Your design solution must meet a pressing need


Before we go on, do read the Channel NewsAsia article on the NTU student’s winning solution on the IKEA Singapore’s Young Designer Award.


What I wanted to highlight were the first and second runner up ideas. The first runner up was a mirror that doubles as a clock; and the other was a mirror with hanging facilities. With the exception of the mirror fetish, the two seemed to be miles away from the winning design in terms of utility. After all, how many different combinations of mirror do you need? Notice I said need, and not want. Sure, a mirrored clock is fancy, and some of us might want one, but do we really need one?

But a clothes-drying solution? Now that is what many people need! With space becoming a premium now in HDB – and many private – homes, new and novel ideas to make better use of it, is extremely helpful.

Which brings me to my point. If you were designing a solution for your market, don’t look simply at form; it may be artsy, but will be it useful? Are you fulfilling a need in the market which you can charge more for, or are you just trying to make a more shiny object which just puts you right in the thick of competition, forcing you to price it competitively – aka cheaply.

My brother-in-law once uttered, “Anything cheap is no good; anything good, is not cheap.”

So remember, when you are looking for a solution to bring to market, make sure it meets a pressing need, otherwise, you would be spoiling for a low margin product slugfest.

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