At the Innovative Aircraft Seating Conference in Hamburg 4th – 7th December, tangerine’s aviation design specialists hosted a workshop titled: ‘Airline Seating: Where might the next breakthrough come from?’
Tangerine CCO Matt Round explored future trends in the industry and encouraged delegates to think about what barriers exist that may prevent these new trends from entering the market. Certification was quickly identified by the majority of attendees as the biggest obstacle to innovation. However, by the end of the workshop, this notion had been turned upon its head, with the most significant barrier to innovation identified as companies not simply understanding the consumer.
It was universally agreed that certification could not readily be changed; that the right safety standards have to be in place. Delegates did however agree that good design can be created in the same certification constraints as bad design can, and that they can both cost the same amount.
Getting the right approach to innovation was further explored during the conference by tangerine CEO Martin Darbyshire, who spoke about the need to explore the importance of innovation within the design process and the benefit that a positive customer experience can bring to a brand.
Breakthroughs are limited in the airline industry by a number of factors, including a risk averse culture and increased operational complexity. However, potential breakthroughs can occur if the level of ambition is raised, particularly with regards to the customer experience. Something that Darbyshire and Round experienced with their design of the Club World Seat for British Airways nearly two decades ago.
Creating a new customer experience can bring more benefits and have a bigger impact on a brand than simply repositioning an existing product or giving it a cosmetic ‘brand lift’. To innovate and design successfully a company must understand exactly who their customers are and precisely what their needs are.
Get it right and the possibilities for a brand are endless. Get it wrong and the brand is probably set to fail.