Published on 09/11/2014

  • Smidesign


There’s a particular way in which a new product development process proceeds. It is easy to explain using the concept of the innovation funnel. The funnel is a well-known model used for guiding new product development. Developing a product is analogous to using a funnel because of the decreasing degrees of freedom the further along the process. Smidesign, like many design studios, applies this model throughout the projects.

In general, there are five stages:

Strategic opportunity scouting
The initial stage where an organization decides to start an innovation process, and which strategy they will deploy. A typical thing that happens in this stage: a trends driven innovation workshop with the key stakeholders of an organization.

Insight based concept generation
Once an organization has decided which strategic path to take, it is time to flesh out some concepts.
For instance: a quick design sketch to gauge first reactions, while at the same time defining a basic product architecture.

Specification based concept development
This stage is all about making sure previously agreed upon specifications are met, such as: “the product needs to have four wheels” and making sure the concept works (with a functional prototype for instance).

Materialization of a proven design
A typical activity in this stage are 3D CAD iterations in close coordination with a supplier in order to finetune an injection molding part.

Making it possible to sell the product, service or experience
Think: providing photorealistic visuals for a product catalogue, or designing packaging.


How our activity couples with an organisation’s Design Management:

Design management is the business discipline that builds and controls an organisation in such a way that it stimulates and supports a culture of creative progress to reach an organisation’s strategic goals.

Our studio is able to support an organisation at every level of design management, from taking the very first strategic decisions right down to making sure the product actually works well.

A good visual representation is overlaying the innovation funnel on top of the management hierarchy of an organisation. An innovation workshop for instance is obviously located on the company strategic level, while creating a packaging design is very much an operational activity.

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