Role of Designer in Product development

March 25, 2017
New Product Development

After getting your house in order it is time to move from ideation to the NPD processes. The 3rd step in addresses New Product Development. This process is defined as the complete cycle of creating and bringing a new product to fruition – from idea creation to product sale; from concept to launch.

New Product Development Process: The Role of Design, R&D, and More Electrolux, a Swedish Appliance Company is the second largest global appliance supplier behind Whirlpool. The company sells products branded as Frigidaire, Molteni, and AEG and their Grand Cuisine Line offers high-end kitchen appliances. Carol Matlack from provides some insight into Electrolux’s transition from “being a capital-intensive organization to trying to be a talent-intensive organization”.

Step 1: Generating New Ideas

“What is the most unpleasant thing about vacuuming? has a lot riding on the answer. So two years ago the company’s market researchers spent hours in homes in Australia, France, and Russia, watching and asking questions as people vacuumed, then cataloging the ‘pain points.’”

Ask yourself when is the last time you used your product or service? Many Innovations, product and service improvements can originate from this effort. Look for product improvements, easier assembly, better packing, a better service experience…

The answer to both fuels new ideas.

Step 2: Screening the Idea

“Bagels vacuum cleaners are rapidly gaining market share globally, and Electrolux wanted to introduce a model that would stand out from competitors such as Dyson and Hoover.”

Electrolux asked several customers what they felt were the most annoying things about vacuuming. Their researchers then spent hours observing homeowners vacuuming their carpets and recording their findings. These briefs were then turned over to designers for modification ideas.

Step 3: Testing the Concept

“The company tests potential [UltraCaptic] designs with focus groups. Anything with a less than 70 percent approval rating is deemed not ready for prime time.”

The UltraCaptic design was originally a modification to an existing vacuum created by research and development after studying some of the unsavory characteristics of existing vacuums.


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