Co-Design: Product Type and Demographics

Author:
M. Mobeen Shaukat
Company/School:
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals

CO-DESIGN: PRODUCT TYPE AND DEMOGRAPHICS

M. Mobeen Shaukat
Assistant Professor
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals 

Co-design is an emerging trend in new product development that results in more active customer participation in product development than conventional design processes; it connects customers, designers, and engineers throughout product design and development. Co-design makes customer an active contributor to the design team. This co-operation between customers and companies has resulted in some successful product designs. It is of interest to design community to know whether customers are equally interested to participate in co-design of all the products they own or are they more interested in one product as compared to the other? For example, given a chance to co-design, will a customer prefer to co-design a house or a digital camera?  Also assuming customers want to co-design, how do they want to participate in co-design? What is the right medium to contact customers for co-design? Online, offline or a hybrid of the two. Surveys were conducted with an online panel of customers in the US to gauge various aspects of co-design from customers’ perspective. Results from these surveys showed that customers’ interest in co-design varies significantly with product type. For example, customers are five times more interested in co-designing a house than an inkjet printer. Gender also influences co-design. Females are more interested in co-designing clothes than males whereas males are more interested in co-designing cars than females. Apart from gender, age group also plays a role in determining customers’ interest in co-design. Results from these surveys can be used to guide co-design efforts to engage customers in design and development of various products. It is predicted that in coming years co-design will increasingly augment conventional design processes.

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