IHA reconnected with Kevin Young, of the global design consultancy, Continuum, to learn about his latest research into the evolving needs within the home that will fulfilled by connected devices, which he will address at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show. At the Show, the Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics discussed will include smart home, consumer shopping preferences, branding and global market trends.
Kevin Young is senior vice president of product experience at Continuum, a global design consultancy with studios in Boston, Milan, Seoul and Shanghai. He leads programs and project teams in working with clients to solve their most complex challenges. He has directed many successful and award-winning projects, including the MIT Media Lab’s One Laptop Per Child, and is named on 18 U.S. patents. He has helped build strong relationships with Continuum’s Fortune 100 clients, including Procter & Gamble and American Express.
Kevin, what is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work? What fuels your inspiration?
I am excited about opportunities to work on projects that help improve people’s lives. Much of the work that we do at Continuum is at the intersection of medical devices and consumer products. I see this space of consumer wellness rapidly growing in the next five to ten years. Connectivity and the Internet of Things is a core facilitator for products and services in this space. I am inspired by the role that technology can play in creating ideal consumer experiences.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How has your company met these challenges in the way you do your work?
Continuum focuses on solving our client’s significant business challenges. To accomplish this, we have strength in strategic thinking, design and engineering that has helped us become what we are today. But to truly understand our clients’ business challenges, we have also grown our capabilities in business strategy. We now have a strong and growing business strategist team to ensure our innovation strategies are positioned for success within our clients’ organizations.
The Shift (aka Trends) That Will Impact the Future of the Connected Home
Tuesday, March 13 9:30—10:20 a.m.
Lakeside Center, Room E350
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
Over the last few years, I have watched the International Home + Housewares Show increase its focus on IoT and technology enabled home and houseware products. I would like to share my perspective on the future of IoT and the main shifts that will impact connected experiences.
For example, when we’re thinking about connectivity, it’s important to consider what enhancements can be made to products that offer real consumer and/or business value. We’ve seen connected toasters, but I don’t think people really need to program when their breakfast is made each morning. I will share how IoT will evolve and impact how our clients should evolve their product and service offerings.
You’ve presented in the Innovation Theater before. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
This will be my second time speaking at the Innovation Theater. I’m most excited to give the audience a glimpse into my perspective on the future of IoT.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
Over the past few years, there has been a growing tech-first movement in home and housewares products. These are products that feature new technologies that offer little or no consumer benefit. We have noticed that consumers are pushing back. They are rejecting products and services that promote tech for tech’s sake. I foresee a shift where we will step back. We will first focus on uncovering consumer needs and values and then find technology applications that will best facilitate that ideal consumer experience.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
My talk will center on the business, technology and cultural shifts (aka trends) that I feel will shape the future of IoT and connected experiences. These aren’t just “what’s hot for 2018?” These are the significant shifts and movements that the home and housewares industry should be aware of. I will share specific trends that will be actionable for attendees to apply to their work. If you are unable to attend my talk, feel free to contact me and I will share the presentation.
Thank you, Kevin, for giving us a taste of your upcoming program. Your presentation last year on how homes will provide new types of sensory and learning experiences to enhance the lives of children and their parents was fascinating. We’re eager to see your forecasts of what’s ahead in home life –coming soon on Tuesday, March 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the Innovation Theater.
Continuum is a global innovation design consultancy whose work is informed by the needs, desires, and aspirations of people: customers, patients, citizens, and those who make their client organizations work. The firm brings to every project a global perspective, with world-class capabilities and local sensibilities. Continuum operates with a collective purpose of making a difference—in people’s lives and in their clients’ bottom line.
Learn from experts about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Critical issues such as global design trends, branding, the needs of distinct consumer age and gender groups, and questions about smart/connected devices in our home environments all impact the home goods market. Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at www.housewares.org after the Show.