In the end of 2006 we were invited to present at EMBRAER our human-centered methodological process, and share with them our vision towards integrated work and strategic design. After several intense and enriching meetings were invited to participate in the program “Cabin Comfort & Design” at Embraer. Started in May 2006, this process has its only focus on the passenger that will fly in the future aircrafts at projected by the company.

The program has two scopes/ main stages; a stage with a strong technical foundation made in collaboration with several Brazilians universities which aimed to create assessment tools to generate solutions of cabin comfort, and another stage, with an methodological bases and in collaboration with VRD RESEARCH which aimed to define and test an integrated project process.

Our contribution to the program was the creation of an Integrated Design Lab where through a case study, it became possible to implemented a multidisciplinary design process and a dynamic work strongly based on the integration between teams from different specializations: Engineering + Design + Market Intelligence + project.

As it has been reported by Embraer in the journal BANDEIRANTE No. 736: The first stage (of the “Cabin Comfort & Design” program) that is now completed, labelled “Integrated Design Lab (IDL, or Laboratório Integrado de Design, in Portuguese), is also the flagship for the assessment of the pioneering surrounding the ambitious program.

ALL IDEAS HAVE A VALUE

Not only is the multidisciplinary team chosen, but also the workplace call attention to the IDL, which had the VRD RESEARCH consultancy support  incharged  of develop, implement and conduct the process of product development that would foster the integrated work  and the innovation.

According to VRD RESEARCH team, “Innovation begins by redefine the process itself, questioning the current technologies and innovating on the working models”.

During a period of almost a year, 16 professionals from various specialties, including engineering, design and market intelligence – specifically chosen not only for their work experience but primarily for they creative talents and openness to new ideas – worked the equivalent of 84 working days in the IDL, accumulating new activities with the day-to-day tasks at Embraer.

A new site was defined outside Embraer for the up coming work, as 350 m2 or so of open area were required to the work

“It was important for this space be flexible, because the research project  includes both individual and work group , a constant exchange of ideas and the many  discussions between specialist of diferent areas such  as market intelligence, engineers of the pre-project, interior engeneers and industrial designers.” Explain Andre Gasparotti; Technology Development Supervisor at Embraer. “The dinamics developed for this process  was based on putting  ideas forward and make them tangible instead of to kill ideas at thir embrionary stage.” Explain Gasparotti.

A provisionally real size mock-up model was create, that was related to to no aircraft  in specificly and at the same time, to all future models of Embraer jets, establishing the comfort on board as one of the main competitive edge in sales for the up coming decades.

Panels filled with photographs, charts, analysis and hand written notes with phrases such as “the desires and aspirations of the user” leaves no doubt that the IDL existed due to the passenger needs only. Relate  to  the unusual mock-up, the keynote was, before anything, the allocation of spaces dictated by the needs. “A search of the values that really represent the the user desires,” says Gasparotti.

Even dealing with the future, it is possible that the results of one or another stage, considered ready inside the Program Confort & Cambine Design, are make an influence in the product applications that can reinforce the competitive advantage of either existing model line Embraer jets. Just remember that technological readiness is the main goal.

“The collaboration with VRD RESEARCH was extremely relevant because it allowed us to see the process innovatively and reinforced the value of integration of the specialists who develop the EMBRAER product. In addition, we identified opportunities for innovation that probably would not have been considered in a conventional development process.”

 

Jorge Ramos de Oliveira, Vice President, Technology Development, Embraer, Brazil.