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Fuelling Design Innovation with Insights & Inspiration

Our approach to innovation and design is fuelled by insights and inspiration. Whether defining the larger innovation opportunity or detailing the specific design elements, we always get informed and inspired by the relevant people and context for the eventual product / service being created. We conduct research to generate insights that lead to specific tangible outcomes.

There are three key aspects that underpin our approach to insights:

A holistic contextual approach to innovation

We can help define the larger innovation vision – we go beyond user research to reframe or validate a hypothesis by generating insights around the bigger context including culture, society, business opportunity and potential technologies.

Going beyond user centered design

We use insights to help define & design the product / service – we go beyond simple user centered design to encompass secondary users, partners, the context of use and the cultural dimension of a situation.

Multi dimensional design innovation

We design across both physical & digital worlds – Our expertise across both hardware and software means we are uniquely positioned to uncover insights in both fields, and often the complex interplay between the two.

How insights and research fit into the design and development of your product, service or business

Understand & Identify

Typically we begin with a hypothesis that needs to be reframed or validated in order to define the big innovation opportunity. We take a holistic contextual approach to researching and understanding specific markets, trends, human attitudes & behaviours, relevant environments, current & emerging technologies, competitive landscapes and business models. We synthesize all the information and extract the key insights to define the overall innovation vision.

Explore & Ideate

From early concept exploration through to the detailed design of the product / service, we are constantly getting informed and inspired by users, context, technologies & materials, and the potential business model. It's a continual process of testing and ideating on ideas, concepts, prototypes or even specific design elements until we reach a final design that’s both human centered and considerate of context (eg. culture, society, environment). 

Test & Launch

Even when we have reached a final design (working prototype, minimum viable product, beta version), we will continue to test and validate it to ensure every aspect of the overall experience is as good as it can possibly be. Our focus here is on delivering a robust, beautiful and world-leading experience to users and society at large, whilst also providing a solid platform of knowledge upon which the business can continue to grow and flourish. 

Zinc has led insights work in many different market segments across the world.

User-centered pregnancy wearable

In order to design a wearable that would help reduce stress during pregnancy, we conducted user research and concept evaluation sessions with pregnant women and care experts across both the US and Europe. We subsequently held various workshops to help define the user, technology and business insights to drive the design of the system including the device and mobile app.

See case study

Innovation in compression wearables

We worked with our client to help them define the right market for their new compression wearable that helps with circulation issues. This was an analytics project to gather insight on the US market when it comes to wearable compression gear. The focus was on driving traffic to two separate landing pages to understand how people interact with the different information presented.

Identifying solutions for menopause

We collaborated with our client to identify solutions for alleviating menopause symptoms by tackling this intimate subject through a month long study with a range of menopausal women (post and peri) in the UK. We explored the nuances of going through menopause through ethnographic interviews, product testing, journals and focus groups.

Researching breast feeding

This research project was focused on improving the breast feeding experience for mothers. We conducted ethnographic interviews with mothers and lactation experts, we tested prototypes of potential solutions and we ran a focus group before distilling all the insights into a comprehensive report with design innovation recommendations.

Testing a new digital experience for children

We are designing a new revolutionary digital experience for children. We carried out research in Los Angeles and New York with a range of children aged 6-9 years accompanied by parents to test the first concept. We will continue to co-create the service with children throughout the design & development process to ensure we end up with something truly magical.

Wearable to solve urinary incontinence

To design a wearable sensor that fits into special underwear for mothers overcoming urinary incontinence, it was essential to make sure that the whole system was extremely conscious of user needs and behaviour. The design and development of the device and app was a constant process of interacting with users in Europe.

See case study

Inspired innovation in kitchen utensils

As part of a long term process to help our client innovate in the kitchen with inspirational design of new products, we have been constantly researching and testing with users across different markets such as France and the US. From early concepts through to final designs, we have been ensuring that our solutions are informed and inspired by our target market.

See case study

Innovation in swimming wearables

We explored the market opportunity for a new wearable that would help serious swimmers with form and technique. As well as conducting interviews and focus groups with swimmers and coaches at swimming centres in the the US, we also analysed secondary research to present a report on size of market and the business opportunity for this segment.

Designing the Smart home experience

As part of our client collaboration to bring out a new device and mobile app that would redefine air conditioning experience in the home, we ensured we were constantly being informed and inspired by the end user and the context for which we were designing. 

See case study

What clients say...

"The biggest mistake a company can make is not sufficiently understanding their customer. Insights and Design thinking are the best way to rapidly achieve product-market fit or as importantly, identify critical flaws in your idea that will sink your company. Customers today will rapidly drop a product or service if its not intuitive with a streamlined user experience"

Dr. Eric Dy