Just over thirty years ago we started outerspace as a team of three industrial designers. We were industrial designers with a high-level of technical expertise. We captured a lot of the technical aspects that design would influence. We balanced the aesthetic with the ‘implementability’ aspects of a product from day one. Over three decades our offering has changed to a more comprehensive offering in the product development space.
industrial design beginnings
When we first opened our doors, designs were often developed in two-dimensions as drawings and then presented to pattern makers to build patterns, and tools were machined from these. 3D CAD came along which meant that we could do a lot more and own more of the design process and the mechanical development process. Rapid prototyping emerged and this meant that we could validate a lot of that process more quickly and own the design intent and the manufacturing process.
At this point, we added more professional engineers to the team. We started developing more complex products and built our engineering capability. We designed and engineered medical diagnostic devices with complex electronics and software, with clinical representation. We observed the ways people used devices in a clinical environment and how we could apply design but also how we would then package those insights around electronic technologies and sensor technologies. Then we were involved in prototyping, testing, organising the manufacture for the enclosures and working hand in hand with our clients who did the electronic design and development.
electronics and firmware
We added electronic design, function and capability expertise to our team a few years ago. This includes firmware design and engineering expertise and expansion into understanding and working with the software aspects of products. We now manage the balance of both design, engineering and manufacture in a full-service product development element for our clients.
our multidisciplinary approach gives balance
With nimble, intelligent, multi-disciplined teams we provide solutions that are much more balanced solutions, rather than having different groups trying to pull the priorities of a product in different directions.
The more external teams you have involved in a product development project, the more the exponential rise in the amount of communication needed. The issue here is that this skews what the best solution is. What you really want is an overall system or approach that doesn’t have any bias that pulls it in a certain direction. A service that has a multidisciplinary approach is a superior approach.
the hammer and the nail
I like to use the old ‘hammer and nail’ analogy – “To a hammer everything looks like a nail” which means to an electronics engineer every problem looks like an electronic problem, to a designer every problem looks like a design problem. The advantages are that you’re not having one discipline try and capture or hijack the project because that’s how they see the world.
With a full-service offering, the amount of understanding around requirements for a project is streamlined and the product development journey remains focused and coordinated. We have a unique approach that is built on having all design and engineering disciplines operating at the same level of maturity.
understanding how people use a product or system
Most product development consultancies in Australia have come more from an electronic engineering or mechanical engineering background. They tend to have more of a bias to a specific engineering discipline being their key expertise. This influences the way they solve problems. Often the technology is a more important focus, than understanding the people who will use a product or system.
We research the needs of people early in the process to get a clear understanding of what the end users requirements are. Then we use our knowledge and expertise to find the appropriate technology for a product, rather than choose a technology first and shoe horn it into what we think is the end user’s requirement.
Because our background and original DNA is more design focused and user focused, we tend to be agnostic to what technology we would apply to a product. We are not driven by a specific technology. Now as a multidisciplinary product development consultancy we use this impartial, agnostic approach to get the very best outcomes for our clients and the people interacting with their products and product ranges.