in Concept Design

Democratized Design at BMW

At the end of the concept design phase you’ll need to select among the concepts you’ve developed, and there are various methods for doing so: customer feedback (e.g. desirability testing), a decision market, an executive decision, a vote, and so on. The last option, voting, becomes more interesting when you keep the designers anonymous to keep the focus of the decision on quality.

In the case of BMW and their new Z4 they arrived at this…

by anonymously choosing these designers…

Most people are surprised the male-dominated role of BMW auto design was awarded to two women. To me that’s a useful case study for using an anonymous competition for not only getting to the best design, but also breaking through cultural barriers to do so.

  1. It’s interesting to see a car company, normally known for their politics, use democratic means to choose a concept to refine. However, it’s not surprising to me that the designs of women were selected to be the final.

    Women drive roadsters. They also drive convertibles. Discussing sex and it’s relationship to design (or business) can be thin ice, but I have to imagine there was a level of empathy that not every BMW designer can offer to the new Z4 design.

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