Discover Benelux, Issue 21, September 2015

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2_DiscoverBenelux_Issue21_Sep_2015_Q9_Scan Magazine 1 28/08/2015 20:45 Page 22

Discover Benelux | Product Design & Packaging | FLEX/the INNOVATIONLAB

Creativity for strategic purposes Improving the world with innovative design is at the core of FLEX/the INNOVATIONLAB. Coming up with creative solutions is their greatest talent, which they successfully embed to meet the strategic and economical goals of their clients. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTO: FLEX/THE INNOVATIONLAB

“In the 80’s, the goal of design was to conquer a spot in the museum. Already at that time we were convinced that design should have a positive impact on the world,” explains senior designer Mark Assies. FLEX was one of the first design agencies to use creativity for the strategic purposes of companies like Philips, Lego, Unilever, AB Inbev and Tefal among many others. “Our designs have an impact on the economic, social, cultural and technical goals of our clients,” explains Assies. This speaks from all of FLEX’s divergent designs. For example, in the past customers of Dutch telecom provider KPN encountered problems when installing their digital services. This led to many helpdesk calls, a costly service for KPN. FLEX developed

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an integrated approach to tackle these issues. The solution: a well-arranged, understandable and consistent installation kit. Calls to the helpdesk decreased with 35 per cent. Assies: “This saved KPN lots of money and had a positive effect on their brand image.” A totally different product FLEX redesigned is Bison’s well known blue and white moisture absorber. Because of its lacking aesthetics, it was only placed in cellars and garages. Not only did FLEX improve the design greatly, the new de-humidifier has a 15 per cent better absorption capacity. Assies: “Our unique air-flow system enables a lamp-like, elegant design. This has led to the use of the product in more places in the house, resulting in a huge increase in market share and turnover for Bison.”

FLEX also created the eSOS system, a huge improvement on the standard emergency sanitation facilities in disaster zones. The eSOS focuses on hygiene and the efficiency of waste disposal. In time it will also detect the outbreak of diseases. Assies explains this innovative game changer: “Our system collects data through real-time measurements, like the waste level in the tanks, as well as a diversity of important health indicators.” The toilets are currently being tested in the Philippines. “We’re collaborating with the scientific institute UNESCO-IHE and ICT provider SYSTECH.BA,” explains Assies. “This combination yields unique insights and new technological connections.”