Design Thinking

Guiding Principles

Our principles and beliefs flavour everything we do; how we operate projects; and how we organise ourselves. For us, our principles and our people are our greatest assets; our USP (unique selling proposition). Values constantly evolve and are expressed uniquely according to each situation, but the following are some of our core beliefs which will always guide our decisions and design process.

As well as creativity, good design requires teamwork, discipline, precision and attention to detail. Above all, at CobaltNiche we focus on clear design thinking; the imagination to ask ‘what if’ and the ability to listen and passionately advocate a position.

People are at the centre
 

Developing a new diagnostic device to detect heart failure; Reducing the production cost of a food package; Improving passenger amenities in a bus; or designing a brand for sustainable consumer products. No matter what the project is, people are at the centre of why we do what we do.

Technology, materials and style are all elements that must be creatively brought together, but ultimately, our design intervention must benefit the individual and the users’ wider society.

Design is commercial
 

Design has to deliver a commercial advantage. Otherwise it's art.

Being commercially accountable to our clients is never forgotten and inspires us to greater creativity. It's also common sense. Our clients need to profit through design in order to do more with us next time.

From the outside, design can seem trivial. But for us, design is far more than the flamboyance of an inspired moment. Design can create real value, whether that is in new intellectual property; market leadership or a price-premium. It’s why we believe in a process and team-wide involvement. It’s why we continually train and mentor our people and why we are so careful to understand our client’s needs. 

People are complex
 

Left Vs Right brain; Feeling Vs Facts; Form Vs Function; Marketing Vs Production.

We occupy the chasm between these polarities. It can be uncomfortable, but then good design needs to integrate the whole spectrum of human experience; from what we can see and touch to what we can only feel.

For example, in business today simply fulfilling a need and meeting a price-point is not good enough if all the competitors are doing this just as well. Sometimes desire, delight and identity are just as critical as functionality and hard metrics.

We are all motivated by different cues and respond differently to the real and perceived world. At CobaltNiche, our job is to never forget that whilst aims and solutions may seem simple; people are always complex.

Design is a team sport
 

Good design is never created by just one person. Design is problem solving applied to real conditions. We believe design is collaborative and inclusive; it’s not about individualism and exclusivity.

So at CobaltNiche we welcome (and insist on) broad input into the design process; from within our internal teams; from the various stakeholders within our clients’ organisation; and from expert suppliers who will eventually be involved in the design’s delivery.

Talking about teamwork is easy, doing it and living it as an everyday norm is different again. Empathy, respect and trust are all necessary for teamwork, but how do these translate within a real context? CobaltNiche embraces a culture of teamwork by a variety of big and little things. Things like; project-lead management structure to share responsibilities and roles; keeping our core skills high so that we can rely on each other when needed; early dialog and input from suppliers; and direct involvement with clients.

 

 

 

Everyday Values

A pocket guide to how our values apply in everyday ways.

  • Our style is inclusive and team-focussed, not individualist and ego-driven
  • We are in the business of creating wealth for our clients through tangibles like market-share and the creation of new intellectual property (patents, designs and trademarks). As well we create wealth through intangibles like brand values and leadership
  • Every design we create is bespoke and suited to its market. We do not ‘cookie-cutter’ our own studio style or agenda
  • We apply sound design processes to both creative and specification stages, we do not rely on random creativity or unaccountable assumptions
  • Communication is made as often as our client can handle. We like to keep our clients in the loop
  • We act professionally and with integrity. We like developing solid relationships with clients
  • Wherever possible we involve our clients with the whole design team working on a project. We don’t hide our people behind a figurehead
  • Our senior designers are our senior sales people. We don’t employ business development people because they are not able to fully engage your needs or the design process

 

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Based in Australia, Cobalt Niche is a globally focused creative product design and development group. We operate locally as well as Asia, North America and Europe.
 

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