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Erdmann Design for sustainable innovation
Along with ‘irony’, one of the most used words in the English language has become ‘sustainability’.
Now almost entirely associated with ecological concepts and environmental performance, ‘sustainable’ has a true meaning that is simultaneously much simpler and more profound: something that is capable of being supported or maintained over an indefinite period and for the long term.
Erdmann Design creates solutions that are designed for sustainability in both its functional and environmental senses: aligning the product or project with long term strategy, its intended environment, as well as societal and consumer expectations.
Sustainable innovation defined
The Erdmann design approach is based on understanding that just being innovative is never enough: from Choe Yun-ui, the Korean who invented a printing press 200 years before Gutenberg, to Paul Nipkow, who defined a television in the 1880s, history is littered with geniuses whose inventions failed to achieve success. Innovation can only succeed when it is part of a sustainable development and marketing program, which means defining whom the product will benefit and what is needed to make it accessible at the right price.
Erdmann Design’s distinctive and innovative services, based on Human-Centered Design (HCD) concepts, have been successfully applied to the development of medical devices and life-sciences technology, where usability and end-user experience are key success factors.
The Erdmann methodology starts from the multiple uncertainties of original research, filters them through the disciplines of HCD, market appraisal, technological modeling, and business evaluation to provide a platform for successful industrialization that follows a sustainable continuum.
The disciplines that shape the Erdmann approach help to explain why the agency has won six design awards for 2021 alone. They include:
- Business Evaluation: shaped in workshops, WorldCafe discussion groups, and MakerSpace collaborative open access creative spaces
- Human Centered Values: defined through user cases, engagement with all stakeholders, prototyping, and networking
- Experience Mapping: Gathering insights, ideation, concept building and performance/usability testing
- Market Definition: Using benchmarking, SWOT analysis, and other tools
- Product Evaluation: Testing the prototype against regulatory guidelines and clinical testing results
- Quantifying Benefits: Testing the business case against quality results and sustainability demands
‘Branding’ is another widely used term, having much more attached to it than a logo or trademarks. Brand value is implicit in every aspect of the product and the company’s behaviour and is simply affirmation of consumer trust, based on promises kept.
Therefore successful brand management requires design and vision to be constantly tested against each other, through holistic analysis of essential purpose, strategic promises, design principles, and product attributes.
Successful branding goes hand in hand with effective marketing, following a step-by-step process extending from building the business case, early stage analysis, product development, launch and post launch support.
The Erdmann approach recognizes that at every stage along the development of a medical or clinical device, there are opportunities for effective engagement that increase both product and brand values, from first experience of pain, leading to dialogue with patients, through to analysis of effects, side effects and buyer motivations, creating opportunities to engage with doctors, pharmacists, insurers and gatekeepers.
Early stage analysis and engagement
In almost every area of sustainable development, from child raising and education to mitigating climate change, it is recognized that the earlier effective engagement begins, the easier the overall process will be and the better the end results.
Erdmann Solutions embraces this philosophy along all three axes of product development:
- Early Stage Marketing: Gaining realistic understanding of market potential including HCD creation of commercial value, user and market needs analysis, user experience mapping, ‘ look and feel’ simulations, prototype validation, real world usability tests, and product certification
- Early Stage Technology Development: Appraising the true scale of technological innovation including technical feasibility, functional analysis, patent and IP searches, competitor appraisal, freedom to operate (FTO) and risk analysis, early prototyping and testing, validation of targeted functions and continuous product development and characterization through to design freeze for production
- Early Stage Business Analysis: Quantifying the business benefits including HCD analysis, corporate mission, cost/price/profit analysis, roadmapping, stakeholder and competitor mapping, value propositions, pain and gain assumptions, quality and regulatory requirements, business risk analysis, early production cost estimates and profit/return calculations