The industrial deign field is in a constant dynamic flow of change. As manufacturing technologies, user demands and social trends change; so does the way product and service designers work.
The field is currently experiencing one of the largest movements since the industrial revolution. As digital technologies advance and online services become more prominent, the product design sector is quickly shifting along with the service and experience design sectors which have been seeing massive growth in recent years. We are very close to seeing the last years of the “design consultancy” in its traditional sense. To keep this profession alive, industrial designers are having to provide more elements to their service by moving beyond the traditional work of concept sale and start taking up more responsibilities in managing a design project through all stages of development from concept to commercial realization and sometimes even further beyond that. Since 2000 more than two thirds of design consultancies in Poland have closed due to their inability to maintain a substantial client base. This is a clear indicator that what exactly a design consultancy stands to be is no longer as relevant as it used to be. The firms still standing and seeing growth in their business are those who understand that they can no longer keep working the way they have in the past and are looking for new ways that they can deliver their skills to clients in a meaningful way.
A clear front runner in this changing scene for design consultancies is the 2nd Road Service Design and Business planning Consultancy Firm. While their team consists of designers who have been trained in traditional consultancy practice, the company has a very unique way of providing their services that are more relevant for what their clients need today.
2nd road breaks down the barriers of big businesses helping their clients become more fluid and dynamic in their ability to adapt and evolve to changes in their relevant field of business. While the consultancy used to undertake traditional practice in product design and basic level service operation design, they have advanced quickly and understood that they can offer their clients much more from their skill set than just another product for their range or a basic plan for their services or systems.
One of the key features of the 2nd Road service is how they work along side their clients to find solutions. Clients are very involved with the process and are often active participants in the creative outbreak sessions and meetings. This personal element of their design work gives a more satisfying edge to their service and results in highly successful solutions that the client understands.
So what will product and service designers be doing in 2025? It will certainly not be what we are seeing today. But the changes we do see, happening today, show as design work becomes a more personal and all encompassing process of development, it will continue to evolve and shape what the industry will become in later years. With current leading consultancies like 2nd Road taking these steps forward, it’s clear that before we know it, the industrial design field will be expanding in many more ways affecting the way that many other professions and businesses operate.
Robert Fabricant, 2014, The Rapidly Disappearing Business of Design, Wired, California, Viewed 14/10/15, <http://www.wired.com/2014/12/disappearing-business-of-design/>
2nd Road, 2015, 2nd Road Home Page, Sydney Australia, Viewed 14/10/15, <http://www.secondroad.com.au>