Baby bibs and welding helmets would seem to have little, if anything, in common. But if the items in question happen to be the 3M Speedglas G5-01 Heavy-Duty Welding Helmet and the BabyBjörn Small Baby Bib, they now share at least one important quality: award-winning McKinsey design.
Both products have earned our firm two 2019 Red Dot Product Design awards. “This was the first time McKinsey Design won two great awards in the product design category of the Red Dot award,” says McKinsey Design global leader Hugo Sarrazin. “It’s truly a proud moment for our firm and our designers.”
The Red Dot jury reviewed hundreds of products across 48 different categories that included everything from jewelry and watches to home and office furniture to commercial construction equipment and personal technology. Several designers from our Stockholm Design Studio (formerly Veryday) helped to create both of the products that Red Dot honored this year.
The Speedglas helmet team, for example, included Oskar Juhlin, Jan Puranen, Hans Nyström, Emelie Hedén Edlund, and Frida Åberg. Together, the team worked hard to ensure their end user remained front-of-mind, drawing throughout their process on extensive customer data that 3M collected from welders all over the world.
In particular, the helmet’s new design minimizes eye strain and helps workers breathe more easily, thanks to a feature that allows them to alter the way air is routed into the mask.
“We wanted to make sure we had a clear picture of the user’s identity and needs to ensure we gave them the best possible tool to do their job well and safely,” explains Oskar Juhlin. “After all, you wouldn’t ask anyone to weld with the wrong equipment anymore than you would ask someone to change a tire with a screwdriver.”
Another McKinsey Design team used a similar user-centric approach to help babies everywhere make a clean break from messy meal times. By working alongside parents and their little children alike, Elisabeth Ramel-Wåhrberg, Peter Ejvinsson, Jonas Dolk, David Crafoord, and Ulrika Vejbrink worked in collaboration with BabyBjörn to design a new waterproof, dishwasher safe, and adjustable bib.
The new product minimizes messiness by catching in its scoop any food and drink that doesn’t make it to a baby’s mouth. It also lets tiny diners freely move their arms and ensures their safety; the bib quickly and easily realeases from the neck if it gets caught on anything.
“Putting babies and their parents at the center of our design research has been the best way to understand their needs,” says Elisabeth Ramel-Wåhrberg. “Winning this award means a lot, and it’s proof that user-centric solutions make design come alive in the best way.”
McKinsey has been strengthening its design capabilities for the past several years, bringing together industry-leading firms like Veryday (itself a 2014 Red Dot Design Team of the Year winner) and LUNAR along the way.
Today, we integrate design thinking as well as product, process, and experience design into many aspects of our client work. We are currently one of the 10 largest design firms globally by size, and we recently published a first-of-its-kind study on the business value of design.
The Red Dot Award for Product Design was launched in 1955 to honor the best products created every year. The 2019 award winners will be celebrated later this year at the annual Red Dot Gala in Essen, Germany.