IBM aims to link product design with strategy

IBM is launching its first US-based consulting service specialising in product design, which could potentially be rolled out to other key locations, including the UK, as part of plans to tap into a £250bn global market of untapped business.

The Product Design Consulting Services group will comprise a multidisciplinary team of designers, engineers and researchers reporting to Lee Green, IBM’s director of worldwide corporate design and led by IBM designer Bob Steinbugler.

The aim is to drill into new markets, enabling clients to grow existing businesses by providing the ‘building blocks’ needed to transform design concepts into actual products.

The group will specialise in three core services: strategic design to explore new ideas, product design to create differentiation and ‘breakthrough offerings’ for clients and customer experience, to engage customers through design.

IBM designers have already worked with clients including the New York Stock Exchange, Orange and Mayo Medical Ventures.

The service is currently being promoted in the US and will initially target the electronics industry ‘among others’, says Green. IBM will appoint individuals from the UK or Europe to lead the Product Design Consulting Services if it rolls out globally, says a spokesman for IBM.

‘We have engaged with a number of clients to help them link design with strategy and to manage the process of defining user needs more effectively. Given our success with that experience – and the demand we see for this new service – we are now launching it across IBM,’ Green explains. ‘Our approach helps reveal unarticulated, unmet customer needs that can lead to new marketplace opportunities,’ adds Steinbugler.

Design at IBM

• IBM has traditionally kept its design services in-house, but is now launching its consultancy service to tap into the client market

• Product Design Consulting Services joins a list of client organisations that have set up third party design services. The list includes: Phillips, Porsche, Lotus and Ford Motor Co.

Latest articles