July 28, 2015

Solving future complex problems

With a growing demand for solving more complex business problems, the industrial design profession has changed dramatically. Even before I started working at VanBerlo, the focus has always been on creating better solutions for our clients. Over the last few years we’ve broadened our in-house skillset to bridge the gap between what people want and need, between technological capabilities and sustainable business.

Twenty years ago it was all about the design of a product. Not at VanBerlo. Already then, we looked at our customer's needs, and the needs of their customers. Who would use this product and why should it be a success? That way of working appealed to me, and I was 'sold' on it. Design was an immature industry, and we wanted to help it grow up. A big difference in the ways of working today compared to twenty years ago is that propositions have to be much better thought out. When we develop a new product we have to take the various facets more into consideration. The world is getting smaller and the competition is becoming more fierce. That means that there's much more analytical work to be done beforehand.

VanBerlo understands complex problems… they're our specialty!

The clientele is diverse at VanBerlo. The one thing all these brands and markets have in common? They all have a complex problem to solve. Whether it's a child's car seat, a medical product or an app. Choices must be made about target market, brand and realisation. We build bridges between what people want and need, between technological capabilities and sustainable business. I know that brands choose VanBerlo because we offer more than only strategy or design. We try to provide strategic direction and then link that to the innovation roadmap. Our advantage over other design firms is that we don't just come up with a report, we can go one step further and help with the implementation.

It's true, I have noticed that the field of design has matured in recent years, but there is still so much more to discover. Strategically, we're improving our skills, but we're also growing in our achievements. For example, that VanBerlo is increasingly engaged in solving social problems, which we approach with design thinking. The municipality of Tilburg came to us when they wanted to involve residents in the realisation of a new passage under the central train station. At first, residents in the area behind the station were resistant to the new plan. They didn't understand the intention fully. VanBerlo's answer was to build a Oculus Rift demonstrator: a stationary bicycle that a person could ride whilst wearing a pair of 3D glasses, allowing them to experience what the passage would be like.

Working together with different parties and specialists enables us to further develop analysis and understanding of evolutions in specific branches and markets. Together with our clients, we build upon their strengths. We use our skill and knowledge to ensure a solid solution. Furthermore, delving deeper enables us to look into a 'crystal ball', providing our clients with solutions that prepare them for any challenges that may lay ahead.That's how we anticipate changes, that's how we meet the challenges of tomorrow's complex innovation issues. That's how we grow.

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