The design and development of a design consultancy for product design
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I am a product designer with three years of experience studying product design at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia. I have always thought that product design was about drawing concepts and making things. Therefore, I have looked forward to being able to do a job that would allow me to create, develop and manufacture products as my career. However, when I began to study for my Master of Design in 2017 at AUT University, I found that design is much bigger than what I had imagined. The Master of Design programme made me realise that design and manufacturing alone represent only a small part of the design, innovation and the commercialisation process. The three courses I have taken—Design Innovation, Design Enterprise and Creative Leadership—have changed my view of what design is really about. These three courses have shown me that design is about innovation, entrepreneurship and creating value and meaningful experience. The programme has expanded my career opportunities. This is what I want to do as my career. Therefore, my design project involves setting up a design consultancy. Though my consultancy still designs products and services, it also helps companies create value through innovation, commercialisation and creative leadership. For this design project, I have developed a consultancy business model for product design and design business. The consultancy will be set up in China. The main goal is to emphasise the importance of creating value through Chinese culture. For my design project, I have positioned Chinese culture as an essential factor as the core value of the business plan. In this project, I focused on designing bamboo furniture and show how the design strategy comprising entrepreneurship, design innovation, enterprise and leadership is essential to the success of a design business. This design report extends beyond talking about the theory of design innovation, design enterprise and what makes a good design leader. It puts these principles into practice. During the project, I travelled to China to manage the design process by negotiating with an artisan there to study the value of craftsmanship by working with bamboo. This partnership has resulted in the design and development of a set of chairs, as a case study in what my consultancy could provide to future clients. I now believe that being a good product designer is more than merely designing products; it is also about innovation, entrepreneurship, design management, how products are made, product pricing and introduction to the market, sound design, leadership and business modelling. Therefore, the Research Question asks: How can a product designer apply her creativity to build a design consultancy that assists business to develop value and manage a successful product design project?