• When you start working on the assignments in addition to the course material provided, there is also the opportunity to purchase either in print or online "Creating breakthrough products" book written by Jon Cagan and Craig Vogel. That book will provide a complement to this course presentations and give you a more in-depth description of the tools and methods discussed in the course and help you understand and master them easier. These parallel references will guide you through the process.
• There are two things you're trying to learn by doing these exercises for assignments. One is learning how to master the system and use the tools and understanding what you're comfortable with and what you're not. The second is learning how to get feedback from consumers and integrate them into your thinking process. So, the big challenges here is that you should not let consumers direct you but you should be empathic to their needs and articulate their insights and desires into what you are trying to achieve. So, there is this fine line between using consumers as basic driver and literally giving them what they ask for, versus using them as inspiration and anticipating what they would find compelling. The goal of a successful product process is to exceed the literal expectations of consumers. You need to dig into the values that motivate and inspire them with solutions that meet their needs, wants and desires.
• The first step in the process is to develop product opportunity gaps (POGs). What you want to do is to look at changes in the SET factors (social, economic and technical) that can create new opportunities for products and services. Once you analyzed the SET factors and developed POG’s, you have to create some kind of criteria for defining which one would be more discerning. The most common method often used to cut down your opportunities from five or six to two is by using a weighted matrix. List all the criteria and stakeholders for the general you are interested in and then rank your POG’s against the criteria.
• After you've determined a product opportunity gap that you want to work on, you should identify the value differentiation from the current state to the preferred state using a value opportunity analysis (VOA). In creating current state analysis of where the current products are in the category. Choose one particular product that is a good base line product with clear deficiencies. Then, project out where your desired states are at this point. You can develop one VOA alone and then compare to others in your group or develop a group VOA. You will be able to refine your VOA as you move through the process.
• When you're conducting initial research to define the product opportunity gaps, there are categories of research you should conduct. One category is secondary research which is the available information that exists on the description of consumer behavior, on the market and the statistics on the understanding of competitors' products. The second direction is to do primary research, which means going out and conducting interviews with experts and starting to set up a list of consumers that you can interact with. When you interact with consumers, you can interact in two ways; one is to set up a group of consumers that you want to work with throughout the project. In each phase you'll consistently get feedback from that group. The other type of interaction is to choose a new group of consumers later in the project at the end of phase four to get a fresh unbiased perspective.
• In order to prepare for understanding all different pressures/points of view that you'll need to respond to, you should identify all of your relevant stakeholders for your product category. Although you have your primary stakeholders who are your product's consumers, you have different parts of the company that potentially will be needed to respond to in any other factor that you can consider. Different product categories require various kinds of responses to different stakeholders in order to evaluate and determine the success of your product. So, you need work out that list and define what the issues are for each stakeholder. Then, you need to prioritize your stakeholders in order to make sure that you understand who is the most important stakeholder whose needs should be met immediately.
• When you determine your main consumers that you'll be working with, it is good to develop scenarios and it is good to develop more than one ideally. These scenarios can be created based off of your interviews, observation and survey results. The purpose of creating scenarios is to create direct connection to the consumer as an individual rather than just as a quantitative survey where they are all anonymous. So, the things that make a scenario work is our understanding of who, what, where, when and why of this current state of the scenario that the person is going through that defines the product opportunity. Then, what you want to do is continue to develop your scenario as you get a better understanding of your consumer and as you further develop and refine your product opportunity.
• Once you've completed a framework of primary and secondary research, you should have built a good understanding of what your opportunity is. The next thing to do is to start developing concepts. Early representation of ideas, should be quickly developed and numerous. Explore various ideas and variations of ideas. In order to create visual points of departure, you can develop interactive collages, word lists, word image and collages.
One of the elements in researching consumer needs to conduct a series of human factors studies. Understanding the ergonomic interaction between the product opportunity and users is often done in a more technical way, such as task analysis in order to understand every detail in every step of a task. The process of understanding the variation in people's capabilities and trying to make things as universally acceptable as possible to all different consumers is called inclusive design. What you want to understand is issues of range of motion, cognitive interaction, and variation in consumer types and how those might play a role in your product or service.
As soon as you feel you have enough ideas and sorted them you should also make rough 3D models if appropriate. Then, you need to test those representations with stakeholders; primarily with the consumers and then expert advisers. As you go through this process of conceptualization, you should try to strive to do three phases of concept development and constantly looking for what's wrong and improve it in the next iterations. After each phase of sketches your ideas should be clearer the quality of representations should show more detail and refinement.
Regardless of what point of departure you represent whether marketing, engineering or design, we found the best way to get valuable consumer feedback and develop concept representations of the product or service is to interact with consumers directly. The most effective way to get direct feedback is by starting to develop simple concepts, elements and then forming mock ups or prototypes (simple models) and using them in consumer interaction sessions. These simple representations can be more refined later in the process as you get more feedback. The goal is to move from qualitative representation to more quantitative representation with clear details as the product starts to evolve with good feedback.
In this video, Professor Sooshin Choi director of the Industrial Design Program at DAAP, University of Cincinnati, briefly explains the main principles of Inclusive Design.
In this video, Professor Raphael Zammit provides a brief introduction to the field of Transportation Design and the skillsets designers need in order to be successful in this area.
In this video, Mary Beth Privitera, co-director of the Medical Device Innovation program at University of Cincinnati fully explains the differences between consumer product design and medical device design process through the FDA waterfall diagram.
In this video, Professor Peter Chamberlain explains the principle of packaging design and provides a variety of examples to illustrate his points about successful package design.
Professor. Craig Vogel, Associate Dean of DAAP and director of the Center of Design, Research and innovation at the University of Cincinnati, is the "teacher's teachers" in the eyes of employers across the United States. While giving top marks to UC's design programs, these employers have also signed up Craig on the short list of America's best design professors.
In this series of lectures, Prof. Craig Vogel shares learning from his book "Creating Breakthrough Products" and years of experience in teaching design strategy and design thinking, regarding the successful integration of design research and design practice.