René de Beer is the owner of De Beer Innovations, a subsidiary of De Beer Group.
De Beer Innovations focuses on the development and marketing of innovative concepts within the hardware and sanitary industry.
In this interview he talks about his experiences with a concept sprint at 6’4 ”design manufactory.
René, how did you end up at 6’4″?
We had several ideas for new products, and we noticed that we lack the creativity to make the step from idea to product design.
If we do such a thing ourselves, we make obvious choices. The result turns out to be not really a designed product, but more a functional product. However, we really needed a design for this project.
I liked the process and format of the concept sprint. I enjoyed the fact that you laid down a number of different directions in a very short time. That gives ideas and inspiration and afterwards zooms into the details.
Otherwise we would probably have quickly focused on a certain idea and not necessarily the best. Something that we had already thought of and that happened to be feasible. While you first want to associate in a more open manner.
What gets you excited about good design?
Since I first met you, during the project for Nexi, I never forgot how you work with the golden circle and things like that. The secret of good design is that you actually don’t realize that it’s there. It just feels right.
A good design must work very naturally, be very naturally beautiful. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top. But it has to work intuitively. And that is something fairly intangible.
Isn’t that something you could do yourself?
No, that’s the point. I’ve got the creativity for it. But I don’t have the skills to digitize or draw that or whatever. There are people in our company who do have the skills to deal with such programs. But they do not have the creativity or skill to translate this into a good design.
That piece is missing in our company. We make many technical products where design does not matter as much. We can do technical design, but this is different.
What did you like about this concept sprint?
Your initial product plan was very extensive and beyond what we had in mind originally. The concept sprint however was spot-on what we needed in terms of speed and results.
Your strength is that you are able to come up with various solutions in a very short time. That is how you bring us on certain tracks that we would never have thought of. You then quickly focus on the chosen ideas again and work them out in detail. That inspired us even more.
I’d never expected that you can actually come up with something special in just two days, a very short time indeed. I found that very valuable.
At De Beer Innovations we have all kinds of ideas for products and we are always looking for ideas. In our process we want to be able to assess quickly whether a new idea or product has potential. In order to evaluate this, you must have a design for it. To see what it can look like, how it can be made.
But in such an early phase we don’t want a full-blown product development every time. Assuming we do ten of these types of projects and eight or nine are dropped. Then we would rather not have a fifty-hour project.
I believe that you need to decide quickly and not lie awake about what might have been possible. I am very happy with the results of this concept sprint and I am looking forward to the next steps.
What kind of companies would you recommend working with 6’4”?
Companies with a need for design in the sense of making products beautiful. There are quite a few studios that only focus on the technical side. I think you come up with really good design concepts.
Thus, I’d say people who want to come to a promising design fast. Something different than what they would have come up with themselves.