The i-SIT project has explored and tested a systematic user-driven innovation process in the development of a seating/ resting furniture by integrating the needs of elderly/ seniors and disabled people. Another purpose of the project was to implement cross-disciplinary knowledge and to create functional as well as aesthetic furniture that meets future requirements for seating furniture.
The aim of the process was to increase skills among manufacturers and collaboration partners, and thus their international competitiveness. One of the aims of the i-SIT project is to transform needs of users, whether conscious or not, when it comes to design. Several tools to involve users in the development process were joined to form the whole process – from the identification of needs to the final product. The process has been conducted by specialists from different areas (an anthropologist, a design expert in co-design methodology and furniture development, textile experts as well as a furniture
manufacturer specialized in chairs).
A cross-disciplinary development process with six steps was used to challenge the perception of the seating/resting furniture. The result is a user-democratic i-SIT chair that can be used by both young and old. The phases and methodology are described below.
At the beginning of the project, a range of user-driven methods was mapped. This served as a basis for the project team to select some of the presented needs in order to create up-todate knowledge among project members. After that, the project team chose the humanistic and society-oriented approach, using primarily the anthropological method, which is about illustrating and understanding local connections, needs, preferences and issues from users, in this case, focusing on their homes.
The project has had huge media coverage on television, newspapers and online media. This project should run for 2,5 years, but was extended by nine months
# CLEAR NEEDS AND SHARED PAINS
One of the aims of the i-SIT project is to transform conscious or unconscious needs of users when it comes to design. The product is based on real user needs. The market potential was identified before the product was manufactured. From the identification of needs to the final product, users are involved in the entire development process in different ways using several
tools. It engages experts in interdisciplinary teams to gain new insights and knowledge across professions: an anthropologist, a design expert in co-design methodology and furniture development, textile experts as well as a furniture manufacturer with expertise in chairs.
The result is a user-democratic i-SIT chair that can be used by both young and old. Six years later, in the summer of 2016, a chair that meets the needs of the users both regarding functionality and aesthetics was introduced to the American market. Since it was launched, the chair has won several awards: RED DOT PRODUCT DESIGN AWARD 2010, FX INTERIOR DESIGN
AWARD 2011 – SHORTLIST, IF PRODUCT DESIGN AWARD 2011.
Besides the actual product, which is a success, the project also resulted in a range of knowledge reports that can be used by the furniture industry and other manufacturers interested in involving users in the development of new products.
Joan Knudsen, LinkedIn
Lifestyle & Design Cluster