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Vision in Design A Guidebook for Innovators Paul Hekkert Matthijs van Dijk


Mobile Communication Sonny Lim Sony­Ericsson Mobile Communications Creative Design Centre, Sweden, 2001

Exploring a possible future of mobile communication

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Student concept 1

An individual’s memories and experiences are what makes that person unique. Sharing these memories and experi­ ences in the form of ‘memes’, carriers of cultural information, has become essential for human communication. This future ‘communication tool’ concept, created for Sony­Ericsson, captures these memes and organises them into a “time landscape” for easy sharing. The goal of this context­sensitive device is to achieve effortless fluidity between digital life/lives and communication.


Mobility Olaf Wit Koga­Miyata, 2002

GO Bicycle Design

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Student concept 2

The GO is a commuter bicycle designed to facilitate “flow”, turning necessary, everyday journeys into joyful, imper­ turbable, and challenging experiences. The bike’s construction entirely focuses on helping the rider “become one” with the bike through control and personal optimization. The geometry of the stiff aluminium frame is made for agility and direct handling, while the carbon fibre fork and seat­stay enhance comfort by absorbing vibrations. Its fixed gear drive train (no freewheel, no gears) forces the cyclist to stay focused, and provides unbeatable speed and steering management. Adjustability of gear­ratio (simply exchange the whole chain­case) and saddle/ handlebar height facilitate an optimal rider/bike relationship.


Gaming Richard Boeser, 2007

developing a cooperative computer game for two players

“It’s not winning that counts (but taking part)”

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Student concept 3

“ibb and obb” is a cooperative computer game for two players. The players have to find their way through a world split in two. In the bottom half, gravity is reversed, and players move around upside down. Every element in the game has been designed with two main goals in mind: challenge players to explore ways to navigate through a world with double gravity; and reward players for working together smoothly.


Office Technology Marc Mostert Océ Technologies, 2002

Photocopier Design

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Student concept 4

A multifunctional copier, scanner and printer concept, created to achieve ‘resonance’ in human­ product interaction. The product consists of a (hori­ zontally­ and vertically­oriented) multifunctional body for techni­ cal volume and paper storage, together with a user touch­ interface “arm” that controls print, copy or scanning functions in an intuitive way. The result is a design that affords an intentionally rich experi­ ence through every feature: it “invites you to dance”.


Medical Supply Børge Lund Laerdal Medical, Stavanger, 1998

CPR Training Aid

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Student concept 5

Design of a training aid for life­ saving/life­support procedures Traditionally, CPR manikins have been designed as realistically as possible. The result, however, has often been a poor imitation of a human body, combined with technical feedback about CPR performance. The LightManikin simply uses light as a metaphor for oxygen, motivating the student to keep the manikin glowing. This rewarding and “magic” con­ dition is only possible through continuous and determined interaction.


Baby Care Stephanie Wirth 2009


Baby Carrier Design

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Student concept 6

Freehugger is a baby carrier concept that addresses the shared responsibility of both parents. It invites them to share the task of carrying, and at the same time encourages each parent to explore different ways to develop their unique child­parent relationship and interactions. A key feature is the ability to position the baby freely and spontaneously on the body, without losing the trust of a physical connection between baby and parent. If necessary, the harness can be released in one secure move.


Domestic Appliance Sietske Klooster Design moves, Commit, 2003

Flower Arrangement

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Student concept 7

Commit choreographs a flower arrangement interaction (to ‘commit’ to the art of flower arranging). It asks for careful carrying hands, gentle scooping of the tulips’ corollas, and composition into a greedily whirling embrace, bringing in one flower after another. The culmination of this flower arrangement act is a plane of corollas, resting like a lid on top of a glass vase, their stalks hanging in the water, growing downwards.


Public Transport Doeke de Walle Pininfarina Ricerca e Sviluppo, 2005

Connecting Europe: a high speed train for 2020

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Student concept 8

The aim of this design is to unify Europeans. It addresses the uniqueness of every member state by allowing passengers to engage with or disconnect from the outer environment. The design is based on the metaphor that the incoming external culture has an effect on the train like ‘the shaping force of water’. To enhance the relationship between the external environment and train interior, a metaphoric force pushes the skeleton of the train inwards, thereby creating seats, baggage racks, and subse­ quently daylight openings. The train design allows for numerous interrelated spaces, each with specific qualities. They provide different levels of privacy and different social possibilities for interaction between passengers and the outer environment.


