Living in the new normal

The way we live and the way we go about our work, day to day has slowly eroded the quality of life for many and undeniably had a negative impact on the environment. In our last news article we touched on what a post-lockdown world could be like if everyone takes the time now to consider where their priorities should lie both at a personal and at a professional level.

After much discussion between all of us this is how we have embraced the new normal. The biggest change for us has been the relocation of some of our staff as a result of social distancing measures. There were some teething issues to do with the UKs inability to balance upload and download speeds in rural areas but we soon had everyone adapting to a new way of working.

In the office we have made changes including staggered breaktimes, availability of PPE and become more aware of not gathering around the printers etc. For those that work from home there has been an improvement in the work/life balance and with the assistance of modern technology, it is possible to liaise between those who need to come into the office and those who can work from home to maintain what is essentially a normal working week. With clients based across the UK and overseas, we were already geared up for remote conferencing and real time on-screen CAD viewing to discuss projects so it is unlikely clients will note any difference.

We think it is important to talk about what we have done because providing guidance and support to our clients, is a large part of our work as product designers. If we can practice what we preach and show resilience as a business, offer sustainable alternatives, cost saving measures and a more beneficial way of working, we can encourage these businesses to look at their own work priorities. We hope this would inspire them to look at how they too can embrace the new normal.

What else can we learn about the new normal as product designers and how do we respond?

The designer and the client have a responsibility to be mindful of the end use of the products they collaborate to design. With many goods in shorter supply and retailers also in lockdown, many consumers have utilised their right to repair and shown great intuition to fix what they have. Unfortunately for many years the right to repair has not been something manufacturers have wanted to support and the opportunity to repair products is limited mostly by having no spare parts available. If there was a mindset to create products that are intuitive to fix this would help combat our ‘throw away society’.

Now is a great time to open discussions and champion this approach. We believe this is a crucial role for Product Designers and manufacturers to address on a global scale.

If you are about to embark on a new product development and would like more information about how you could benefit from our insight, please contact us today.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Is there a better way?

Over the weekend a video clip was released on the BBC of a Cornwall-based artist, spending his lockdown time collecting plastic rubbish from his local beach. He had collected over 50 million pieces and his joy at doing so was evident. This is just one of many hundreds of positive stories featuring the lives of individuals and communities shared during the covid19 lockdown. Paradoxically what appears to be emerging from our time in a global quarantine is an awareness of nature and our environments and at the same time exposes the true cost of how the human race treats our planet and each other.

In Boris Johnson’s recent public address, his words resonated with a clear “carry on and get back to work” message. However, we question should we really be hurrying back to how life was before the coronavirus or actually using these unprecedented times to re-evaluate how we live and how we work and find a better way for both?

On home soil, with 20% of the UK workforce temporarily furloughed and another 45% remote working, school closures and the country essentially ‘shut down’ the undeniable ‘life pressures’ the modern day world has created have all but vanished. Many now find themselves with more time to appreciate time at home with their families and exercise in traffic-free streets. To rediscover nature in our surroundings and breathe in clearer air.

A number of employers and employees have realised, maybe for the first time, that remote and flexible working actually benefits both. That long distance commutes and business travel abroad take their toll on our free time and our planet. When faced with an inability to make these journeys, we have adapted to a new way of working, using remote technology and conferencing for the large part. There would be a strong case for investing in this type of infrastructure and implementing this into every business post-lockdown.

Maybe now is as good a time as any to ask ourselves to compare our lives 6 weeks ago to what they are now. What are we seeing? What positives can we take from this? How can we apply these to how we live and how we work going forward? Is there a better way? The good news is that being in lockdown has meant working families and both employers and employees have had the time to talk together which will lead to open discussions that will ultimately benefit all.
To be clear, the outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic won’t be positive for everybody. There will be many losses to life and to the business economy. But what it has done is provided us with the opportunity on a global scale to learn lessons and rewrite the rules of how we operate on a day to day basis both personally and professionally.

We can all create something great together if we take the time to stop and think about where our priorities lie.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Crowdfunding

In last week’s article, we focused on the difficulties of attracting investment if you are a private inventor. As we demonstrated, a certain amount of time, resource and capital has to be undertaken before any investor would even begin to take a pitch from you seriously. As a result of this, many small start-ups are seeking alternative ways to bring a product idea to life.

One new approach that’s been steadily growing in popularity is crowdfunding. Through the emergence of websites like Crowdcube and Seedrs ,crowdfunding is revolutionising the way businesses and projects are being funded, allowing small start-ups to use the power of the internet, social media and engagement to recruit and raise funds through a large number of small investors or lenders.

Nowadays, crowdfunding sites are heavily regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) making them a safer proposition to many new investors who might have been discouraged by the risks in the past. There are also notable tax relief benefits of up to 50% available to investors through Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS), making crowdfunding investments very attractive and potentially lucrative. Within crowdfunding itself, there are three models for raising funds which are equity-based, loan based and reward based, allowing a lot of flexibility to the start-up and the investor.

For private inventors, crowdfunding is seemingly a great way of getting traction for your idea and delivering your finished product into the hands of your target market. The flexibility of crowdfunding means that it is possible for private inventors to recruit more than just financial investment in the form of hard cash. For example, some “investors” with design or technology expertise will offer time in kind and lend valuable advice if the inventor was to run in to a hitch involving something such as manufacturing during the product development stage.

However, the golden rule of any New Product Development (NPD) is to protect your idea with intellectual property. With crowdfunding it would be easy to fall foul of the copy cats so the trick is to provide enough information to entice the investors, but not to divulge so much that it puts your product in jeopardy before it’s even entered the marketplace.

Crucial to this is ensuring you have developed a robust intellectual property strategy. You should make sure that you’ve filed all necessary patent, design and/or trademark applications before you go public on a crowdfunding site. It is also crucial that you have worked out your timings, to make sure that you have enough funding to see you through the various stages in intellectual property filings and product development. If you postpone developing an IP strategy, patent protection (for example) is unavailable and you run the risk of losing the rights to your own invention.

You also must know the exact detail and terms of your product offering, even if this means delaying going public until all the details have been ironed out. It is easy to get whipped up in the excitement of the moment but it’s important to keep your feet firmly on the ground. Seeking advice from an IP Attorney and having supporting illustrations for your new product provided by an experience Product Designer will help to secure your legal position.

The expertise of a Pleasure Product Design Consultancy like Sated Design could be a clever move during the early stages of your New Product Development (NPD), however as a full service agency we can step in at any time up to the point of manufacture to assist you on your journey. Contact us today.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail