A few months ago, several members of the SGW Designworks management team met for a discussion that served both as a review and as a forecast of how our company will develop in the coming months and years.
We talked about SGW’s humble roots – when our co-founders first met at Starbucks to discuss projects and opportunities on the horizon – and how our company has grown to become a leading product development company in the northwest.
Fast forward to today, and many people around the world experience a different reality than expected when setting the goal in January 2020. The economic (and socio-economic) impact of COVID-19 has been great and has already led to fundamental changes in the way we work. We work, recreate and interact with our families and other community members.
We also see big shifts in consumption – specifically what, how and where people buy. In the near future and in the long run, these changes will certainly change the way products are designed, developed, manufactured, sold and distributed. These product development trends that we see in front of us can permanently change our industry as we know it.
We know this because, as engineers and product developers, we are the earliest able to bring concepts of all kinds to life. Therefore, we are often the first to hear from innovators, who want to prototype and develop their product for mass consumption.
What product development trends can we expect after the pandemic?
A new era in product development – and consumption
The COVID-19 pandemic has already brought about profound changes in our industry and in our periphery. We see various consumer trends that are currently impacting our work as product developers – and will continue to influence us in the future.
Here are some shifts (and resulting product development trends) that we expect in the coming months and years:
- More human-first products. The security and solidity of consumer goods (especially household products) is emphasized more strongly.
- More online spending. E-commerce has increased significantly in the past six weeks. This trend is likely to continue as billions of people spend more time indoors. This may not have much of an impact on product development (other than packaging and merchandising considerations), but it is possible that as online sales grow, companies are more likely to have R&D budgets.
- Increased preference for different supply chains. Companies find that securing or redundant supply chains would have reduced the impact of regional closings due to COVID-19.
- A shift in consumer priorities. The number of consumers buying products related to crisis preparedness, health and hygiene and safety has increased. We assume that this trend will continue.
- More work-from-home functions. As product development companies ensure that their employees can work remotely, we expect this shift to have a long-term impact on our processes. With a view to the future, we want to continue to ensure that our employees with health risks can work from home if necessary.
- Increased innovation. Many countries and cities around the world have placed orders to stay at home, and this mega shift has led to disruptions and challenges that need to be addressed. We see innovations driven by the ambition to solve new problems, and we expect an influx of new inventor and patent requests.
Innovation: just the beginning
For many today there is a lot of uncertainty in their personal and professional lives. However, we as product developers are in a unique position to look to the future with optimism and hope. After all, adversity is an opportunity, and our desire to “improve human existence” means that we are ready to make the world a better place.
While some companies are slowing down, others are looking ahead and moving into the future – a future that may look a little different than we had imagined, but still offers new opportunities for innovation.
In fact, we believe that bold innovations are not only continued, but also increased – both at SGW and beyond. To promote this spirit of innovation, SGW Designworks is offering our partners and companies in our community our experience and training in free, one-hour virtual sessions over the next two months. To facilitate these discussions, we will use idea generation techniques to help teams quickly generate ideas and solutions to their most complex and difficult challenges.
If your company would benefit from a free idea generation session, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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