The Idea

For more than 100 years, Steelcase has maintained a strong commitment to design excellence. For Steelcase, excellence isn’t just about aesthetics: “We design spaces to help people work, learn, and heal . . . we don’t just do what’s right, we do what’s best—for people and for the planet.”

However, even the most experienced companies face collaboration and communication issues. At Steelcase, the Materials Innovation Exploration (MIE) team and the Design and Business teams were facing subtle communications challenges. The MIE team would identify new materials and technologies, which would then be ushered through development to the Design and Business teams in an ad hoc approach—and usually in tech-heavy language—that didn’t resonate with less technically focused audiences.

The Impact

The underlying problem? There was no clearly defined purpose and protocol for the MIE team to communicate the value of the innovations they discovered to the audiences who would benefit most from their work.

Working with leadership on the MIE team, we built from the ground up. We helped them define and establish a dedicated purpose and positioning platform within the context of the Steelcase brand to clearly articulate the value of what MIE adds to the product design and commercialization process.

Today, the MIE team is working closely with Steelcase’s Product Design group while entering into the next phase of communication strategy development with Everhouse that will allow them to find new ways to contribute to product innovation and promote the growing importance of materials in human-centered design.

“Everhouse creates such a clear picture of what the future can be. That gives me the confidence and energy to know where to go and how to get there.”

—Sharon Tracy

PhD, Principal, Materials Innovation, Steelcase

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