Successful product design

Successful product design through interdisciplinary project work already in the training

Current project developments, also in the capital goods sector, are characterized by the clash of different disciplines. Marketing experts, design engineers and product designers are required to achieve the envisaged goals with the respective view from their expertise! Likewise production responsible persons and – more topically than ever – work planners and departments of the material procurement try to make their influence valid on a future product and the product design!

Improved communication in training required

The coordination of the different flows is the responsibility of the project management as an extended arm of the management. It is obvious that the right communication between the actors is of central importance for a successful product design and an effective corporate design strategy. The very formulation of the project goals often leaves room for interpretation, consciously or unconsciously. This is exactly where the challenge lies! Each specialist department develops ideas with its own weightings for the tasks set, and assesses speculations about the future according to its own abilities. Only when all participants are able to meet at “eye level”, recognize specialist talents and are guided by clever moderation of the project management, can successful products be developed that will survive on the market. From my point of view, something like this can only succeed if it is practiced beforehand!

Only by simulating what you can expect in your professional life, you can start your career well prepared after the training.

Cooperation for successful product design

Even in my student days, there was a desire among us fellow students to work on projects on an interdisciplinary basis – specifically, to do project work together with students from mechanical engineering, marketing, etc., because even back then, a picture was emerging in the field of vacuum technology during my studies that has not changed into today’s professional reality!

It was and is to be observed that communication disturbances within a development team stand in the way of a fluent cooperation. The assessment of each other’s technical competencies and, even more important, the overcoming of traditional role distributions within a group still leave great room for improvement.

A prospective designer should be prepared to rub up against the visionary radiance of a design concept, to filter target-oriented aspects in dialog and to secure a common focus. Designers also have to learn that the development time for a product design is limited and that every idea, no matter how good, has to be developed ready for series production within this framework! Also, today more than ever, material properties need to be sustainable and not just cheap and easy to source. Management should be able to use the potentials of the visionary, speculative abilities of a design service provider in order to communicate issued goals in an improved way and to support cross-project corporate communication through a stringent corporate design strategy.

From this subjective assessment, the desire for improvement and expansion of all academic training in this context can clearly be derived, with the objective of creating improved working conditions for future generations of product developers.