Roger Dennis spoke to Ed Burak of Formway Furniture about the product development phases involved in the award winning "Hum" range of furniture. The lead time spanned 5 years - a serious investment in time and money in this day and age - as Dennis says "In this current economic climate it's tempting to cut back on innovation and design, but the Formway example illustrates that development times can span economic cycles." Here's a snippet from their conversation:
What was the spark that started Formway down the path to design the Hum range?
We started with the question - does the world need another desk?
We began to explore this by removing the desk and trying to understand what's left - the artefacts, the communication, the tasks and the human and how these elements are both supported & suppressed by conventional/current workspace design.
We were also aware that we have witnessed a significant shift in the purpose of coming to a place of work. By this I mean that in the past, we came to work to read and write and do 'other stuff.'
Now things are different - the reading and writing can occur almost anywhere now, at home, on the kitchen bench, in the corridor or even a park. We are gathering together at this place we call work more and more for this 'other stuff' - the meeting of minds - to problem solve, socialise, share and collaborate.
Three significant research themes emerged from our early investigation into what goes on at your desk in the workplace - attentiveness, interaction and cognition - in other words focused or individual work, collaborative and making sense of the information and space around us.
After 30 odd years in the global design industry opening doors to new and frontier markets through exploratory user research, concept design, and innovation strategies, Niti returned to academia as a student to pursue a PhD in Product Development at Aalto University's Design Factory. Her dissertation looks at the contribution of design methods to foster agency and capacity for innovation as a resilience strategy to shocks at the micro-level of the individual. Her research approach has expanded the multidisciplinary lens of viability, feasibility, and desirability to a transdisciplinary one where participants generate the actionable knowledge for their own innovation pathways.