Corporate design process

Can anyone sum up the design process within a corporate studio? Ideally, I’d like to try and determine where the ID work initiates and when it ends. I realize some may have different approaches based on studio size so the process may be from marketing through to production engineering. But I would like to try and get a feel as to what typically corporate offer in the design process in comparison to consultancy firm. If this question is still too broad, I can try and specify if requested.

Robert Cooper’s stage-gate methodology is the gold standard. It’s a five-stage approach to product development:

Traditionally, ID was initiated after Gate 2 during Development, working off a brief provided by Product Marketing. But in the last several years, designers have started developing strategic tools that allow them to contribute earlier in the process, from Discovery to Scoping and creating the Business Case. In other words, Designers started ‘designing the brief.’ But this really depends on the maturity, positioning and skillset of the design group.

CG pretty much nailed it, at least where I come from.

The input of where ID starts can vary greatly on the project. There may be projects where ID steps in right at the end during the T&V phase just to course correct actions taken by rogue engineers. There are also entire business plans and projects which enter the process 100% from the design group. If you have a company that develops dozens of products and portfolios of things there will always be projects that are just refreshes of your portfolio, and then there will be the innovative new stuff that is never going to come from someone in marketing because they just aren’t in touch with the right wavelengths.

CG / CYBERDEMON - thanks for the replies. This really helps clear things a bit more. I guess presenting a holistic story in your portfolio is more important than just the technical background experience.

Does the ID’er also create the design presentations in-house, or does marketing and GD handle those presentations?

Does the ID’er present the work to executive level decision makers for consideration or does this fall under the ranking Design Director / Senior Designer or Team presentation?

The more I ask these questions, the less connected I feel with my own process and work. I guess I’m starting to fear where this conversation may be concluding to.

Presentations: Sometimes, depends on the projects. We create a lot of presentations to level set design with other functions (marketing, engineering) and sometimes those functions will end up trickling our content throughout the system. We also get called on to create things that marketing just doesn’t have the expertise to do.

Presentation to executives: Again sometimes, this heavily will depend on where the ID group is situated. We have a lot of presentations to VP’s and other directors, but it’s not on a regular basis. Most of the time it’s the role of the respective business leaders to go to the top level execs and say “here’s what we’re working on” but occasionally we’ll be called on to explain things in detail.

What particularly are your concerns? Corporate life can be tough, there is a lot of red tape but the more street cred you can earn as a designer, the faster that can be elevated. It’s an art to learn the balance between being innovative, and being so blue sky that you scare everyone into not listening to you ever again.

Actually, there is no standard process can be used for all company/factory,because different product—especial in different area—the process is big different.

But we can say the process is commom for toys company, they are:

1)First,you have a goal–we call this input–what kind of toy you need develop—function,aesthetics…
2)Define the details of function,aesthetics(color, shape,battery,light,motor,etc);
3)Mock-up without function(only aesthetics evaluation);
4)If item 3 passed,go to nest step, if failed,go to step 2;
5)Structure design and electronic design;
6)Functional samples or prototype;
7)Evaluation for ifunction sample;if passed,go to nest step;if failed,go to iem 5;
8 )Start mould manufacturing;
9)Trial production;

Massood1224, don’t forget that the level of position that you are seeking will have it’s expectations of your maturity and ability to contribute in certain areas. I wouldn’t expect an entry level designer to be able to contribute much outside of the “design practice” skillset right away - sketches, renders, presentations, and models. Overtime - either through experience or advanced degrees - you can gain more understanding of business and how design can be leveraged earlier to gain more influence (design strategy). Stick with what you know and don’t try to oversell your capability if you are still early in your career. If you are looking for that first coroporate job, focus on companies that have larger in-house design teams where you can get experience and be exposed to more of the business side of corporate work.

Best of luck.