Health Care Femke de Boer Philips Design, 2007

Body Space – designing for the ailing body

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Student concept 9

One of the greatest (but often unmentioned) causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment. This is particularly true in the context of a hospital, yet this factor has often been neglected. This project, based on the embodied nature of experience, develops a new perspective on hospital design. The result is a series of small interventions that relieve the experience of serious illness and being bedridden. The concept shown here attempts to ‘break through’ the restricted space experienced in illness. It consists of a glowing light, attached to the ceiling, and a counterweight. Raising the lamp away intensifies the light, while pulling the light close results in a very soft, dimmed light.


Education Piem Wirtz The CED­Groep: quality and innovation in teaching and education, 2004

Pogi – enhancing concentration in school

Pogi is a playful object developed for children with ADHD. It can be described as a three­dimensional hoop, connected to the floor and the ceiling with elastic straps. The design and construction of Pogi allows children with an excess of energy to let off steam while playing with it.

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Student concept 10

Production: Janssen – Fritsen,

Professional cases

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Over the years, the ViP method has been used for many profes­ sional design projects, most notably by Matthijsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; design consultancy KVD. Three of these cases are presented as follows:




A retail design solution for the Dutch Railways (Servex), selected to emphasize the multi足layered aspect of design projects; A car design for Pininfarina (the NIDO), to demonstrate that a vision can also give direction to construction and engineering; and A service design for Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (relationship between citizen and state), to illustrate that ViP can be applied in various design domains.

The cases will be presented in the form of a dialogue between: (S) a student asking most of the questions, (D) a designer who carried out the projects, and (T) a theorist/thinker who plays the double role of explaining concepts and occasionally asking additional questions.

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Professional cases

Instead of focusing on outcomes, these dialogues primarily deal with reflections at various stages of the process. The main aim is to show what ViP has to offer, and how thorough and powerful an approach it is.

covered psychological princi­ ples to be taken into account, among other factors. S So, where did the context come from? And what are the ‘principles’ you mentioned? T When we say ‘build a con­ text’, we mean ‘bring together all kinds of forces’ – we call them factors – ‘that together shape the world the designer is designing for’. The thing is, there is not one single context, so it’s impossible to incorporate all the possible factors of a given context. So a context is always the result of a selection and combination process: choosing what to include and deciding how to bring it together. To help designers collect factors, we have defined four conceptually distinct types [developments, trends, states and principles]. The term ‘principles’ refers to laws of nature, for example, or of the human mind. D The conclusion we drew in our context design stage was about the support people want for the role they play in public, in this case on the railway plat­ form. So the product portfolio on offer became an instrument to emphasise a specific role to engage with. We saw that roles were driven by travellers’ concerns. An individual can play different roles at different times, and with each role comes a dif­ ferent concern. We drew a

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an assessment of the suitability of the assignment itself. In this Dutch Railways (Servex), 2004 case, we said that the shop wasn’t the central component of the assignment. People in A retail design solution for the Dutch Railways (Servex), selected a railway station want to have to emphasize the multi­layered a relationship with the products aspect of design projects they buy, not the shop where the products are sold. So, we S What I heard about ViP determined that the assignment sounds very grand – and I like needed to be rephrased in it – but I want something that terms of the product portfolio makes a difference in practice, they wanted to offer. that’s why I’m interested in your The first thing then was work. Can you think of a pro­ to understand which product ject where ViP has really made portfolio was appropriate a difference? for that specific situation. Next, D You choose! There’s one understand how (in what about the desired relationship manner or format) to present between the government and the products. Self­service or the people in the Netherlands; assisted? And then design one about a small shop for an outlet that brought every­ the Dutch Railways; one about thing together. a vision of how future work S And how did ViP help you? could be organized; even one D ViP really helps a designer about a public dustbin. to see the core of the assign­ S OK, I take the train a lot – ment. The approach focuses let’s go with the one about on user­product relationships, the shop for Dutch Railways. so the order of the design D At first, the assignment was steps to be followed becomes to design a new shop situated immediately clear. We talk on the platform in a railway sta­ about design layers of the ‘first tion that takes passenger plat­ order’, ‘second order’ and form dynamics into account. ‘third order’ – in this case pro­ S That’s a pretty bland design duct portfolio, service concept assignment, like one I’d get, and outlet. We had determined I suppose. Did you start off that we initially needed a firm looking at users’ needs ? grasp of which product port­ D The current shops had folio would be appropriate for become really old fashioned, that specific location. To that and turnover was decreasing. end, we started building a con­ It did look like a traditional text. The context not only assignment. So the first thing described the physical specifi­ that needed to be done was cations of the location but also Retail System

