How to define ‘product development’ in a company that does not itself manufacture serial products, remains an interesting question. The decision to create a separate product development unit within the company came about to support the implementation of complex technical applications. The need to further ‘develop’ particular products came up time and again. Examples include special pieces of furniture with innovative applications, drive technologies or lighting scenarios. In the end, the decision was taken to create a separate unit within the company ‘Product Development’ to deal specifically with the implementation of such complex technical applications.
When a project brief consists of nothing more than a simple design or a sketch, providing only a vague idea of how the product might actually work, it is the responsibility of the Product Development team to assess the feasibility and map out a viable proposal that takes into account the technical regulations, identifies suitable partners with the required technical expertise and explores possible alternatives when necessary.
For the planning, development and implementation to be successful, it requires a good deal of fine tuning, bringing together and managing the best possible partners.
A good example of this carefully orchestrated process was the development and production of the “Johnnie Walker Blue Label” Bar. The combined expertise of a range of specialists produced a ‘bar’ that is just as much an advanced piece of engineering, as it is a piece of furniture, incorporating an extremely refined drive technology and exceptional lighting. The result is both extravagant and functional.