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In recent years the very nature of work and the tools we use on a daily basis have changed radically. Our office desk environments are constantly evolving with the addition of new technology, creating new challenges for managing devices and information. Chances are that most of you reading this article are sitting at a desk surrounded by these new additions to our desktops; from the ubiquitous smartphone to a multitude of devices powered by USB.

Add to that a changing office culture where people are ever more inclined to hot desk or work at multiple work stations; in a lab, from home, in open working areas, meeting rooms, client or supplier offices etc

At Cambridge Design Partnership we believe that new technology should always be user centred and that its design and implementation should make our lives easier rather than unintentionally more difficult, more satisfying rather than frustrating. Our Industrial Design team are often asked to explore opportunities where end-user needs have changed and evolved but the technology/accessories have lagged behind and not developed enough to match them. This is a great space for innovation.

Recently we focused on familiar desktop accessories and asked if they cater for the age of smart phones, apps and touch screen devices?

Our proven innovation process starts with user research, looking at the tasks people have to perform and how existing products meet these needs.  In parallel we create a landscape of information surrounding the product sector, looking at competitors, IP, market structure, technology opportunities and the commercial aims of our clients. We believe innovation is a multi dimensional challenge and this approach makes sure the design team have a holistic and complete picture of the challenge from which to develop new ideas.

Building on this data we started to sketch two different approaches to desktop accessories. Both ranges feature headphone stands and organisers for USB powered devices; unmet needs that our research showed were underserved by products currently on the market. These accessories help users reclaim their desk space by providing a means to neatly wrap unruly cables, whilst still enabling quick access to these frequently used items.

A range of desktop accessories based around a common oblong profile, creating a timeless aesthetic with an understated professional appeal. The stand-out product from the range is the ‘Extruded’ stapler; a completely new form factor for the ubiquitous desktop accessory.

A set of stationery with an emphasis on tactility, featuring a number of flexible and moving parts highlighted in vibrant colours. The ‘fiddle factor’ provides a means to delight and enthral users with playful elements that are hard to put down.

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