Designing in China
Fast culture changes and how to make the most of them

A review of what we have learned from the changing society of China to design innovative products and services.

What makes the Chinese citizens of today different from who they were 5 or 10 years ago? Have their values really changed? What is the relationship between the innovation strategy of a country and the values of its citizens?

These are some of the questions that have arisen throughout the innovation projects that LÚCID develops for our clients in China.

Working with large Chinese companies in sectors such as consumer goods, electronic devices, household and kitchen items or lighting, among others, to help them discover the true needs and expectations of their customers, has opened up a world of experiences and knowledge.

During the development of these projects, a large number of Chinese citizens have opened their houses and offered their time to us, giving us the opportunity to understand their past, know how they feel in the present and visualize through concepts and products how they want to continue growing towards the future.

Among all the inspiring information collected, we have detected several areas of opportunity for innovation, which are built at a higher level than the interaction between the user and the product. These are areas that arise from the exemplary and accelerated advance of this country and from the influence that these changes have on the routines and habits of its citizens.

And, whoever makes the effort to investigate and identify the new needs and expectations arising from these changes, will be able to design products and services that anticipate what is yet to come.

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5 Culture changes in chinese society that lead us to true innovation.

1. Changes in family structure:

10 years in china are equivalent to 30 years in Western countries, so big changes have taken place in the family structure since the early 90´s.

Since those years, the Chinese family structures have become smaller because of the migration to fast growing cities, shaping from the “four generation under one roof” into “core structures”, consisting of a father, a mother and a child. Nowadays, family structures are still compact, but more diverse than ever: couples without children, also known as DINK (acronym for Dual Income No Kids), grandparents, single elderly… As a result, new priorities and routines have emerged inside the family, showing the need for new products and services that help them fulfil their new roles and needs.

2. Greater mobility and independence generate new homes:

Young people are more willing than ever to travel in order to develop the studies and professional careers of their dreams. This generates new target groups, young people who share an apartment or live alone, with little time or desire to carry out the classic tasks of a home and with great desire and curiosity to try new things that help them build their new savvy, self-sufficient and informal but mature identity.

3. The new “busy but committed” parenthood:

Both fathers and mothers develop their careers in demanding work environments that consume most of their time and effort. However, the proper upbringing of a child remains a primary value in families. New parents want to ensure that they support their children in their development by offering them a healthy and happy life without leaving behind their work commitments. To do this, they seek the resources that allow them to monitor their children well, develop their curiosity, ensure their autonomy and educate them for a successful life.

4. Taking care of the elderly, but in the distance:

The elderly no longer live with the descendant adults as usual. Whether in rural areas or cities, maintaining contact, support and care for the elderly, even from a distance, remains especially meaningful for Chinese citizens. This opens a new space of need: to provide the services and products that allow the quality of life of the elderly and offer tranquility to their busy adult children, even if it is in the distance.

5. The elderly reinvented:

The elderly who live either alone or as a couple, has become a generation that seeks autonomy and personal development in their leisure time. Its absorptive capacity for new technologies is well above the one of its western counterparts. This technology together with their active and sociable spirit has allowed them to find a wide variety of hobbies and activities to continue growing culturally, personally and spiritually.

Understanding and interpreting the needs and expectations of a changing society makes us capable of designing products and services focused on innovation and progress. As we have been able to observe through various projects in this country, those who dedicate efforts to decipher and understand what the changes in habits and consumption are and why they occur, will be one step ahead of their competitors.

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