Event Recap – Guest Speaker from Smart Design

March 11, 2015

Russell Blanchard started the talk by introducing Smart Design, who they are and what makes them different, followed by some case studies to illustrate main points. He then spoke about some trends in the design and innovation industry and moved into the environment for innovation today.
The floor was then opened for questions and discussions.

As Russell explains, being a design and innovation consultancy with a multidisciplinary team, Smart Design’s process to approaching a client’s brief is through insight, strategy, design and piloting.
To successfully navigate through these stages, he points out the importance of having people form different backgrounds and opinions looking at the same problem. This overlap is what generates very interesting solutions that can craft great experiences for real people.

Looking at trends in design and innovation, the speaker explains how companies usually operate on one of the following four stages: They are either investing to start something new, expanding their growth by looking at new areas of opportunities, outpacing the competition as key for survival and lastly instilling a  culture of innovation.
A case study about Under Armour was used to exemplify this point. With female athletic wear being a new sector with great importance and opportunity, Russell shows how his team challenged the “shrink-it-pink-it” strategy, unsuccessfully adopted so far, to create a new and innovative product.

The talk then moves to exploring the environment of innovation today, and our speaker notes how companies, now more than ever, are realizing the power of working with designers and the value that this collaboration brings. Moreover, with a shift in information, potential, data and interaction, according to Smart Design, companies operating in this “New World” should adopt the following principles: (1) Design for Relationships not transaction (2) Integrate Design and Business early (3) Make technology meaningful and (4) leverage all the senses.

You can watch the full video here: