Continuum co-founder Gianfranco Zaccai was featured on CNN International’s Connect The World discussing our partnership with Amos Winter and the MIT Mobility Lab to develop the revolutionary Leveraged Freedom Chair. You can watch the interview here. The related article is also posted below. Boston, MA (CNN) – Sometimes, implementing wide-reaching social change takes surprisingly few materials. … Read more
The Design Management Institute’s European Conference wrapped up last Friday in Madrid. The conference theme focused on how design and innovation are contributing to new business models that are driving the renewal of our global economy and was attended by over 150 business, marketing, and design leaders from around the globe. (Twitter hashtag #dmimadrid). On … Read more
How does a company break into an emerging market? The answer is simple: by understanding people. Ethnography research helps companies to develop empathy for who their customers really are and what they value. This approach applies equally to soccer moms in the American Midwest and hipsters in Shanghai. However, that approach isn’t enough. Just as … Read more
With so much being reported from the design and innovation communities, we’ve decided to pull together some of the most compelling stories we’ve been reading each week. Keep an eye here for a round up of news every Friday. Innovation in a Rapidly Changing World, by Kevin Farthing … Read more
Innovation in Boston is special. At Continuum we work around the world in hubs of innovation: Boston, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Seoul, and Shanghai; but Boston has a very particular take on innovation. We are not the wild and crazy guys – you can go to Milan or LA for that – but … Read more
Moving across the country was a big deal for me. In my case, relocating back to Los Angeles from the east coast allowed me to tend to important family matters that I could no longer do from a distance. Amid the excitement of returning home, it also it represented a seismic shift in the way … Read more
What do you do when you have a headache? → Advil Pimples? → Clearasil Bad breath? → Listerine Indigestion? → Pepto-Bismol For many health problems, we have a solution to tackle the symptoms in a discrete and exacting way. It is not even a question of what category of product we should search for to … Read more
By: Kara Miller, WGBH “There have been times in American history when lifestyles changed so dramatically that the very products that shape our lives had to be completely rethought. One of those times was the mid 1940s, when millions of returning veterans wanted houses – and builders like Bill Levitt began to understand the power … Read more
In preparation for TED2013, set to take place in Long Beach, California in February, organizers recently wrapped up a “talent search” featuring young innovators from 14 cities worldwide. Continuum Shanghai senior strategist Nadia Orlova was selected to be one of 23 speakers at TED@Shanghai, and on May 17 gave this compelling talk about how to … Read more
There are approximately 40 million people with disabilities in developing countries that need a wheelchair but don’t have one. What makes matters worse is that, even if these individuals had a wheelchair, unpaved roads and long distances between villages makes it next to impossible for them to be mobile without heavy-handed assistance. Amos Winter and … Read more
Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Instead of building a better horse, he invented the car. Today, though a century has passed, the essence of business design and innovation remains unchanged: to gain insights into people’s real needs in order to create new … Read more
Since Gianfranco Zaccai cofounded its Boston office in 1983, Continuum has grown into one of the giants of the design world. The consultancy, which won last year’s National Design Award for product design, has added four offices (in Los Angeles, Milan, Seoul, and Shanghai). In addition to designing some very high-volume consumer goods—if you use a Swiffer, you have Continuum to thank—Zaccai’s team has taken on systemic problems in the fields of social design and health care, including Daktari, a low-cost AIDS testing kit for southern Africa, and the Insulet Omnipod, which helps diabetics administer medication. Recently, Metropolis’s assistant editor, Avinash Rajagopal, spoke to Zaccai about Continuum’s long journey and why he thinks design should model itself on theater.Read more
Continuum has been doing work in China for 15 years, mostly focused on China as a consumer market. Our multinational clients have been betting on China’s emerging consumers as a key to their companies’ growth agendas since the early 1990s. But working with China as a client market had been sporadic. A few years ago, we decided it was time for Continuum to begin a deliberate expansion into the mainland.
The plan was to design the business after a careful immersion in the local market researching the client base and understanding the competition. Like any strategic design project, we would start with an experiential discovery phase, figuring out who we wanted to target and what type of business model would make the most sense. Then we’d devise a way to enact a relevant service offering, build a network of partners and mine the region for talent.
I came to Shanghai to build the China business in April 2009, and I’ve realized that my experience starting up a creative consultancy exactly mirrors, and sometimes pales next to the millions of other Chinese entrepreneurs who are all endeavoring to create value and sustain a living in this hyperdynamic market. They’ve let me in on a common secret in China—something that homegrown entrepreneurs know by heart and practice as a matter of habit: Mutate the business to match the market because everything is a prototype.Read more
Women are the next global emerging market.
Her economic power is truly revolutionary, representing the largest market opportunity in the world. Just look at the numbers: Women control 65 percent of global spending and over 80 percent of U.S. spending. By 2014, the World Bank predicts that the global income of women will grow by more than $5 trillion.
Women around the globe have more control over their life choices and path than ever before. In the U.S., women entered the workforce at a steady clip from 1970 onward; in emerging markets, it’s happening at lightening speed. With access to more choices, women are delaying marriage to increase their education and career opportunities.
This is just the start of a sweeping change: Women have an astounding power of influence in emerging markets and in developed nations alike. She is a force in society today — and even more so tomorrow. Her influence goes well beyond traditional roles, both in obvious and not so obvious ways. The obvious: family life and structure, communities, and education. The not so obvious: government, global economy, business, and environment.Read more
I travel a lot and often find myself scouring airport shops for something special to bring to my friends and business associates in different parts of the world. Except for local food and crafts, I mostly find that global companies are selling the same products everywhere! But when a product becomes a global success, available … Read more