- Modern product development is a complex combination of multidisciplinary processes ranging from market research to design, engineering analysis, and logistics. The product development process has a significant impact on the success or failure of new product launches. The majority of consumer product launches fail, resulting in significant sunk cost in research and development. These failures are commonly due to poor product-market fit which can occur when there is a lack of user involvement in the design process. This background research identified a void between consumer and company which is referred to as the user-designer gap.
Mass customization is a form of modern product development that aims to deliver customizable products in an attempt to close the user-designer gap. With a model like this, customers can change material, color, logos, and other modular features on existing products. However, these current mass customization practices fall short of true personalization as they are incapable of adapting form or function of the product to match customer needs. A methodology to address this shortcoming is proposed and is called Digital Co-Creation.
Digital Co-Creation aims to harness state-of-art product development tools to create an efficient framework where the user and designer can collaborate to produce a truly personalized product. It does this through two-way communication surrounding results of digital sketching, computer renders, virtual simulations, and augmented reality. This combination of tools to evaluate form and function of the product allow for streamlined development of products with continuous customer feedback. The end result is a product that has been specifically designed and manufactured for the customer at a lower price point than typical bespoke production.
A case study was conducted to evaluate the viability of the proposed methodology. For the case study, two contrasting users were presented, and their individual needs were taken into consideration as a unique prosthetic limb was designed for each of them. Finally, the findings were discussed and conclusions about the wider viability of the methodology were made.
- Key Words: Design Engineering, User-Designer Gap, Product Design, Product Development, Mass Customization, Prosthetic