Designing Design Research 2

Professor James Woudhuysen.
Seymour-Powell Forecasting

Tel: +44 (0)171 381 6344
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James is principal of SP Forecasting, a unit of product designers Seymour-Powell. Its clients include Aqualisa, BMW, Casio, Cathay Pacific, Minolta, Nokia and Yamaha.

In the 1980s, while editing Design, James gained an international reputation as a public speaker. He consolidated this at Fitch plc, then the world's largest firm of designers.

In the early and mid 1990s, James led consulting in IT at the Henley Centre for Forecasting, where his clients included AT&T, BT, Bull, Compaq, IBM, Motorola, and US West. He went on to manage worldwide market intelligence for Philips consumer electronics in the Netherlands.

James has worked for London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester in urban strategy, and for Ahrend NV, BAA plc, Forte Group and Milliken in facilities management.

A physicist, and editor/co-author of several books, Woudhuysen has written for Applied Ergonomics, the Economist, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers Journal, Long Range Planning, Management Today and Marketing.

Key Points - Market/ User Research and Design Practice.

"I think design research has to be significantly visual for anything to qualify for it since 50% of the term says design.....outcomes such as exhibits should to have that 'delight factor', otherwise we may as well be in accountancy or whatever."

Better design must in part mean better design briefs.

These can in part be supported by research into and forecasting the future of

  • Consumers
  • Distributors
  • Competitors
  • 'Big Picture' issues.

Around particular NPD projects, this research agenda needs supplementing by pre- and post-launch research, which should include the following items:


  • Concept Acceptance and Specification
  • Optimising the Product and the Communications


  • Consumer Buying
  • Consumer Usage and Profiles
  • Market Performance

This 'design research as broad Market Intelligence' is a critical element in the assembly of better design briefs and thus -- we hope ! -- better designs.


innovation process
planned occurence
rather than
chance happening
Research as a means
to better NPD

  • must have a general social and commercial research agenda, independent of particular NPD projects.
  • Separate from - through connected to - this agenda, more focused early pre-launch research is vital....
  • ...but so is post launch research.
  • General research agenda:

  • Needs and wants
  • Motivations and values
  • Cultures and subcultures
  • Lifestyles and preferred brands


  • use of time and space
  • Expenditure
  • Modes of behaviour
  • Brand and product ownership
  • Brand and product usage
  • General research agenda:

    Circumstances (economic)
  • Income distribution
  • Disposable income and
    discretionary income
  • Debts and savings
  • Spending power
  • Consumer confidence

    Circumstances (demographic)

  • population and households
  • Distribution by age, gender,
    ethnic compostion, education,
  • General research agenda:

    Supply-side trends
  • Concentration, M&A and retail brands
  • Climate for prices
  • Specialists and generalists
  • In-town and out-of-town
  • Direct marketing and electronic commerce.

    Dealer needs

  • Product range
  • Pricing
  • Margin
  • Sales support
  • After-sales service
  • General research agenda:

  • Investment
  • 'Co-operation'
  • Ethics


  • Management
  • Regions
  • SBU
  • Value Networks


  • Profitability
  • Costs
  • Liquidity
  • subsidy
  • General research agenda:

  • Product range
  • R & D
  • NPD


  • Product and brand strategy
  • Distribution
  • Pricing
  • Communications
  • Loyalty strategy
  • General research agenda:
    The Big Picture(1)

    Risk consiousness (general)
  • Perceptions of change
  • Globalisation
  • Perceived limits to growth - the real ones
  • Rogue states; demography;IT

    Risk consiousness (individual)

  • The Body
  • Privacy, safety and security
  • Media
  • Transport
  • Crime and immortality
  • General research agenda:
    The Big Picture(2)

  • Macroeconomics
  • Regulation
  • Dispersed powers
  • Research before product launch

  • Concept Acceptance
  • Concept Specification
  • Optimising the Product
  • Optimising the Communications
  • Research after product launch

  • Consumer Buying
  • Consumer Profiles and Usage
  • Market Performance
  • Forecasts of market volumes and values

  • Algebra, more than arithmetic.
  • Internal barriers to innovation

  • Internal competition vs strategic planning
  • Technology push vs demand pull
  • Marketing vs sales

  • Limited ability to:
    -master future trends,
    -to create trends in a sustained manner,
    -promote young people from different cultures
  • Motivating innovators

  • Why teams?
  • Team talk.
  • The latest on leaders.

  • Please use the following to cite material from Design Design Research 2.

    Author(s), "Title of Paper", in Designing Design Research 2:The Design Research Publication, Cyberbridge-4D Design /drs2.html, Editor- Alec Robertson, De Montfort University, Leicester. 26 February 1998.

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