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A DECADE LONG
JOURNEY THROUGH
PRODUCT INNOVATION

Background

Being one of the largest consumer electronics retailers in the world, Best Buy gets exclusive market insights from its own mega stores and online channels as well as immense support from an extensive manufacturing partner network. This reflects on its private label brands’ product development process as they understand very well which product categories are in higher demand. Best Buy then gives CRE8 more freedom to explore for innovation in these popular segments; at the same time, the “new” projects can be verified efficiently by Best Buy’s internal buyers before investing in expensive tooling.

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Challenges

We as designers enjoy very much working with clients like Best Buy for the freedom to develop ground breaking ideas. However, with its broad product lines and sometimes extremely open project briefs, the freedom might turn into pressure as we need to guide the client all the way through the innovation process. The new concepts also need to compete with the ones of external brands in order to be selected by Best Buy’s buyers. Through multiple rounds of product proposals, from brainstorming, scenario sketching, to proof-of-concept prototyping, designers have to prove that the innovations are useful and will be liked by end-consumers.

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Solutions

During the innovation process, we attempt to bring out those “light-bulb moments” for decision makers, igniting their curiosity and aspiration for the products to be on the store shelves.

Over the years, CRE8 has developed many innovative works for Best Buy, and here are some of the most iconic ones:

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Rocketfish Sound Prism Speaker

The ultra-portable pop-up speaker was designed specifically for use with iPad. The triangular prism magnetically attaches and rolls up inside the iPad smart cover, offering enhanced stability when the iPad is placed upright and music can stream from both sides. The smart idea was recognized by multiple international design awards.

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Rocketfish Keyboard Capsule for iPad

The iPad Keyboard Capsule was the first ever made in its category. In line with Apple aesthetics, the hard-shell carrying case effectively turns an iPad into a notebook and solves three pain points for iPad users: protection during transport; easy typing on a touch keyboard; and the ability to hold the unit in place for extensive usage.

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Rocketfish Multipurpose iPad Stand

When Apple launched the first-generation iPad, this was one of the earliest iPad stands created, allowing users to fix a tablet with maximized viewing flexibility by rotating the iPad stand freely around 3 axes in any desired viewing angle. The CRE8 team managed the project from design, engineering, to production control and made the product go to market within a very short 3-month time frame.

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Modal Twist Charge-and-Sync Cable

CRE8 was asked to reinvent cable solutions with enhanced mobility and multiple functions in mind to fit a new trendy house brand – Modal. Inspired by the action of twisting cables with a cheerful and colorful connotation of twirl candy, the spiral part wraps the rest of the cable in an orderly fashion for easy storage and management.

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Rocketfish Clarity Design Language Manual

Product branding guidelines that help with product design and CMF consistency.

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Rocketfish Charger Collection

Consistent design language for vehicle and wall chargers compatible with smart devices.

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After working with CRE8 DESIGN on over 20 projects for the past seven years, we’re 100 percent confident they can manufacture any concept they show us, since they’re experts at predicting costs and materials, bolstered by key relationships with Asian manufacturers.

Amy Westendorp