All entries for February 2020

February 21, 2020

What design is – Reflection after visiting Vitsoe

I feel so glad that I didn't cancel the industry visit yesterday even though I have a PMA due on next Monday.

It seems that I visited a furniture art centre rather than a factory. The building, as well as their products, are artworks that fully satisfy the function, style, and incredible appeal.

vitsoe


After a nice tea break, the leader Mark gave us a stimulating talk on what the design means to the Vitsoe: 'Living better, with less, that lasts longer'. Simple and strong.


Less or More?

Vitsoe only has a particular design for shelving, chair and desk. But each of them works flexible and adaptable to various customers' needs. There is nothing complicated in the products, but after seeing the showroom, materials, and assembling work. YES, I want them to be a part of my life. Furniture is not a fast-moving or fashion commodity. Classic furniture could be a part of the family of great sentimental value because there were so many lovely memories happened around it.


Best or Newest?

Living in a tech-saturated world, it seems as if we've been overwhelmed by the newest things. Still, many people argue that routinely introduce new products that replace the existing or even best-selling products is an effective way to remain market share or win more from competitors. That is acknowledged as brand proliferation or brand extension.

From my point of view as a big fan of technology, this is a fairly tricky question because I find sometimes my curiosity leads my life out of focus. As Cal Newport put in his Digital Minimalism, it's necessary to know what is the 'best' for you and how much is just enough. Before I click a link to open a new website or open a notification from an APP. I ask myself: Do I really need to know that now?

Another interesting example is about my grocery shopping experience. I used to spent around 3 hours in Tesco to buy the necessities of life for the next week. As a curious shooper, I walk around every aisle and look through every shelf, keeping asking myself: 'which one do I need?' The answer is 'I don't know'. Always. Then suddenly, it occurs to me that I forget something in that place...back and forth...Time is gone.

Now I designed a route according to the layout of a supermarket which helps me to get everything I want and most importantly, done within a hour! It's true that supermarkets design particular layout to make customer stay longer and spend more.

So, maybe it's time to offer your customer less but better. 'Don't make me think'—Krug's first law of Usability.

shopping route


Product or service?

Good design cannot live without good service, and good service nourishes good design. In this IP-competitive age, it is easier to copy the physical products than the service. Also, word of mouth has been proved as a strategic marketing promotion.


Make profits or make sense?

Profit, Mark said, is like the food and air to support our lives not the aim. I agree that keep doing the rights things is far more important than making money, which is also highly emphasised in Lumi.



February 17, 2020

4th PMA

The 4th PMA is gone with a lovely weather.

But I was not fairly satisfied about my productivity, anyway, let's focus on the improvement.

After submission, I had a talk with Maryam and Freya this afternoon receptively, which gave me some inspiration.


  • I came across a paper which I thought was well related to my topic, but it took me literally three hours to understand the language in linguistics and pragmatics. Gosh~
  1. So, how can I improve in the (critical) reading stage.[It seems like I am coaching myself]. Well, maybe I should try reading around papers that focuses on one particular topic at one time. Instead, one is about phycics, and next one is about business.
  2. Furthermore, in terms of searching reference, searching by terms may not be an effective way because they are somehow random. Alternatively, I can trace some scholars' works in a systematic way. But at the beginning, I need a good ‘start’.
  • When it comes to writing a zero draft or first draft, it is still a nightmare. I cannot write a zero draft without any judgement. But fortunately, I think I probably found out the antidote.
  1. The culprit is typing. Contrary to typing on the keyboard, I feel my thought flow more smooth when handwriting! The potential reason is when I was typing it seems too easy to delete, correct or move sentences. All of these will block your mind, once you are blocked, you gotta time to judge the quality of your content, which just make things worse. However, when I was handwriting or speaking, I seldom looking back, but only keep going.

Cool~Let's see how it works since I got another PMA due by next monday.


February 06, 2020

Quality Function Deployment

QDF is a rigour and logic tool to transfer customer requirements into technical characteristics that is also useful for decision-making.

The aim for QFD I think is to raise questions for further investigation. Also, it gives sound evidence to show how you reach the desired result step by step that so that it seems to be unarguable and super persuasive.

It includes the voice of customers, the information of competitors' products, the opinions from the experts in particular fileds, as well as the current capability of the company.

There are three relationships need to be considered:

1. customer requirement VS technical characteristics

2. the correlation between technical characteristics

3.The regulation control VS technical characteristics

And the amazing thing is we don't need to thinking about a solution at that moment at all, because people usually jump into a fix solution before fully understanding what the problems are. As for picking up a solution, another effective tool is Pugh Matrix which is much easier than the QFD.

There is a simple version of QFD called Customer Voice Table but it losts the ensential logic throughout the process which I think may be the best trait of the QFD Matrix.


But there are also some limitations in QFD:

1. the result highly depends on the opinions from experts in different particular fileds, which may be difficult to reach for a small start-up.

2. The completation of QFD matrix require a significant amount of time and energy from all the people in the cross-functional team, which means it is highly demanding in the leadership and commiment of the top manager.

3. Once the customer need to change something, there could be huge operation afterwards which means it is not very flexible.


The CSF for the successful deployment of QFD is having an effective facilitator who is not necessarily to be a pro in product or engineering filed.

Finally, it may look a little bit daunting at first but once you are following the flow you will see how magic it is.

qfd


Customer Requirement Elicitation

For any NPD project, the primary topic is the voice of customers, so how to capture the customer requirement?

According to the Kano Model, there are three categories in the customer requirements.

1. something customers didn't say which are the basic quality of a product. For example, a car must have wheels.

2. customer said exactly what they want but it is not enough to meet just what they said. Nothing more, nothing less, well why not choose another supplier?

3. something customer don't even know but when they see the product, they would be amazed.

kano model


There are two common mistakes within organisations:

1. The raw data from customers are only blocked in a certain departments, but all the other teams, even the product managers can only be shared with the processed data that are intepreted by the sales people. It is similar like the game Chinese whisper, does the information you shared are the things customers want or that YOU think customers might want.

2. The NPD process is a journey with cross-functional team that every one shold have right say some thing to the development of the product. In the most cases, people may think well they have no idea about customers or products at all which is absolutely a bias. Any team work should be free from Ego.


What is vital for the new product development

Common Sense seems to be uncommon

NPD

1. It is quite difficult to capture and elicit the customer requirements during the design process, but ironically few companies commit themselves to put enough time and resources into that stage which is the culprit of many potential crises fires in the future. They rushed to be the first one into the market, however, is it advantageous to be the first one or the better one?

2. Basically, for any new product development process, the cost is lower at the very design stage than any later stages.

3. Ask yourself how much time and money did you spend on the design stage? And how much money takes you to cease the fire happened again and again.

4. The tricky thing is even though many companies could understand the point, but still do the same as the common organisation B. What are the hinders of that?

  • Finance-Driven, pay more attention to how much money we need to pay before we actually get something.
  • Eager to be the first player on that market but the world is super bigger than we imagined.

5. It supposed to be difficult to be a world-class, otherwise they're full of world-classes. It starts changing from the mindset of the top leader and then a group of cross-functional team.




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