Co-Design: Innovation at the intersection

Last week, I met a friend that works at Istituto Europeo di Design (IED), a well-known design education center in Barcelona. We were discussing about how companies were redesigning their approach to customers’ journeys, and how students were helping them and the different collaboration projects in place. Design is not only about the functional aspect of a product but also takes into account the user needs (current, or future needs in some cases).  This is something Design Thinking promotes too. Today, uniquess and sustainability stand out when it comes to designing new products.

Uniquess and Sustainability are two concepts that complement and support each other. Uniqueness in fashion could be achieved thru two channels: exclusivity (luxury) or customization. Exclusivity or feeling different from the mass. Customization or defining a differentiated, individual attribute within a group or tribe. Both terms aligned with the most successful “religion”: capitalism, where spiritual individualism guides so many modern lives (2011. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Y.N. Harari).

Lipovetsky considers we entered a new historical phase, the hypermodernity. Hyperconsumption is a consumption which absorbs and integrates more and more spheres of social life and which encourages individuals to consume for their own personal pleasure rather than to enhance their social status (Hypermodern Times. Lipovetsky).

Many brands, not only retailers, are oferring personalizations. Nike, Lego, Heineken, Swatch,…, are some of the brands giving the pencil to the customers. Co-creation is the new normal while companies are analyzing what are the customizations to improve their assortments, still produced in scale. Venkat Ramaswamy already wrote about the importance of co-creation in The Future of Competition in 2004!

Zegna and Maserati

Zegna x Maserati

Collaboration (in the fashion industry: capsule collection or co-creation) is not only a partnership between customer and brand, but also between companies. This is something that I coud learn from a great menthor, Alfons Cornella (founded Infonomia, Co-Society, Institute of Next), during my experience in his design thinking and strategy innovation boutique.

“The future is co- Collaboration, co-creation, coordination, combined skills to generate hybrid projects: beyond ‘open innovation’, the future is about multiplying the capacity of businesses so that new products and services can emerge and stimulate a new economic force of energy.” (A.Cornella. The Future is Co-. 2013)

Successful examples of partnerships are: Go Pro and Red Bull, Nike and Apple. Maserati, Ermenegildo Zegna, Coca Cola and Heinz, Microsoft and Toyota, etc.

Nike Apple Watch cocreation

Apple x Nike

In the next article, we will comment about a successful collaboration in regards to Beauty that respond to what Lipovestky called hyper-individualism from the supply side: hyper-personalization.

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