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In the Experience Design course organized by Pininfarina and IED, the students enrolled in the Master in Transportation Design have developed prototypes of products and services conceived in response to the needs that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The customer is king”: the king decides, the king rewards, the king punishes. How do we make our king happy? Bringing it value. By replacing user for customer, we also broaden the field from the end user of a product or service, to all the paying or not actors necessary for the success of the product / service. This is what the students experienced in the field of the collaboration between Pininfarina and IED.

Experience Design, has in fact the mission of overturning the point of view, bringing the user as the hero of the story to the center of the narrative. The starting question is no longer ‘what do we design?’ But ‘who do we design for?’. No more ‘what features should my product have?’ But ‘what problems will it solve?’. It will no longer ‘be more beautiful than that of my competitor’ but ‘it will be the most pleasant-comfortable-useful to satisfy the user’s needs’. By asking the right questions, correct answers will arrive and products capable of responding to the needs of users and the market.

The customer who commissions the project is the first user, his result is at the center of every Pininfarina project, in every sector. Whether it’s a self-driving car, a co-working architectural project or a new generation smartphone. Our design process does not start with the pencil but with the actors involved. The company and the customer team with whom we start the path, the end users and the social and cultural context in which the solution will be used.

Thanks to this approach, our customers / users not only receive a project – whose judgment can be summed up as “I like / dislike” – but value that is measured by the results on the market of the designed solutions. To do this, we analyze the problem space in the field with the client, we test the experiences through concept videos, physical and digital mock-ups, in continuous design cycles, identifying in a timely manner what fascinates the end user and what is less relevant. At the same time, constant internal evaluation with the customer allows you to balance the needs of the end user with technical feasibility and business opportunity. This makes the design process, which is often obscure to the nonprofessional, time and cost efficient. It is therefore so for the end user, as it creates products and experiences capable of responding to needs and solving problems, as much as society as a whole as it takes into account the interactions between the product and all the players right from the problem definition phase, which are involved along the entire journey.

This approach was at the center of the definition of the User Experience program and tested the second year students of the Master in Transportation Design of IED Turin in the design of a service prototype applicable to a field of investigation chosen among the three proposed: tourism, local communities and healthcare. To the question was ‘how can we give value to students?’, and the answer was to fully simulate a designer / client relationship, and to provide them with tools to interface with end users and potential financiers of their solutions.

Organized in groups and led by teachers Xavier Blanc Baudriller, Head of Design Strategy Pininfarina, and Marco Maria Pedrazzo, Strategic Design Lead Pininfarina, Lorenzo Carpignano, Industrial & UX designer, Lara Garreffa, Senior UX-UI Designer, Stefano Ghiglione, Senior industrial designer , Prianjali Kapur, Senior Strategy & Experience Designer, the young designers analyzed the reference context and defined the problem on which to intervene, developing a conceptual solution with a methodological approach far from pure abstraction. To determine and test the effectiveness of their idea, the students met with different subjects, interacting with potential users, industry professionals and representatives of institutions. Through interviews with the actors on whom the proposed solutions impact, the students not only collected information and indications essential to calibrate the process and reduce project risk, but also learned how to “open the doors” of stakeholders and obtain their project support.

Among the proposals developed, two stood out for the solutions conceived in response to the needs that emerged in the healthcare sector during the Covid-19 pandemic and selected to be presented to a multidisciplinary panel of Pininfarina architects, designers and managers. After studying what has been put in place to date and interviewing various frontline actors – such as doctors, nurses, firefighters, civil protection – the students hypothesized new services to support virus testing or vaccine administration in quickly, safely, disseminated and monitored. The working group formed by Rushabh Mistry, Nicolò Vallauri, Shachar Koren and Karan Chowdhury has imagined a mobile clinic, in which spaces and their use define a correct flow and facilitate the experience of young, elderly or foreign users; the students Bhavjyot Mann, George Schelfaut and Jonathan Farah have instead studied a system of incubation tents perfected by the presence of an autonomous vehicle which, in case of positivity and depending on the severity of the symptoms, can lead the patient towards quarantine or hospitalization without requiring the intervention of third parties. To all of them and to IED, Pininfarina wishes a great good luck: LONG LIVE the KING!

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