What does a design and innovation firm do?

As a Design and Innovation Firm, our mission is to take products from concept to launch, helping our clients every step of the way to achieve success.

In our experience, it’s all too easy to sit in an ivory tower of design, designing for ourselves because we think we know best. We do have experience, talent, and skill, but our process is fundamentally human-centered and collaborative. Our responsibilities are to our clients and users, developing solutions and experiences that meet user needs and client needs, including business objectives.

Product Engineering

In this post, we’ll explain our view of the role of a design and innovation firm. This post is as much for you (the reader) as it is for us. We want to clarify what our job is and why it’s important that we stick to it. We think these six things are mission-critical to help you, the reader, understand our role: 

Designing for Clients, Businesses, Brands, Manufacturing, Users, and Cost
The Importance of Human-Centered Design
Sustainability and Environmental Impact
Functionality and User Experience
Safety and Regulation
Project Management

Our Job as a Design and Innovation Firm

In our humble view, the role of a design and innovation firm is to help businesses and brands develop solutions that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective while also meeting the needs and desires of their users. Regardless of the specific industry or sector, the core principles and responsibilities of a design and innovation firm remain the same: to design products that meet the needs and expectations of their clients and will be adopted into the marketplace while also considering factors such as manufacturing processes, user experience, and cost. 

1. Designing for Clients, Businesses, Brands, Manufacturing, Users, and Cost  

Our job as designers is to design for others. This is hard to do even though it’s quick to say. Most people don’t know exactly what they want, because all they know if what they’ve had or soon. Designing something new for someone requires skill, a proven process, and some humility. In design and innovation, we must fight a desire to focus on an ideal product, service, or innovation that might win an award or two but won’t be successful in the market. We firmly believe (as in our whole firm believes this) that design and innovation must be designed for the user in the market context. We must include aesthetic, artistic, and functional considerations along with competitive intelligence, business strategy, production costs, and development costs.

A corporate design team meeting with clients for project scope
RKS Design Employee in conversation about the importance of human-centered design
2. The Importance of Human-Centered Design  

Our process helps us lead with empathy through a human-centered process. Human-centered design creates empathy. We have found that people make highly emotional decisions within a complex decision-making process when choosing what solutions to use. By finding the opportunity zone of aspiration and functionality in the context of existing solutions, we can direct users to use new solutions. This ability to attract and engage users is part of the Hero’s Journey, a observation by Joseph Campbell an 20th-Century professor of cultural mythology. Campbell found that all cultures and religions share a Hero’s story, and we have found that by putting people on a Hero’s Journey we can increase product adoption, success, and achieve virality, almost formulaically. It all starts with the human-centered process, and ours is Psycho-Aesthetics™. 

3. Designing for Sustainability and the Environment  

As a design and innovation firm, our job is to create products that improve people’s lives while also maximizing their positive impact on the environment. We believe that sustainable design is not just a trend but a responsibility. We understand that the products we create have the potential to generate waste, use excessive amounts of resources, and contribute to pollution if not designed with sustainability in mind. That’s why we take a holistic approach to design, considering the entire product lifecycle and working to reduce our environmental impact at every stage. From choosing eco-friendly materials to implementing energy-efficient manufacturing processes, we strive to create products that are not only beautiful and functional but also kind to the planet. We believe that by doing our job responsibly, we can make a positive difference in the world and inspire others to do the same. 

RKS employee working on a project for LEGO emphasizing the importance of designing with sustainability in mind
RKS employee practicing proper safety measures when working in mechanics shop
4. Designing for Functionality and User Experience  

As a design and innovation firm, our job is to create products that not only function well but also resonate with their users on an emotional level. We use our Psycho-Aesthetics process to understand the emotional and psychological needs of the end-users of our products and designing solutions that meet those needs. By combining scientific research with design expertise, we can create products that not only work well but also have a positive impact on the user’s emotional state. This approach ensures that our products provide not only great functionality but also a memorable and engaging user experience. By integrating the Psycho-Aesthetics process into our design work, we believe that we can create products that truly connect with their users and make a positive impact on their lives. At our design firm, creating products that are functional and emotionally engaging is an essential part of our job. 

