Is the Age of Experience Design-driven or Science-driven?

By Philippe Laufer, CEO, CATIA, Dassault Systèmes

Mathematics, mechanics, electronics, systems, simulation—these are usually seen as concepts of science, not usually associated with “Art” or “Design”. Yet the Designer of a wireless Bluetooth speaker with patterned smart light, natural wake alarm and remote control looked to the fruits of science for the elements to create this consumer experience.

So what comes first? Does Science drive Design? Or does Design drive Science?

When the first cellular phones came out, you had to carry them in a bag… One of the first “portable” computers from IBM in 1984 had a nine inch monochrome monitor, 5¼ inch floppy disk drives, 256 kB of memory (expandable to 512 kB), a 4.77 MHz CPU and weighed 30 pounds (13.6 kg). This was not so much a laptop as a “luggable.”

But thirty years ago, these products awakened consumer experience excitement. You were no longer tied to your office. You had a personal phone on the road. But what IF WE could make electronics smaller, expand data storage while shrinking its size and weight, expand the monitor, add color, eliminate keyboards, lower power consumption and create a better power source?

Just maybe a gifted designer could leverage these advances into a product small enough to fit in your pocket, maybe with a phone, a camera, voice and video recorders, and more. And with further exploration, modeling, ‘Cognitive Augmented Design’ (CAD) and collaboration with other disciplines, perhaps create an experience that would sweep the world.

Great experiences seem to arrive from a confluence of Design and Science. Scientific exploration helps liberate Design to expand into areas of speculation, and then inspiration drives Design further to explore what is physically possible. Design leverages theoretical and mathematical components. It transforms shape and style into real objects—products, buildings, systems—that fulfill needs for customers.

Experience thinking asks the questions and channels the inspiration of design—bringing new technologies in manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, materials, Cyber Systems, chemical and others into a solution—using and then meeting the requests, perceptions and desires of customers. This is the promise and the challenge of Design in the Age of Experience.

Designers, engineers and industry leaders from around the world will come together at Dassault Systèmes’ Design in the Age of Experience event April 4-5 during Milan Design Week. I’ll be there, and look forward to seeing you as we explore the shift from designing products to forming consumer experiences. For more information, you can visit the event website.

Alyssa

Alyssa

Alyssa is a Communications Director on the Dassault Systèmes Corporate Publishing team. She’s been part of DS for over 16 years, in roles ranging from public relations to marketing programs. @DS_Alyssa
Alyssa

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