designers trained on digital design tools. Cell phones were not introduced until a few years after Jim joined our company! Looking back, it?s hard to believe the journey we have been on together!

Over the years, our clients and teams have consistently commented on Jim’s contribution to projects through his common sense, practical thinking and problem solving abilities. He is a calming influence in the midst of impossible deadlines and technical challenges.

We’ve not researched how many designers stay with the same company throughout their career but it has to be a really, really small number. We only know that we have been blessed to work with Jim for three decades and we look forward to rounding out our careers together!

Please join us in celebrating Jim’s big day… a world of thanks for all of our work together!

31 Mar

Auto Show 2015 | a project case study

Auto Show 2015 | a project case studyOverview

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…

Prospective on Uber

 

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

27 Oct

Bongo: A Case Study in Blue Ocean Strategy

low-voltage power solution

Bongo: A Case Study in Blue Ocean Strategy

We work with clients across a broad range of activities to accelerate the development of user-focused, differentiated, smart product solutions. This case study highlights the full cycle development of low-voltage power solutions for applications in the retail environment.

we help our clients sail into blue ocean.

Several years ago we sparked on an opportunity to partner with one of our clients in the retail space. Harbor Industries is a third generation, privately held Michigan enterprise focused on the design and build of point-of-purchase displays for the retail environment.

Harbor identified product diversification as a key to their long-term success in the demanding retail industry. The company has been successful over three generations in meeting the needs of retail customers in a range of markets and product categories. Read More

29 May

Fredricks Design, Inc. 30 Years

Fredricks Design, Inc. 30 Years

Our story…

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Fredricks Design, Inc. The story of our 2nd generation, family run product development business is a case study in big dreams realized through hard work, good luck, and our commitment to doing things really well.

Fredricks was founded in 1984 in a little cottage on the north bank of the Grand River in Grand Haven, Michigan. The startup was based on the shared vision of two brothers, Maury (myself) and Bruce Fredricks. We developed the framework of our vision for the new company over wine and tapas while living and working in Andalucia, Spain. I returned to Michigan in 1984 and Bruce returned stateside to join the startup the following year. Read More

06 May

Indiana Furniture + Fredricks Case Study

Indiana Furniture Design Case Study - Felix chair development

Indiana Furniture: Felix

We partnered with Indiana Furniture in Q4 2012 to develop Felix, a new offering to expand their seating line.

Our case study tells the story of our collaborative development from early exploration of the problem statement, design brief development, ideation, concept development and production release.

We leveraged our complimentary capabilities to accelerate the development of a new product to raise the bar for Indiana Furniture in the seating category. Felix is the first offering in a series of seating products based on intelligent product planning and execution of our combined talents.

Please check out the chair development case study and contact us to discuss your future product challenges. Thanks!

Click Here to download the case study.

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