Innovation – Students of Product Design Episode1

Innovation – Students of Product Design Episode1

>>PRODUCT TANK: Hey product tank here. In
this series, I’m going to take you through the product design process, sharing with you
some of the things I’ve learnt over the last 15 years to help you become a better designer
and improve your projects. In this episode, I’m looking at innovation. Innovation in product design could come from
a revolutionary idea, but revolution is almost as rare as rocking horse poop. What’s this,
maybe, oh, oh, no, false alarm. I would say 99.9% of innovation in product design is evolutionary,
incrementally improving on what has gone before. Now this is a beautiful chair, it’s perfectly
functional, you could argue it can’t be improved, but everything can be improved, depending
on who’s using it. There you go. But adding a cushion to a chair isn’t innovation. Innovation
is defined as a new method or idea. You can innovate every area of a products
life through manufacture, storage, shipping, use, repair and part replacement to its end
of life and recycling. I once spent a long time helping to reduce
the part count in spray caps and pump actuators, because innovation is often about making things
simpler by reducing parts. Saving just a tenth of a pence on one item won’t mean much, but
on an item that sells in its billions its significant and saving a few ounces on one
item won’t mean much either, but has a big impact on fuel costs when shipping thousands
and not just economically, but also environmentally. So There are two sides to innovation, the
innovation that the customer sees, that improves their experience and the innovation that they
don’t see, that improves the product behind the scenes. I think the greatest innovative advances in
the future are going to be in materials and manufacturing, because many of the things
we require and use in our daily lives are already so well established that their functionality
can’t be noticeably improved any further just by changing the form. As an example, look
at tennis rackets. The form of the racket has hardly changed, but the materials have
really advanced to make rackets stronger and lighter. So innovation can always be driven
by advances in materials and manufacturing. To me, innovation is like running the 100
meters. There are a lot of teenagers who can run 100 meters between 12 to 15 seconds with
no training. It takes quite a bit of training to be able to run sub 12 seconds and lots
of dedication, effort and natural ability to run under 11 seconds. The amount of extra
training you have to put in to run a fraction of a second faster is disproportionate to
the amount of time you gain so you have to really want to do it and innovation is exactly
the same, it does take a lot more hard work and time and often the improvement is fractional,
so some people view innovation as risk. Now, there can be a strong argument for if it ain’t
broke don’t try to fix it. But these days, most markets are so competitive that to not
innovate and improve, especially in areas like consumer electronics, to keep doing the
same thing over and over is far riskier. There’s a brilliant line by James Bryant conant, behold
The turtle he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. With all innovation, you have to be wary of
introducing gimmicks. The best Unique Selling Point is one that provides a clear improvement,
ideally for the same or definitely a cheaper price and that makes your design more appealing
aesthetically or otherwise to your target audience. So if we park improving a product by looking
at areas of its life cycle, how else can we innovate? Innovation can come simply through your design
philosophy, why do you design? A long time ago I was introduced to the principles of
inclusive design. If I design an object for the person who would find the task the hardest,
I improve the design for everyone. A simple example is the redesign of a clothes peg I
did for a neighbour who suffers from arthritis. Using standard pegs put pressure on her fingers
so redesigning the peg made it easier for her to use so hopefully better for everyone
else as well. The materials that I used are exactly the
same, but my design philosophy and carefully listening to my target market was what helped
me innovate on that occasion. Another method is to observe products from
different areas and combine their functionality to lead to a new product breakthrough. I use
plasters, correction rollers and Sellotape and my designers intuition tells me that somewhere
in the combination of these products from different areas, could be an innovative wound
care product. But with this method, you are waiting to happen upon these things, it is
not problem led and so it is rarer to get success. So what I wanted to show you, because this
isn’t one of those series that just talks about stuff and especially as this is the
first episode in my series on product design, is how to innovate through getting the right
brief. The brief is the start of every successful project and I cannot stress enough how important
it is for you to answer the brief properly and for companies employing designers to give
them the right brief, so it’s important that where possible designers work with the client
to create the brief together based on discussion about the desired result. There are lots of
examples and advice on how to construct a brief on the Internet. But I wanted to show
you how framing the brief directly affects the outcome. So to demonstrate, I’m going
to follow two briefs to design a vegetable peeler. I’ve chose a vegetable peeler, because
it’s a simple two piece design, but with innovation it’s worth considering that the less complex
the product, the less opportunities there will be to come up with something new, so