5. Desiging with Safety and Regulation in Mind  

At our design and innovation firm, safety is a top priority. We understand that the products we create have the potential to impact people’s lives and safety, and we take that responsibility seriously. Our job is to ensure that every product we design meets or exceeds relevant safety regulations and standards. We carefully consider potential hazards and risks at every stage of the design process, from concept development to final production. We work closely with regulatory bodies to stay up to date on the latest safety requirements and ensure that our products comply with all necessary standards. We believe that by prioritizing safety, we not only protect the end-users of our products but also build trust and confidence in our brand. Our commitment to safety reflects our values as a responsible and ethical design firm, and we believe that it is an essential part of our job. 

RKS Employee sketching wire frames to design for function and user experience
RKS team meeting up to go over processes to stay on track with project management
6. Project Management  

Everything from creating an ethnographic research plan, to accurately synthesizing the research, to developing and patenting a new technology are critical responsibilities. As a design and innovation firm, we not only design the product, we also design and manage the process. This means that we work to inform and integrate key stakeholders, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on their needs and wishes. We also work to meet the deadlines we agree on and meet the specific specifications and requirements of our clients while also ensuring that the product is aesthetically pleasing, functional, and human-centered. Our role when designing a product for a client is to use our expertise and creativity to turn a client’s ideas into a tangible, functional, and aesthetically pleasing product that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations. 

So You Want to Work With a Design Firm?

If you’re looking to work with an design and innovation firm, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure that you get the most out of the experience. First, be clear about your needs and goals for the project, as well as any constraints or limitations that need to be taken into account. This will help the design firm to understand what you’re looking for and to create a product that meets your specifications. 

Next, be open to collaboration and feedback. Design and innovation firms bring a wealth of expertise and creativity to the table, and they can often come up with innovative solutions that you may not have considered. Be willing to listen to their suggestions and to work together to create the best possible product. 

Finally, be mindful of the broader context in which the product will be used and produced. Design and innovation firms are increasingly focused on sustainability, environmental impact, and user experience, and they can help you to create a product that is not only effective but also environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and user-friendly. By working with an design and innovation firm and following these steps, you can ensure that you create a product that meets your needs while also taking into account the wider context and considerations that are important for success. 

RKS Product Design Firm entry showing Black and white image of girl looking up at wall of Psycho Aesthetics process

As you read through this blog, you may be inspired to work with a design and innovation firm for your own project or to learn more about the field. If so, there are a few tips and reminders that can help you to get the most out of the experience. 

First, remember that design is a collaborative process. Whether you’re working with a design firm or creating a product on your own, you’ll need to work closely with other professionals and stakeholders to ensure that the product meets your needs and expectations. Keep an open mind and be willing to listen to feedback and suggestions from others. 

Second, remember that design is a constantly evolving field. New technologies, materials, and techniques are emerging all the time, and staying up-to-date on these developments can help you to create more effective and innovative products. Consider attending industry conferences, reading design publications, or networking with other professionals to stay informed. 

Remember that design is about solving problems and creating value. Whether you’re designing a new product, improving an existing one, or exploring new applications for technology or material, your goal should be to create something that is useful, engaging, and meaningful to users. By keeping these tips and reminders in mind, you can make the most of your design journey and create products that truly make a difference. 

Finally, remember that design and innovation, like life, is team sport.