Case 1

Case 1

Professional cases < 39 > ViP

Above The new kiosk Below An old kiosk on a Dutch railway platform

in a group (bond), entertaining oneself (disconnect), identi­ fication with socially accepted behaviour (role play), imitating other people on the platform (flow), and commanding atten­ tion in public spaces (as per­ formers do). Performers are so extroverted that they usually don’t need products to support their behaviour, so that left four roles that we, together with Dutch Railways, thought were relevant to focus on. S How exactly did ViP help you to come up with these roles – aren’t they just good ideas? D ViP is about focusing on the most relevant ideas instead of creating all kinds of ideas that will need further reduction. The beauty of working with ViP is that its purpose is not just to come up with some idea but also grasping that this idea is the one to go for. So, when I say ‘design starting points’ I’m usually describing how I want people to act in a future situation. The design starting points were not the need to create an elegant or beautiful kiosk, as the initial assignment stated. The starting points are the desired interac­ tions that people would have with the products, which in this case are combined in a kiosk service. Let’s look at how those roles helped us to get grip on the product portfolio. Obviously, each role needed different kinds of products. We needed products that would seduce people to interact with each other, that would allow people to play or disconnect with the environment, and products that would make people part

Case 1

may want to relax and see a ‘feel­good’ movie, when we’ve had a boring day we may need some action or want some­ thing to make us think. You ap­ proached the individual minds of the board members simulta­ neously, and helped them see that the kiosk issue was not one primarily about the differences between people, or target groups, but the differences in how people felt in different situations that mattered. D Right, we had to present the products in a way that empha­ sised all the different roles trav­ ellers may identify with. We demonstrated that the idea of completeness is a simple yet major contributor to success. Shall I explain the different roles you can play in public space? S Wait – was it really ViP that helped you do that? T I do think the context­ interaction­product model of ViP helps designers see a specific situation differently, and come up with a tool or analogy that makes it not only clearer in the designer’s mind, but makes the task easier when it comes to communicating the situation to others. D Up to now, we’ve only talked about the context and its under­ lying structure. The structure clarifies the relationship between every factor selected for the context. It’s a way to reduce the complexity of the context to an insightful, operational framework. So, from the structure we derived five different roles that people may want to play on a railway platform. S Go on... D They covered enjoyment

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parallel with the distinction between genres in movies. Depending on a particular con­ cern, there are action movies, romantic comedies or art house flicks. To demonstrate how important a starting point this was, we showed the rail­ ways people a kind of ‘film ladder’ we had put together. There were all kinds of movies depicted on the ladder but all from the same genre: action. During the management pres­ entation we gave every manager the ladder with this question: tonight you are going to the movies; what film do you want to see? After five minutes they were supposed to tell us which movie they wanted to watch. It was astonishing: they said, “T here’s only one genre,” or “I don’t want to go to the movies tonight”! S Interesting, but so what? D The analogy is that movie genre distinctions are related to possible ‘concerns’ that are appropriate within the domain of movie entertainment. When one of the genres isn’t pre­ sented, some people feel the list is not complete and there­ fore find it difficult to make a choice. This is exactly the situ­ ation on a railway platform. If products only emphasise one role to play, one way to be, for most people it becomes too much of a hassle to choose between them. T I like the way you managed to make the management feel (and thus understand) that people’s concerns (needs, values, etc) change over time and in various situations. After an exhausting day we

individual pleasure

in focus


I want attention

entertain yourself

role play

focus on self



go with the flow

entertain each other

Professional cases

social consumption

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focus on surroundings

express yourself


Five different roles on a railway platform (simplified version)

An invitation to ViP A model, and some playful practice

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A model, and some playful practice

We understand that perhaps you may not immediately understand the value of ViP. In this chapter we invite you to experience what it has to offer. Our goal is to help you to feel comfortable with the ViP way of looking at the world, to see it as somewhere you can feel at home, something to play around with. More importantly, we hope to help you understand, and use, the way of thinking that ViP is derived from.

t tex on


fut ure


t tex on

pa st c

deconstruction preparation



context level

Invitation to ViP < 119 > An

new product

product level

old product

interaction level

Three levels of description in the ViP model

ViP - Vision In Design, A Guidebook for Innovators