today because I’ve only got two parts, my task is going to be harder. The first brief is to design a home cooks
vegetable peeler using a standard blade. I’ve looked at the hard points, the things I have
to use and design around and in this case that’s the peeler blade and possibly the handle
dimensions. I’ve also researched other competitors peelers and looked at people’s behaviours
to try and find improvements. As soon as I’m given a brief, my head fills
with a myriad of ideas and I find the first thing to do is get all these preconceived
ideas out of my head onto paper, so my mind can be open to let new ideas in. I spend a
lot of time working ideas up in plan, because I find its the fastest way to work up concepts
that I can then make quick models from to develop form. Using the existing peeler blade I generated
lots of forms and whilst I looked at areas with different grips and de-eyeing ideas,
the only vaguely innovative element I have been able to incorporate is a scraping device.
So here is a rough model of my final design that I have made in wood. I’ve extended the
de-eyeing area across the top of the blade holder to create scraping elements for cleaning
vegetables and I’ve removed material from the handle, without sacrificing comfort or
grip to make the product lighter and more economical and environmental. But as you can
see, it’s not very innovative at all. Now let’s look at framing the brief another
way – what if the brief is to design a method for home cooks to remove the skin from vegetables,
it’s a subtle change to the brief from designing an object to tackling a problem, but instantly
this opens up such a huge range of possibilities. Now my investigation can be really broad,
I can look at all sorts of areas, ploughs, planers, files, rasps, scrapers, brushes,
ways this is done on an industrial scale, the key here is diversity. I get to play with
lots of things and ask questions, would a rough glove work, could scientists genetically
engineer self peeling vegetables or a solution which removes skin. I can have fun with it,
which is why product design can be one of the best jobs in the world. With product design,
every time I design I get to explore and I feel like I go on an adventure. At this point, all ideas have worth, but admittedly
some are definitely better than others. Solutions to remove skin from vegetables may sound daft,
but my research shows this has been used commercially to soften the skin of hard vegetables before
mechanically scraping them. I still want my design to be used in the hand
and be small enough to fit neatly into a cupboard drawer. I also don’t want it to use a motor,
as I believe on this occasion it’s unnecessary and because I believe product designers have
a responsibility to design mass produced items that use less material without affecting functionality. When I look at my current swivel peeler I
notice the leading blade, that guides rather than cuts has become worn and dulled from
being scraped across vegetables. I’m right handed, so this peeler wouldn’t work well
for someone who uses it left handed, which is one reason why everyone has their favourite
peeler. So my first concepts looked at ways to keep the leading blade sharp by protecting
it or having it pivot out of the way. I then looked at ways to adjust the height of the
blade or move the guide up and down to get a thicker or thinner peel. Trying to get a
thinner peel led me to investigate saving material by making thinner peelers. Most vegetables
are round-ish in section and much much smaller than this plate. Even peeling a one millimetre
deep slice would only need a blade this wide. But the problem with taking a slimmer slice
is that you have to peel many more times to get around the vegetable. So then I looked
at trying to curve the blade, which is near impossible, or using lots of shorter blades
to make a curve. I can learn a lot from a quick paper model. When this design isn’t
kept flat to the vegetable, the back blades lift so only the front ones keep contact,
not very effective. So then I experimented with designs to get the blades to cut in-line. So skipping a few stages, here’s my final
design. I’m not going to pretend it’s brilliant, but hopefully this has been a useful demonstration
about how simply choosing how to construct a brief can promote innovation. I hope now you see the results from both briefs
you can see that if I’d just stuck with the first brief, I would only have had a very
limited number of concepts that were not just purely aesthetic, where as using the second
brief you can see that the range of innovative concepts I was able to generate was much larger,
by designing with both briefs I get a mild to wild range of concepts I could then present
to the client, as one brief focuses on defining an object and the other is interested in an
outcome. One final note. Not everything you design
will be a success. Apple only take forward 2 out of every 10 designs they work on. Sometimes
you can’t reinvent the wheel, it isn’t necessary, there isn’t time or budget for it and there
isn’t a public demand for it. So choose when to innovate carefully. Once you have come
up with something innovative, it may have applications in other areas, so be prepared
to capitalise on your hard work. I need to scratch my head on where else I could use
this? Ouch, Maybe not. I hope you found this episode useful. This
series takes a while to put together and is dependant on several factors coming together,
so unfortunately I cannot give you a time when the next will be released. The only way
you are going to be alerted to this if you’re interested is to please hit subscribe. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Innovation – Students of Product Design Episode1

