MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work

Wickedly compelling: Scott Durschlag and Jim Wickes

Scott Durschlag
Corporate VP, General Manager, Global xProducts, Motorola

Global xProducts is focused on co-creating Mobile Devices with rich experiences together with key strategic partners and partner ecosystems, commercializing new experience-based devices and innovating new business models. Previously, Scott was Corporate VP and GM for Motorola's Mobile Devices business in South Asia, where he led a dramatic turnaround of the business. Scott joined Motorola in 2002 as Corporate VP of Strategy and Business Development for the Personal Communications Sector.

Jim Wicks
Vice President and Director of Consumer Experience Design, Motorola

Jim Wicks is responsible for user interface and industrial design of Motorola personal communications products. Jim joined Motorola in 2001 as Director of User Interface Design and Human Factors, and functioned in this role until 2004 when he was appointed to his current role. Jim spent many years in Japan, first as a designer for GK Design associates and then with Sony Corporation. He later joined Sony's design group in the US with a focus on personal communications, computing and new audio products, culminating with his establishment of the Sony innovation and design center in San Francisco.

Scott, recently made chief of Global Product and Experience Innovation at Motorola, spoke of their goal to make “wickedly compelling” products.

He presented the results of a recent two-year study in 25 countries of changes in culture. They identified 10 trends that Motorola is now designing product strategy around:

  1. Inflationary time currency—and the desire for simplicity in place of complexity
  2. New connectivity—including the ability to hide when you want to
  3. Self preservation—the ability to control things, to avoid conflict
  4. Self obsession—how the apparent accessibility to fame (American Idol, e.g.) has generated a “me” culture
  5. Gender expressionism
  6. Age play—the interplay of roles and age stereotypes
  7. Experiential society—the growth of gaming as a great example
  8. Authenticity—spiritual connections with an authentic base
  9. Transparency--integrity
  10. Information management—having a “dashboard” of life

Jim Wickes unfolded the portfolio of Motorola product design, and spoke of their strategy of “seamless innovation.”

He outlined 6 key areas if focus for his design innovations:

  1. Self expression
  2. Active lifestyles
  3. Create and extend
  4. Enterprise productivity
  5. Entertainment
  6. Everyday communications

He mentioned 3 horizons for their activity:

  1. Basics
  2. Rhythm
  3. Partnering

And the objectives of simplicity, honesty, richness and surprise in what he called “perceive quality”—the characteristics that make sense to people in terms of quality.

Their strategy is to each year develop an “iconic” product—one that defines the brand. They then carry that product innovation forward in time as they become “anchors” or “flagships.” Then these become the base for extensions or “derivatives.”

He mentioned the importance of linking the design process and innovation cycle to the business cycle.

He also talked about the importance of the design of the retail environment and is alignment with the product. He said their current retail strategy is “give me a square foot” as he showed their delightfully small products arrayed on a tray.

Jim extended Scott’s strategy formulation: “Lustfully beautiful/wickedly cool” products.