»We have always conceived product innovations in sustainable, forward-looking solutions«
Gerd Schwarz, Managing Director
You can expect to meet many good acquaintances at HYVE, with a number of well-known products and design awards on display in the House of Innovation. For example, the BSH kitchen appliance, top seller in Europe; the Flexi dog leash, which you basically see on every walk; but also the ICAROS exercise bike, which allows you to fly through virtual worlds while working out ... And yet the HYVE team is anything but detached from reality.
The future-oriented mindset of the HYVE inventors and explorers, who develop groundbreaking solutions for their customers from various industries, shows in their literal investment in sustainability: HYVE adds three per cent of the budget a customer provides for his project out of the company’s pockets to ensure the systemic integration of sustainability criteria into every single innovation. »When it comes to sustainability, the view of designers is particularly valuable: they understand the relevant components, they can scout sustainable materials, and they can help think through the entire life cycle of a product«, says Dorothée Stadler, Team Lead Consumer Insights & Co-Creation.
Gerd Schwarz, Managing Director
»Since its foundation, HYVE has been supporting the interconnection between business innovation and sustainability. We have always conceived product innovation in terms of sustainable and forward-looking solutions. For instance, extending product lifecycles, or anticipating what future users will expect from products. This is what makes our product developments viable for tomorrow and thereafter«, adds HYVE Managing Director Gerd Schwarz, who has been with the company for 17 years. And it soon becomes clear that design at HYVE goes way beyond visual design. In the multidisciplinary teams of research, strategy, development and design, it has its position in the process: from the initial idea to the market launch.
Breaking new horizons
But anyone involved in innovation knows that the users of today may not be the users of tomorrow. How does a company deal with this? How do you manage to include the future needs of people and the environment? Of course, the future can never actually be predicted, and it is difficult for us humans to imagine the distant future without drawing linear conclusions from both past and present. HYVE therefore relies on the method of Future Scenario Planning, among other things. »In order to be able to think in a time horizon of five or ten years, we develop certain situation models«, explains Minerva Loos, UX designer and researcher. »Such scenarios are created, for example, by looking at possible technological, political and social developments in cooperation with trend receivers and experts. These scenarios can then be captured in storyboards or hidden pictures that serve as a basis for discussion. From that, strategic deductions can be made.«
The method is complemented by Speculative Design, which selects isolated moments and moulds them into striking images – for example, when you imagine what the bathroom of the future could look like: a bathroom that effortlessly delivers all the facts relevant to personal hygiene and health, from the info mirror to the floating camera. »The beauty here is that we can play with extremes«, says Simon Kindler, Team Lead Concept & Industrial Design, adding that this spurs creativity but also demands a confident handling of the consequences. »The future is approaching with increasing speed, the world is becoming more complex each day«, he sums up the challenge. It helps to know how to handle it ...
CWS PureLine – Designing a new hygiene experience
Hygiene has never been more relevant than today: In recent years, people have washed their hands more often than ever before. Hence, hygiene- related innovations are in high demand. CWS has always pursued contributing to greaterhealth, safety and protection by providing innovative, sustainable and digital hygiene solutions. Products in public washrooms, from soap dispensers to towel roll dispensers, are particularly important in this scenario. The design development of the latest product line, the CWS PureLine, was handled by HYVE – from the very first design vision to its launch in February 2022.
User-centric and future-oriented development
What are the user needs with regard to public washrooms? How can the aesthetics of a private washroom be adopted there? What can a future-proof design language look like? These are the questions the HYVE designers have been exploring extensively to establish a holistic design vision that would serve as a compass for that project and future products. The results of this initial phase were cross-checked with parallelly run technical developments and tested out with users. Following several iterative development cycles, design features were defined, formulated and bindingly documented in a Design DNA Guideline.
The final product line, the CWS PureLine, stands for long-life design. Form language and colours were chosen deliberately to avoid visual obsolescence, i. e. »wear and tear«, and to create a design language that stands the test of time. In the development process, careful consideration was given not only to the users, but also to the planet. CWS strives to extend the lifespan of their products and focuses on using primarily recycled materials. Since they also pay attention to the consumables, all of their towel rolls, soaps and papers are certified with the EU Ecolabel as well as the »allergy friendly« quality seal.
HYVE offers Innovation Management expertise, Software Development & Design, Artificial Intelligence & Business Model Innovation – all under the same roof. In over 4,000 successfully implemented innovation projects, the company co-creates solutions from the initial idea to the market-ready product launch and empowers entire organisations to become better innovators.
More information via hyve.net
The conversation with HYVE was first published in the mcbw MAG as part of mcbw 2022.