One of the hottest trends within corporations is using design research strategically to help identify new product categories and extend core brands into other markets. The tools of design research, such as consumer observation and fast prototyping, can challenge conventional wisdom and promote innovation. And by aligning design with advertising, marketing, packaging, and service, companies can deliver a more powerful brand message.
Moen Revolution Showerhead
Designers: Design Continuum; Moen Inc.
A research team of designers, engineers, anthropologists, marketers, and managers observed people showering (in swimsuits). Their discovery? People liked different kinds of showers in the morning, after sports, and at nighttime. $66.
Designers: In-Shik Kim, Yeon-Moo Chung, Samsung Electronics
The trend toward convergence led Samsung to design this camcorder that also is a camera, MP3 player, Webcam, and voice recorder. Palm-size. $699.
Designers: Yves Béhar, Johan Liden, fuseproject
Car accessories are usually about the car, but the MINI_motion brand is about the lifestyle of the driver. It captures the emotional spirit of the Mini Cooper -- urban, fast, different, cool -- and translates a sense of motion into a series of high-end products. It marks "the death of the logo and the birth of the motif as brand strategy," says juror Michael McCoy.
The MINI_motion 2-part driving shoe has a soft bootie worn inside to drive and a sturdy outer sole for walking outside. $125. The carpack fastens to the seat belt, preventing laptops and lunch from spilling. $179.
The MINI_motion watch display changes from vertical to horizontal for easy reading when driving, plus a wristband that connotes motion. $165.