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Billings Jackson Design, David Atkinson, Trilux

Practice Reflection:
In 2018 I collaborated with Busniness strategist David Atkinson, set to develop new product comprehension framework for Europe’s second largest linear lighting manufacturer Trilux.

Visiting Light and Build in 2018 (the world's leading trade fair for lighting, design and intelligent building services) there was a prevalence of human centred design discourse yet a lack of understanding of its application. This gap within the market was seen as an opportunity to help strengthen Billing Jackson designs relationship to Trilux and offer a new service what would develop a framework to better understand the lighting industry.

To achieve this we focused on the linear lighting system E-Line and mapped out the sales figures by location and industry against Trilux’s expected growth. I assisted by digesting the marketing and communication material and created a spreadsheets that mapped the individual stakeholders who weighed in on the decision making and at what point they either specified or disregarded a lighting system for their build.

What we discovered was that Trilux like many of its competitors were making product development decisions based on previous sales and against competitor offerings, rather than the end users and the contextual needs of a lighting system. This decision making was proving to be costly as third party components were often delayed and were being chosen reflexively to industry, adding no point of difference and were clumped together in overwhelming product family.

This insight was made apparent when looking at the communication and marketing material as well as the experience of purchasing a E-line system. E-Line had been branded as one stop shop that could cater to every context; industry, office, big box retail and schools– yet in doing so, it appeared to be a master of none. Building the product and service out this way required specialist knowledge and did not afford confidence in purchasing decisions. This resulted in consumers spending large amounts of time deliberating between different variables yet not clearly understanding cost value benefits of options.

This would make sense when partnered with the sales framework developed by David, where once lighting specialists had learnt a product family there was little movement between competitors. Because of this specialist requirement, it actively excluded the stakeholders who ultimately made the decisions whether the product should be installed in large developments.

We utilised renderings, illustrations and spreadsheets to communicate how better product families could be used to engage new customers and empower decision making of marginalised stakeholders. The impact of this strategy was predicted to increase sales by €4M in the first year.

The framework and findings were presented to Trilux at their home office and Ansberg Germany in August 2018. The presentation was met with reception and we were granted an extended contract to build out the   project and do a deeper dive into the stakeholders and contextual requirements for future linear lighting systems – focusing on how a product family could be broken down to become more specialised needs and improve comprehension.