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About RKS

RKS is a design and innovation firm that creates solutions for clients that are relevant to the market, build the brand and create emotional connection. RKS services the full range of companies from funded startups to multinational corporations. Founder Ravi K. Sawhney cultivated a people-centric approach modeled from his work at Xerox PARC in the 1970’s, where innovative methods using psychology as an essential factor in design resulted in the first-generation touch screen graphic interface as well as many other breakthroughs. RKS came to national attention shortly after its founding by developing the production design of the animated Teddy Ruxpin, one of the greatest disruptive success stories in the history of the toy industry. Success followed success, with RKS being in on the ground floor of tablets with Alan Kay, Pocket Arcades with Sega and the game-changing dental whitening system for Discus Dental. Another milestone was the turnaround of MiniMed, developing a discreet personal insulin pump that allowed millions of diabetics to shed the stigma of being seen as “sick.” This inspired design took MiniMed from a declining $40M in revenue to $270M in three years, leading to its acquisition by Medtronic for $3.6B. The 1990’s brought a confluence of deep introspection and humanity, along with insights into how the work of Joseph Campbell and Abraham Maslow could inform design. This direction led to RKS Design’s highly acclaimed Psycho-Aesthetics methodology.
What does design firm do

What does a design and innovation firm do?

By RKS Design

As a Design and Innovation Firm, our mission is to take products from concept to launch, helping our clients every step of the way to achieve success.

In our experience, it’s all too easy to sit in an ivory tower of design, designing for ourselves because we think we know best. We do have experience, talent, and skill, but our process is fundamentally human-centered and collaborative. Our responsibilities are to our clients and users, developing solutions and experiences that meet user needs and client needs, including business objectives.

Product Engineering

In this post, we’ll explain our view of the role of a design and innovation firm. This post is as much for you (the reader) as it is for us. We want to clarify what our job is and why it’s important that we stick to it. We think these six things are mission-critical to help you, the reader, understand our role: 

Designing for Clients, Businesses, Brands, Manufacturing, Users, and Cost
The Importance of Human-Centered Design
Sustainability and Environmental Impact
Functionality and User Experience
Safety and Regulation
Project Management

Our Job as a Design and Innovation Firm

In our humble view, the role of a design and innovation firm is to help businesses and brands develop solutions that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective while also meeting the needs and desires of their users. Regardless of the specific industry or sector, the core principles and responsibilities of a design and innovation firm remain the same: to design products that meet the needs and expectations of their clients and will be adopted into the marketplace while also considering factors such as manufacturing processes, user experience, and cost. 

1. Designing for Clients, Businesses, Brands, Manufacturing, Users, and Cost  

Our job as designers is to design for others. This is hard to do even though it’s quick to say. Most people don’t know exactly what they want, because all they know if what they’ve had or soon. Designing something new for someone requires skill, a proven process, and some humility. In design and innovation, we must fight a desire to focus on an ideal product, service, or innovation that might win an award or two but won’t be successful in the market. We firmly believe (as in our whole firm believes this) that design and innovation must be designed for the user in the market context. We must include aesthetic, artistic, and functional considerations along with competitive intelligence, business strategy, production costs, and development costs.

A corporate design team meeting with clients for project scope
RKS Design Employee in conversation about the importance of human-centered design
2. The Importance of Human-Centered Design  

Our process helps us lead with empathy through a human-centered process. Human-centered design creates empathy. We have found that people make highly emotional decisions within a complex decision-making process when choosing what solutions to use. By finding the opportunity zone of aspiration and functionality in the context of existing solutions, we can direct users to use new solutions. This ability to attract and engage users is part of the Hero’s Journey, a observation by Joseph Campbell an 20th-Century professor of cultural mythology. Campbell found that all cultures and religions share a Hero’s story, and we have found that by putting people on a Hero’s Journey we can increase product adoption, success, and achieve virality, almost formulaically. It all starts with the human-centered process, and ours is Psycho-Aesthetics™. 

3. Designing for Sustainability and the Environment  

As a design and innovation firm, our job is to create products that improve people’s lives while also maximizing their positive impact on the environment. We believe that sustainable design is not just a trend but a responsibility. We understand that the products we create have the potential to generate waste, use excessive amounts of resources, and contribute to pollution if not designed with sustainability in mind. That’s why we take a holistic approach to design, considering the entire product lifecycle and working to reduce our environmental impact at every stage. From choosing eco-friendly materials to implementing energy-efficient manufacturing processes, we strive to create products that are not only beautiful and functional but also kind to the planet. We believe that by doing our job responsibly, we can make a positive difference in the world and inspire others to do the same. 