  1. after completing the sketches and just before prototyping it , if i want to make a 3d computer model of my design, what are your suggestions for the optimum design software?
    i am an engineering student with less knowledge of design

  2. its really amazing…no distraction ..straight to the point..and simple to understand like ur end product 🙂 cheers..

  3. Thank you, it's a very interesting video. I d like to start this job (since I was a child) just in this last months. To invent, product design, is something let me feel really 'free'.

  4. That's really a good video about Product Design. As a matter of fact, I got to learn from something like about innovation and how a simple brief can change the whole concept of design, from basic to unique.

  5. last year i made it into design school and i really want to thank you, because your videos were such a great inspiration and gave me so much insight into design thinking. You helped me getting to this point, thank you very much and keep up your great work!

  6. Thanks for your great work and suggestions! Funny, that you picked the potatoe peeler – this is one of the tools, where so many people have problems in kitchen and their preferences about which kind to use. What I didn't understand is, why doesn't a curved blade work? This is what I always wished I could find – the same when I use a razor for body hair. Why don't they exist? THEY would be a great invention! 😉

  7. one thing you didn't consider in the peeler is easiness of cleaning. Narrow concave shapes makes more difficult to cleaning while convex makes it easier.

  8. Hi I'm a high school senior and I'm thinking of being a product designer but I'm not really sure what you study and where you can work, help?

  9. Two years after seeing this video again really helps a lot for the diploma that I am doing now. Really thanks for your sharing.

  10. You are so amazingly awesome for sharing this. Im very interested in industrial design and have been searching YouTube for some time looking for exactly what youre presenting here.Thank you so much and please keep up your great work, and be sure to take us along on your journey.

  11. Fuck dude, you draw brilliantly. I have to use cad for my sketches haha

    Great video, can't wait to familiarize myself with the series. Thanks!

  12. FYI – The volume level in recording needs to be much higher…I had to crank up the volume levels in order to hear/understand what you were saying

  13. Please visit my Gig if you want to convert 3D models to 2D drawing or vice versa

  14. Hey producttank, I have been assigned a major design project for my design and technology task. I have been thinking of some ideas of products that provide solutions to everyday problems. In the assessment task, the first step is: "Identify and provide a detailed exploration of genuine needs, justifying final selection for the development of the MDP (major design project)." The idea I have in mind has a useful purpose however I'm not sure if I would say that it is a "need". In the world of product design, what would you define as a need? And what do they mean by "opportunity"?
    I'm sorry that I don't know much.
    Btw this is a project assigned for my year 12 high school design and technology class and I have one year to produce a product, system or environment which acts as a solution to a need.
    Thanks for the help

  15. My observation over the years is most new products work no better than the one they're designed to replace; advertisers just develop a clever looking promo to make them appear exciting and interesting. Most people would just use a regular kitchen knife to do those tasks you demonstrated.

  16. to be fair you have to have a very high IQ to understand Mr. Tronconi. The website is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of Italian most of the assignments will go over a typical student's head.

  17. So glad i did click this video <3
    This is my first year in industrial design and I'm getting more and more fascinated 😀
    I appreciate your effort 😀

  18. I’m in the process of inventing a lock for landlords do you think I should design it on cad or sketch and use sheet metal and trial and error and stuff ? Or is there a special material you can build prototypes with and then if you make a mistake you can stick it together and try again ?

  19. could anyone make a paralel of this metodology and another academically respected related? I got a higschool work about metodology and I would like to research more of this one.

  20. ,I ran a 10.9 with no training. You look like you have something against bathing. looking at you gave me the heebie jeebies and I had scroll

  21. wow this is really impressive! really enjoyed that you actually created products, and didn't just talk about theory

  22. sir you are genius. loved your videos.. you are my best teacher. thank you so much I m excited to achieve my made it easier thank u so much

  23. You deserve a MEDAL – How amazing are you- THANK YOU SO MUCH – you have explained in 12 minutes what my engineering lectures couldn't mumble away in over an hour.

  24. Amazing work. Why are the UK exam boards not pointing D&T teachers to great resources like this. AQA I'm talking to you in particular!
    You've summed up everything I'm trying to teach my current year 12/13 cohort about the design process in a well presented and clear fashion with great examples & case studies.
    Amazing work chap, keep adding them!

  25. Please Please Please can you tell me how you made the final design, it would really help as I have a similar project in school. I found your series really interesting and it helped me to understand the design process. Thank you so much

  26. Nothing to say except that this video is a banger! Obviously you have put a lot of work into this, and the fact that you investigated a case study of peelers even though you knew it probably wasnt going to work out is amazing. This is the only video I have seen of yours but boy am I going to watch more! Keep it up man!

  27. Hi thank you for the video but I noticed that using your final design you wast a lot of layers of vegetables when you peel the sides twice. Meaning : between stroke 1 and stroke 2 you peal 3 layers 1, 2 and 3
    Then when you peel again you go over side 3 which now become side 1 and peel it again..

  28. Classic clothespin – two parts and one spring. New one – 4 parts and two springs. Do you call this progress? With a device for cleaning vegetables exactly the same story. One curved blade solves! I have one such. And it consists of only two parts. Inventors …

  29. Can u not open your eyes that big.. I know you're reading the paper but it's a bit scary……… Anyways thank you for this video

  30. You may want to turn down the background music since it competes with your script! Thanks for the video and please load similar videos with other prod.

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