01. April 2019
isi DesignDecoding at Osnabrück University

isi and Osnabrück University come together to work on the subject of design. For one semester, design students will learn how to use isi DesignDecoding to develop products that more accurately meet consumer tastes.

They are bumpy, edgy, slender, hip, or boring –  the talk is about Bluetooth speakers. They are now part of everyday life in many households, and for the twenty-somethings they are an indispensable accessory. "In a seminar for design students, It makes sense to focus on these objects," explains isi Managing Director Joachim Haag. "We would like to pass on our concept of isi DesignDecoding to students, and, together with the universities, further explore its possible applications." isi has also brought Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences on board. There was no need for any arm-twisting; the idea immediately caught the attention of Prof. Bastian Beate, the head of the degree program for Design Methodology and Design Basics at Osnabrück University. Director Haig and Prof. Beate already were acquainted with each other through their work on previous design projects for such clients as Vodafone or LG.

Speaking to the adventurer in the consumer

And so a design decoding project involving 25 students was organized for the current semester. It began last week with a two-day seminar. Joachim Haag and his colleague, isi Associate Director Anne Hoffmann, set out from Göttingen for Osnabrück and initially took on the role of lecturers. Anne Hoffmann explained, "We wanted to give seminar participants a good set of tools so that they could understand and apply isi DesignDecoding.” Thus, at the beginning of the seminar, the two lectured on the topics of behavioral economics and sensory code management. Joachim Haag added that, "We also see ourselves as ambassadors for sensory science. The sooner design students come into contact with the subject, the better for them and for the products they develop later. "


Students analyze the design of Bluetooth speakers – always keeping an eye on the speakers’ sensory attributes.

After the theory comes the practice. Six plain white tables were transformed into an idea-board on which students arranged colorful slips of paper, photos, color dots, and catch-words. The goal: to develop those Bluetooth speaker design elements that allow designers to target the consumers’ specific psychological motives from the perspective of a deeper psychological and creative understanding. What must a model’s look, feel, and sound be in order to reach the adventurous consumer? Which model could convince those in the know? The students worked their way to a kind of "Category Design Framework", a framework in which the various design elements could be classified according to a specific consumer motif. As inspiration, 12 different Bluetooth speakers ranging from ‘yellow and cuddly’ to ‘coarse and woody’ were placed on the tables.

Put on the test bench

After the mental work comes the design. In the coming weeks, the students will develop their own Bluetooth speaker designs. "Delicate and introverted, of course” is one example of the ideas participants have notated on their colored sheets of paper. "I'm curious as to how the students will implement their ideas," says Joachim Haag. Thanks to isi, the designs will not end up lying in some forgotten drawer, but will go directly to the consumers who will then critically review the designs. In this online study, the isi team will then collect the consumers’ reactions to the students' 3D-rendered drawings. With the help of the feedback, the budding designers will then design physical product samples. By summer at the latest, the first design prototypes will be ready. isi will be involved in this process from the beginning to the end, supporting the student teams throughout every stage. "At the end, we will choose the winner from all the designs. Not only are the students learning from it; we at isi are also sharpening our tool, the isi DesignDecoding."

Are you interested in isi DesignDecoding? Mail us at joachim.haag@isi-goettingen.de. We look forward to your inquiry!

Some impressions from the course:

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