The philosophy of the design agency Shift Design & Strategy is that design should be easy to understand, easy to buy and easy to turn into profit.
Shift Design & Strategy states itself as ‘the result oriented design agency of Sweden’ and wholeheartedly believes that its motto ‘Design Simplified’ paves the way for commercial success.
To successfully contribute to profitable end-results, the company has developed its own strategic design tool, called CUE, which incorporates the client’s company (C), the product’s users (U) and the expression (E), i.e. the distillation of C and U. The outcome should always be the easiest, clearest and most pragmatic way of communicating brand- and product values.
”It’s a dynamic tool, adaptable to most development processes in a way that stimulates creativity and innovation,” says Carl Hampf, BA ISc, Part-Owner of Shift Design & Strategy AB.
To demystify design, the colleagues at Shift break it down to constituents that others can relate to. By doing so, design features become selling points.
”Technology focused companies are not always in detail, conscious about how people interact with their products functionally as well as emotionally. We’re the link filling that knowledge gap. By humanising technology, for instance by giving the product user a persona, meaning a personal name, specific characteristics and detailed situational facts, we can facilitate for the whole project group to make design decisions that give the product competitive edges,” he adds.
Two Segments – One Mission
For a designer it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the situation in which a product is used, and Shift Design & Strategy has a long experience of working with life science products within the segments of medtech and assistive devices.
On the one hand, medtech products aim to save lives, improve treatment and create better and safer working conditions for healthcare professionals.
”For example, the first prototype of the chest compression device LUCAS™ was quite intimidating. When we got involved in the project we immediately realised that Lucas had to have an expression that could calm the strong emotions experienced in the traumatic situation when somebody’s heart stops beating; so its features had to be as friendly as possible. At the same time, it had to look and feel genuine and give the healthcare professionals pride in using it. Hence, we had to come up with features expressing professionalism to the paramedics and safety to the patients and their relatives,” says Carl Hampf.
The results were so successful that Jolife, the company developing Lucas, was bought by the big US company Physio Control.
Assistive devices, on the other hand, strive to improve the everyday life for people with impaired function and patients with chronic or long-term disease, thus helping them to maintain their autonomy and identity.
“To succeed we need to de-stigmatise disability through design features that rather express capability,” says Patrik Westerlund, MFA, MSc, Part-Owner of Shift Design & Strategy AB. One good example is the Domino listening system from Bellman & Symfon. “Domino is a product that makes your hearing as exceptional as possible. It’s made for the hearing impaired and positioned towards the design conscious,” he adds.
Both products were awarded The Grand Award of Design, an award with focus on commercial success; Lucas in 2006 and Domino in 2011.
The expression of a life science product must appeal to healthcare professionals as well as to patients and their relatives. Ultimately, it should lead to one common mission, namely, to enhance the quality of life for everyone that in any way interacts or get exposed to the products.
”By good design, we do the technologies justice and increase the chances of making a profitable return for companies developing products where the interface between advanced technology and people is a core issue,” Patrik Westerlund concludes.