ideas, needs, processes → Products & Service
For us humans and the environment
To improve life and society
Products and service (P&S) design is what I do very well. I started doing this in 1993 when I began my study at the Gerrit Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam. Ideas come to mind very easily and I love the investigation into the viability of an idea. This is one direction:
from idea → P&S
Starting from a technology, IPR or patent I have done when involved with larger corporations like Metso-Automation, TeliaSonera and Nokia. The question was often around improving an existing product or creating something new from a patent:
from patent → P&S
My strength is in figuring out what would benefit a customer, what are the consequences and opportunities. How can negative effects be turned into positives, and with this I do not mean white- or green washing. My main tools are deductive and inductive reasoning, what-if scenarios, industrial history, social and economic sciences. Design tools like sketching and modelling are secondary for my approach as I am more interested in the impact and role a P&S has in society or within a corporation.
This brings me to the third angle from which a P&S could start for me:
from societal need → P&S
from business process → P&S
In 1995 I participated in a competition for Dutch industrial design students. The topic was “toilet for the future”. In my winning concept I imagined how a future toilet could sense the body parameters of a toilet visitor and adjust itself to the specific body. The “hands” would lift the person in the right position no matter what weight, length or width the person has.
The technical solution I soon discovered could be ionic polymer gels aka artificial muscles. There was some interest among companies but I was moving in that period to Finland and lost contact and connections. Nothing happened except I got in touch with a leading expert at the time on artificial muscles and he confirmed this was very doable. Nice to know. During my student time at the Gerrit Rietveld Akademie I made this phone concept. For me the main point I wanted to make was that phones would become a life style or fashion symbol. It was only years later when this became the established paradigm.
A tablet for child and parent to together use for example the home as a learning environment. There was growing concern at the time about digital illiteracy so digital technologies should be introduced at an early age to children. Also, there was this growing notion that digital technologies, especially screen based ones, could create a distance between child and parent.
My solution was to have on both the hardware as well as software or service level the opportunity to do things together. In my admittedly clumsy foam based mock-up you can see:
screen with the fish and letter F
an orange pointer
2 green handles
I cannot remember why I did these green handles. The orange pointer is for walking around e.g. a room and point at a door. As, was the assumption, many products would have some kind of RFID code built in (in the future) this pointer would then read information and translate store it. When put back into the screen the information would be read.
Naturally that information would need to be translated from some ISO building code to something more humane. The concept included ideas on topics, languages, styles, games and challenges.
eFDMA – Electronic Furniture Design and Marketing Agency (SofaNet) – 1997
An electronic trading system that links manufacturers with designers with retail with furniture buyers. This was in my opinion the brain child of Jan Verwijnen, architect and professor at TAIK at the time.
A project in where did research on how a single apartment and a whole apartment block could utilize building regulations and allow the potential buyer to with as much flexibility organize the placement of rooms (kitchen, toilet, sleeping room,..). The biggest challenge was not so much how this technically would work but would we give the first “designer” of the apartment priority over the ones that followed.
For example, a toilet in one apartment could (still cannot I think) be next to a bedroom of the adjacent apartment. So if the first user A would place a toilet on the outer wall and not next to the stairwell, then this would have great consequences for the neighboring apartments. It also has consequences for the floors above and below as the plumbing needs to be configured with specific angles and distances.
These kind of puzzles are exciting to work on.
VirSiSu – Virtual Sisustus Suunitellu (Virtual Interior Design) – 1997&1998
A larger joint venture/project with VTT, MasaYards, Finlayson and Vertex on color correct representation of materials in a 3D VRML environment. My role was UX research and UI design