At the beginning of the year Philips consolidated their Consumer Electronics and Domestic Appliances & Personal Care divisions into a single unified Consumer Lifestyles group, with a focus on “enabling [consumers] to enjoy a healthier and more rewarding lifestyle”. (source) The Philips HomeLab I visited is one example of how Philips investigates what products are best suited for satisfying that goal.
Tucked away in the corner of the Philips stand at IFA 2008 was another way that Philips strives to improve their product line. A pair of computers were running a local demonstration of the Philips Simplicity Labs website, a site touted “as a testing ground for upcoming technologies and applications.”
It’s designed as a collection of interactive experiments and online product demos to help Philips identify product strengths and weaknesses before bringing something to market. It’s also intended to help them find out what consumers actually want. For example, the Cooking Stories section simply invites users to share stories about cooking. Researchers and product designers at Philips will then review all the submitted data to identify common trends across geographic and demographic lines, which will feed into the design and implementation of new products.
The other so-called “experiments” are worth a look, too. Give it a whirl, and help Philips help you.