The future has arrived - sooner than expected.
We've entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
With unprecedented changes in our world, both recent and inevitable, where will you be in 5, 10 or 15 years? Significant transformations within your company or organization may be in order. We've been helping people prepare – in categories that include transportation, healthcare, workstyle, electronics, housewares, home appliances, food and food safety.
Human behavior is influenced by instinct, culture, and individual experience, key factors to consider in design. At Brainpool our members have been exploring design and behavior, design's next frontier.
From artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, the Internet of Things, big data analytics, to nanotechnology, genetics and biotechnology are impacting our lives. Layered onto these are significant social changes, including rising lower and middle classes in emerging markets, the continually expanding importance of women in the economy, and the increasing longevity of an aging population in advanced economies. It's the start of a revolution more comprehensive than anything we've seen before.
What won't change anytime soon is our ability to be creative and to sense emotions, qualities intrinsic to human nature. The future of design will be based on understanding and promoting these human qualities in the face of massive technological and social changes.
Having mentally and physically evolved over millions of years, we've learned quite a few things based on our instinct. For instance, red signals danger, loud noises startle us, we like cute things, sexy has a purpose. Many reactions reside within our sensory system, occur automatically, and are universal. They are beyond our conscious and control.
Understanding instincts helps us design products and services that communicate effectively. This approach sounds obvious, but it's surprising how many products and services are counter-intuitive. Our first goal, whenever possible, is to design products and services whose proper use caters to those instincts – naturally self-evident for everyone.
In considering instincts, gender can play a significant role. In our experience when studying differences in behaviors and attitudes across countries and continents, we sometimes find greater disparity between males and females than between countries or continents. Males and females, we find, are wired quite differently.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL INFLUENCES
While our instincts will strongly influence behavior, we don't have much evolutionary history to rely on when designing the majority of products and services we use on a daily basis. Other factors will therefore come into play that will influence ease or difficulty of use.
The characteristics that enable successful sociality – symbolic language, cooperation, empathy, reciprocal altruism – emerged as key neurophysiological and sociological evolutionary conditions for human survival. Over time these collectively learned characteristics became strongly encoded as elements of successful group living, passed along through generations. These characteristics define our culture.
Therefore, beyond instincts, cultural influences are next to consider in design – the habits we have been exposed to since birth. These will vary according to the place or places we grew up. These influences will begin in early childhood, and continue throughout adulthood.
With a desire to be global, the influence of culture on perception and judgment is vital to consider. Yet many companies and organizations can overlook cultural factors that can cause a product or service to succeed, fail, or linger somewhere in-between. Understanding culture is mandatory.
PERSONAL - DISTINCTIVE FOR EACH OF US
Since each of us has a very different history, this category becomes the most idiosyncratic, influenced by personal experiences that, since birth, have helped form an individual's view of the world. For design purposes instinct, and social and cultural influences can be easier to ascertain. But every individual is different, and for our best efforts to understand and predict behavior, accommodating individual differences can be the most elusive.
The best approach is to think wide. While some product development teams may disregard individual quirky behaviors as "corner cases," we look to understand and accommodate them. In designing for a full spectrum of people we consider the "average person" to be a myth, and unpredictable behavior to be of interest.
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Forecasting people's needs.
Improving our lives
Design can optimize performance, simplify complex operations, improve safety, reduce waste, save energy, and generally make us happy. For many companies great design used to be an option – now it's mandatory. Because the more we experience great design in our lives, the more we expect it.
Through our unique scientific design research methods Brainpool takes an evidence-based approach, allowing us to gain a clear understanding of people's perceptions and physical capabilities – in time to conceive and develop design solutions that work with people. These metrics allow us to harness the power of design.
Brainpool members have a long history of creating new and innovative products and services, helping innovators transition from an idea or capability to a successful product or service. We can take a project from early concepts to working prototypes, to final CAD and color specifications, while guiding brand positioning and market strategy.
Human-centered design requires understanding both the body and the brain. With a background in ergonomics and biomechanics we know the physical workings of the human body, the mechanics underlying our movements – how the body works, and (importantly) how it doesn't work. We use our knowledge to design for the widest audience possible. Having been pioneers in Universal Design (a.k.a. Inclusive Design) we can design products that work with everyone.
In addition to physical considerations we've developed Emotional Mapping, a technique that uncovers perceptions and emotional connections consumers form with products and services. With this, our methods in design research go far beyond opinion-taking – we reveal both spoken and unspoken needs and desires.
We therefore employ quantitative as well as qualitative techniques, forming and evidence-based approach to design. Most importantly, we know how to translate this knowledge into products and services that work for people. By measuring consumers' responses, identifying patterns and deriving meaning, we create products and services that are easier to use and more desirable.
With these research methods we are also advancing the practice of design (it's a reason we are often invited to speak and conduct workshops worldwide on design, design research, and "design for all.")
DESIGN FOR EVERYONE
To reach the widest range of consumers, learning from the extremes of the population is crucial. For example, it may be nice to know people's average height, but we really need to design for the shortest and the tallest.
This approach means focusing on different demographics, exploring differences in physical and cognitive ability, age, gender, and culture. Learning from the extremes is a lot more useful than understanding the "average."
If you want to create a significant buzz in the market place, with a brand that includes products that someone needs to touch, feel, open, operate, manipulate or wear, contact us. Because a great design doesn't simply meet expectations, it exceeds them.
FROM CONCEPTS TO CAD, BRAND DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING POSITIONING
Kikubari is the Japanese art of paying attention to others, our core value for designing products and services. Our services range from initial concepts to final CAD. However we'll first develop a product or service by understanding the brand positioning. We believe the product is the brand. Brands aren't defined by companies, they are defined by the people who use their products and services. A brand is represented by every touchpoint a person encounters. From the advertising, sales materials, point-of-purchase, out-of-box experience, to encounters with customer service representatives providing information or resolving a problem, every interaction needs to express a brand's values.
Our full-scale approach considers a product's impact at all stages of its life cycle – including sourcing, use, disposal, and reuse. It includes health, social, economic, and environmental impacts, protecting your organization from risks beyond regulatory compliance, while enhancing brand reputation. We can also help you identify risks within your current offerings, and sometimes even turn them into opportunities.
No matter where you are in your project, we'll be happy to discuss it with you.
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