It was in the fall of 2007 when I received my first ever commercial brief. I had just come out of the University of Leeds with a MPhil award in the area of Emotional Design and Sensory Engineering and with some valuable working experience already in my bag gained alongside the Design Team at the Product Technology Centre of Nestle in York. The brief was about defining the design parameters for a new air care device that should look and feel more natural and eco-friendlier but without conflicting with existing brand values. The client was the New Technologies Group within Reckitt Benckiser (now Reckitt) and the brand was the well-established household name Air Wick. Having designed and carried out a hybrid research methodology, namely a blend of qualitative and quantitative techniques, I arrived at a comprehensive design brief based on thorough user-centred insight. Shape, ergonomics, sound, feel, spray technology and nozzle dimensions were only some of the sensory, emotional and functional attributes I juggled with to determine the most impactful combination of features that would benefit both the consumer and the brand. Air Wick Aqua Mist was the output – a back-to-basics device using a familiar mechanical system and an eco-friendly technology, with optimum ergonomics and offering an emotionally engaging interaction. Aqua Mist was an instant commercial success for Air Wick and the beginning of a fulfilling and sustainable consulting career in human-centric innovation for me.
Other Reckitt power brands followed, Finish, Vanish, Veet and Strepsils and new clients gradually appeared with names like Nestle, Heinz, Durex (before it was acquired by Reckitt), Hovis, Warburtons, ASDA, Tropicana, Lucozade, Coors, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Flora, Hellmann’s, Knorr, Cornetto, Barilla, JTI, Yorkshire Tea and Taylors of Harrogate being some of the the brands I had, and still have, the pleasure of working with on a global scale.
Design-led insights remains my core strength to date, though through the years I’ve learned to apply my design thinking and consumer science principles in solving wider problems and tackling more prolific briefs. Identifying white spaces and opportunities for technical innovation and category growth, decoding consumer and stakeholder perceptions for brand and product innovation and running or participating in co-creation workshops for generating value propositions and new ideas have been added to my arsenal. All delivered with true passion for my craft and through artisan reports, telling video stories and engaging presentations.
Get in touch if you wish to unfold the softer side of innovation and discover what truly matters through the power of insight and design thinking…
Stergios Bititsios (A.K.A Sterge)
Some of the companies that Stergios has worked with throughout his career include:
Phone: +44 (0) 7903 306454