RODD/ Observe.Innovate.Design

An industrial design and innovation agency working with international clients to deliver strategic product design solutions.

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IFA 2014

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We have just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Berlin’s IFA – which for those who haven’t heard of it, it comprises hall after hall of the world’s amassed consumer electronic brands. We use the trip as a way to meet clients past and present, but more over it’s a great way of getting a smorgasbord of what’s ‘happening’ and with a few shows under our belts now we have started to see what’s blossoming and what’s in decline.

This year has seen a flurry of connected devices from the personal,

data gathering wearable devices aimed at making us healthier and fitter, through to smart appliances, energy monitoring and home security.

There has also been a nod to the past with some of the big players in the industry aiming to bring back the pleasure of listening to high quality music rather than the compressed, portable offerings we have become accustomed to nowadays.

Inevitably there are also show stoppers such as the massive 

‘Bendable’ Ultra high definition TV’s and the buzz around some of the smart watches being launched but look a bit deeper and there are gems to be found. For those who want a more detailed review of the show we have put together a pdf which can be downloaded here.

Please see our Pinterest board for more images from IFA 2014.

Rodd attends the Design Council’s ‘Active By Design’ Summit

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‘Today’s generation of children are currently forecast to live five years LESS than their parents.’ – This was a stunning sound bite from the Active By Design Summit curated by the Design council.

With 26 global speakers from the world of architecture and the built environment, sport science, healthcare and local councils, the summit addressed how design could be utilised to both actively and passively improve health. The more interesting subjects from the various speakers were those demonstrating ideas that offered real and tangible health improvements to a range of social demographics.

One of these, from PAN Studio, is the app ‘Run an Empire’, a simple gamified approach to indirectly improve health. Through a built-in  

map you can walk, run or jog around a city and ‘claim’ territory. If someone else covers the same area, your territory is then theirs, only to be reclaimed by following the route again yourself. It’s a simple game that changes the reason for being active from ‘because you have to’ into ‘because you want to’.

Another small – but potentially impactful – example was that of storing bikes on the street in a space no larger than half a car. Simply by moving the bike from the shed at the bottom of the garden or your fourth floor flat to a spot that you pass everyday on the way to work, the idea of cycling somehow seems much more approachable.

The content of the Design Council summit is a massive subject to try and cover off in a blog post. However,

I’d say the overriding take-away was that there is by no means one solution to the issues at hand. Rather it is small steps and big collaboration that will lead to real positive changes in both mindset and health of the most in need of getting Active.

One thing is for sure though, If it wasn’t such a long distance to walk from Southampton to London I’d have certainly felt a lot guiltier about taking first a car and then a train to and from the Design Council Summit ‘Active by Design’ Yesterday. Next time, I’ll set off walking a few days earlier!

Click here for more info on the Summit 

Top 5 ways to think more innovatively

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Designers, by nature, are continually searching for better ways to do something. Innovation therefore lies at the heart of design. So how can we ensure that we are thinking creatively.

1/ Two heads are better than one. – Collaboration is a great way to breed innovation. Bringing a variety of people together over a common problem is one of the best ways to solve something in a new and constructive way.

2/ You’re a designer – whatcha doing in an office? – Creative thinking won’t happen by staring into your monitor – get out where the problems – and opportunities – are. Absorb things,

hunt, scavenge do what you need to – but get out and be inspired!

3/ There are no bad ideas. – This may sound cliché but the most farfetched idea can inspire to the greatest ideas further down the line. Keep an open mind from the start. Leave the sorting out for later.

4/ Get your influences from elsewhere – It can be tempting to look at the category that you’re working on to gain inspiration but the best ideas can come from elsewhere. Consumer products may not be exciting but look at the arts, crafts, designer makers – places where there are less confines and creativity thrives.

5/ Take time to think – Often, it’s a good idea to take a break and do something completely different, especially when stuck. Even though it might feel like there’s not enough time for that, our brains can be amazing and, left with some breathing space, work out/find solutions in the background.

Find out how Rodd implements innovative thinking here.