EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES NOW CHALLENGE TRADITIONAL PRODUCT DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT PROCESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS
In a recent conversation, Jonathan Follett, principal of Involution Studios and editor and author of Designing for Emerging Technologies, noted that emerging technologies are disrupting product design life cycles.
Broadly defining the “creative class,” he observes that these emerging technologies and their links to a globally accessible array of people, content and other technologies are challenging the traditional processes, participants, and durations of product design cycles. “We’re finding different ways to work together as creative class workers. What I mean by that is knowledge workers, scientists, designers, engineers. You’ve got all of the leverage of open source. You’ve got open source mechanical designs, open source CAD drawings, open source electrical designs that a product designer can leverage to create their new products.” (link)
Follett could be making the case for one of the characteristics we’ve used in the foundation of our “New Technical Workplace” model.
In the past, product designers were rather isolated from the world for which they designed. Their technologies were selected or constrained by corporate IT. They sat in studios separated from the real world because of concerns over the proprietary nature of their developments. Only replications of the customer were with them in the studio. Their relationships with suppliers and “collaborators” were formal and event-based.
In this new world however, this new open world, the customer and everybody else who may be directly, indirectly, inspirationally, or informationally connected to the product development process can now be present in the studio. Well beyond Follett’s appreciation of open source, this new mesh of data, information, insight and participation reshapes the product design and development workplace. Each traditional player in the process now has multiple points of connection to invite new participants into the product development process and, in turn, contribute to theirs.
The new and expanded “presence” of others presents the opportunity for a significantly richer design and engineering environment where competitive speed, creative differentiation, and new channels of opportunity can be more successfully achieved.
This is the New Technical Workplace©.