In a recent article, BU99 outlined some of the key qualities of particularly productive creative types. We’re inclined to agree with the skills they’ve identified and wanted to share them with you – along with some real life examples where Crucible Industrial Design has demonstrated those skills with incredible results. If you’re looking to outsource a product design project, then these are certainly four qualities that you should be looking for in your product designer.
1. Communication skills
Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is essential during a design project, especially as there are usually a number of parties that need to be involved. Finance, planning, production, design, marketing, sales and customer care are all vital roles in any new product. We see project managing the process as an important part of our job – we ensure communication channels are open and there’s always a clear agenda. That way we can make sure all aspects of the project are on track and all issues are de-risked in a timely manner.
People tend to judge other people based on their experience. This is, of course, the whole basis of a resumé. Yet, while a product designer’s portfolio might look impressive, it’s also important that they are willing to take the initiative and put potential new ideas on the table. As Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company famously once said, “If you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always got.” It’s worth digging around a little to find out how proactive a potential product designer is going to be.
A couple of years ago Crucible Industrial Design suggested a new innovation for Codelocks and went on to design a small cabinet lock for them:
Our new design of the PondClear was a huge success. PondClear had wanted to reduce assembly time and by creating a vacuum formed casing we reduced TMC’s manufacturing costs by 26%. Sales also doubled in the first season. You can read the case study here.
The French philosopher, Voltaire said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” As anyone who’s had a eureka moment knows, daring to ask a new question goes a long way toward finding the right solution. What’s more, a high level of curiosity – the hallmark of an inquiring mind – is typically indicative of other good qualities, such as inventiveness and resourcefulness. We see asking questions and digging deep as part of our role in the product development process. Take a look at our briefing paper,‘Ten Essential Questions for Anyone Developing Their First Product’ to see where we always start. You can also email us to request a copy of our briefing paper, ‘Project Specification’ (very useful checklist of issues that need to be considered).
About the author: Mike Ayre has a number of roles in innovation, industrial design and manufacture, and over twenty five years’ experience of bringing successful products to market. He began working as an independent consultant in 1990, and established Crucible Industrial Design in 2001.