Design working: a rundown of the Best Effect Award finalists

Design, said Apple founder Steve Jobs, is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. Or, put in a commercial context, whether it helps a company make money. And the Best Design Awards’ ‘Best effect’ category, whose finalists were announced this week, celebrates design that has produced a measurable effect on the success of an organisation or product, whether it be productivity, staff engagement, sales growth, bottom line or customer experience.

Cathy Veninga, chief executive of the Designers Institute of New Zealand, the award organisers, says the category shows the power of design to transform. 

“The best entrants not only demonstrate the most potent effects but also the best design processes. They are imaginative and innovative [but they are also] grounded in user and customer reality.” 

Hubbards Amazing Muesli Range by Coats Design

Hubbards, a true independent Kiwi brand that has been pioneering cereals for over 20 years, has become renowned for its colourful, innovative and quirky packs. However, over the past five years, its packaging had lost focus and cohesion.

So, to launch the Amazing Muesli range, Coats Design developed a new brand identity and communication strategy, focusing on sustenance and nutrition, great taste and variety, honesty and transparency. 

As a privately owned company Hubbards doesn’t release sales data, but this story from 2011 says it fell into the red by $1 million. That was before it tried to regain its mojo with a full rebrand and integrated campaign

BNZ ‘YouMoney’ by BNZ Digital

The BNZ YouMoney app, designed using direct customer feedback, particularly from young people, allows users to drag and drop the accounts they want to use onto their card, then change them again when they take their card on a different occasion. They can move their money easily with drag and drop, add their own pictures to make their banking look the way they want and search on their own terms. 

The outcome was a lift in share in the youth market by acquisition, increased retention and shifting of non-main bank customers to the BNZ

F&P Simplus by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 

The result of thousands of design hours, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was looking for a sleep apnoea therapy mask that was comfortable, well-sealed, as unobtrusive as possible and didn’t fall off during the night. The Simplus, released towards the end of 2013, has had significant impact in terms of sales revenue and the growth of the business. So much so that the company has had to substantially expand production facilities to cope with demand. 

Kiwibank Home Hunter by Springload

Kiwibank worked with realestate.co.nz and web designers Springload to develop an app that brought together property listings and the sort of bank information people need when they are buying a house (instant loan pre-approval, mortgage calculators etc). There’s even a cunning sun finder thingy.

Home Hunter was New Zealand’s most-downloaded property app in May this year and has had 72,000 web users since launch. By automating loan applications and standardising credit risk assessment it has also reduced Kiwibank’s operating costs and improved workflow.

Home New Zealand by Inhouse

Since publishing company Bauer took the decision to contract out the design and layout of Home magazine to Inhouse in 2011, readership has increased 56 percent to almost 100,000. The bi-monthly is now the fastest-growing magazine in the country in readership terms. And Inhouse also helped redesign the website recently

Powershop mobile app by Alphero

Powershop has earned a reputation as an innovative energy supplier, and its mobile apps, which allow customers to see their power usage and buy power on the go, was released well ahead of the pack and has helped maintain its position atop the customer satisfaction charts.  

Powershop needed to give people a reason to visit its website and mobile application, purchase products from its online shop, and use its suite of tools to monitor and control their power usage. It meant designing an online interface that was helpful, meaningful, and enjoyable to use. It also needed to be social and interactive, to give the company a voice that articulated its role as an industry disruptor and champion of the consumer. It needed a high level of service for every consumer touchpoint, significant visibility, a proactive stance and differentiation.

Over the last three years, this programme of work has helped Powershop break records for customer satisfaction and service, exceed business targets across the board, and win the title of New Zealand’s fastest growing company. With design ‘baked in’ to every aspect of Powershop’s strategy, operations and customer experience, the work resulted in unparalleled customer engagement and enabled customers to shop for power the way they shopped for groceries in a supermarket.

In 2011, 86 percent of customers actively shopped for their power on the website. In 2012, this grew to 98 percent. In June 2011, Powershop topped the Consumer NZ survey of energy suppliers for the third year running with a 96 percent satisfaction rating. It also had a positive impact on the organisation’s commercial success. In 2011, Powershop was named New Zealand’s fastest growing company at the annual Deloitte Fast 50 Awards. This was the highest record ever achieved by a New Zealand organisation in the history of the awards.

BNZ Agile by Jasmax

Agile working isn’t a concept traditionally associated with the banking sector, but for BNZ’s 2,000m², expansion at 80 Queen Street, it was one of the driving design concepts along with flexibility and choice. The aim was to use this new space in their existing building to pioneer activity-based-working (ABW) within the company.

With the experience of parent company NAB, BNZ already understood that ABW was often most successful when kept simple. The design solution had to be an enabler of the brand by providing a world class working environment that fostered collaboration and attracted and retained talent to deliver on the key driver of helping New Zealanders be good with money. With these outcomes in mind, success of the project was measured in three ways: direct cost savings through greater utilisation of space and assets, higher employee engagement and greater collaboration across all teams.

The process with BNZ resulted in a workplace that promotes sharing and connection, as the highest value spaces, usually on the perimeter and ‘corner office’ positions, are shared spaces that can be enjoyed by everyone. In addition, it enabled a reduction in the individual ownership of space, and provides diverse work settings that cater to work styles from individual ‘focus’ work to informal collaboration, giving the freedom for people to choose the most appropriate space for the task at hand.

Rinnai Neo Gas Fireplace

The Neog gas fireplace was a piece of strategic product design that successfully tapped a massive market opportunity. The brief was to create an insert gas fire that was at least 80 percent efficient, to meet the clear needs of the Victorian villa wood burner replacement market, and have wide appeal within the broader Australasian market.

The new size parameters got the Neo into the market, and the class leading aesthetics made the Neo a huge success. Introducing contemporary linear design cues to a fire category where the outer dimensions needed to be square make the Neo a stand out in the category. And the sales flowed from there.

Private Flight Group by DNA

Private Flight aimed to disrupt the private aviation industry by creating a new catering eco-system. The company has significant business growth aspirations and sees design as an integral element of a successful solution. The rapid and collaborative  customer-centred process design touched all aspects of the business and delivered across four key metrics – revenue, orders, catering provider network and client acquisition. 

Click here for the full list of Best Award finalists. Photos courtesy of Design Institute of New Zealand.

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