RKS employee working on a project for LEGO emphasizing the importance of designing with sustainability in mind
RKS employee practicing proper safety measures when working in mechanics shop
4. Designing for Functionality and User Experience  

As a design and innovation firm, our job is to create products that not only function well but also resonate with their users on an emotional level. We use our Psycho-Aesthetics process to understand the emotional and psychological needs of the end-users of our products and designing solutions that meet those needs. By combining scientific research with design expertise, we can create products that not only work well but also have a positive impact on the user’s emotional state. This approach ensures that our products provide not only great functionality but also a memorable and engaging user experience. By integrating the Psycho-Aesthetics process into our design work, we believe that we can create products that truly connect with their users and make a positive impact on their lives. At our design firm, creating products that are functional and emotionally engaging is an essential part of our job. 

5. Desiging with Safety and Regulation in Mind  

At our design and innovation firm, safety is a top priority. We understand that the products we create have the potential to impact people’s lives and safety, and we take that responsibility seriously. Our job is to ensure that every product we design meets or exceeds relevant safety regulations and standards. We carefully consider potential hazards and risks at every stage of the design process, from concept development to final production. We work closely with regulatory bodies to stay up to date on the latest safety requirements and ensure that our products comply with all necessary standards. We believe that by prioritizing safety, we not only protect the end-users of our products but also build trust and confidence in our brand. Our commitment to safety reflects our values as a responsible and ethical design firm, and we believe that it is an essential part of our job. 

RKS Employee sketching wire frames to design for function and user experience
RKS team meeting up to go over processes to stay on track with project management
6. Project Management  

Everything from creating an ethnographic research plan, to accurately synthesizing the research, to developing and patenting a new technology are critical responsibilities. As a design and innovation firm, we not only design the product, we also design and manage the process. This means that we work to inform and integrate key stakeholders, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on their needs and wishes. We also work to meet the deadlines we agree on and meet the specific specifications and requirements of our clients while also ensuring that the product is aesthetically pleasing, functional, and human-centered. Our role when designing a product for a client is to use our expertise and creativity to turn a client’s ideas into a tangible, functional, and aesthetically pleasing product that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations. 

So You Want to Work With a Design Firm?

If you’re looking to work with an design and innovation firm, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure that you get the most out of the experience. First, be clear about your needs and goals for the project, as well as any constraints or limitations that need to be taken into account. This will help the design firm to understand what you’re looking for and to create a product that meets your specifications. 

Next, be open to collaboration and feedback. Design and innovation firms bring a wealth of expertise and creativity to the table, and they can often come up with innovative solutions that you may not have considered. Be willing to listen to their suggestions and to work together to create the best possible product. 

Finally, be mindful of the broader context in which the product will be used and produced. Design and innovation firms are increasingly focused on sustainability, environmental impact, and user experience, and they can help you to create a product that is not only effective but also environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and user-friendly. By working with an design and innovation firm and following these steps, you can ensure that you create a product that meets your needs while also taking into account the wider context and considerations that are important for success. 

RKS Product Design Firm entry showing Black and white image of girl looking up at wall of Psycho Aesthetics process

As you read through this blog, you may be inspired to work with a design and innovation firm for your own project or to learn more about the field. If so, there are a few tips and reminders that can help you to get the most out of the experience. 

First, remember that design is a collaborative process. Whether you’re working with a design firm or creating a product on your own, you’ll need to work closely with other professionals and stakeholders to ensure that the product meets your needs and expectations. Keep an open mind and be willing to listen to feedback and suggestions from others. 

Second, remember that design is a constantly evolving field. New technologies, materials, and techniques are emerging all the time, and staying up-to-date on these developments can help you to create more effective and innovative products. Consider attending industry conferences, reading design publications, or networking with other professionals to stay informed. 

Remember that design is about solving problems and creating value. Whether you’re designing a new product, improving an existing one, or exploring new applications for technology or material, your goal should be to create something that is useful, engaging, and meaningful to users. By keeping these tips and reminders in mind, you can make the most of your design journey and create products that truly make a difference. 

Finally, remember that design and innovation, like life, is team sport.