What people want

I read an article in the Evening Standard this evening about products we want. It's here if you want to read it (scroll down to you get to the part which starts 'Skint?..'. If you don't want to read it, this two line summary is for you:

All the electronics manufacturers, those who got us through the 90s, filling the Argos catalogue with their shiny toys are suffering in the downturn. But it's just about people having less money to spend. We still bought a LOT of Apple's products: iPhone, Mac, iTunes downloads.

The article finishes by urging the kettle, dishwasher and toaster makers to invest in designing products that people want. Washing machines are no longer counted as luxury items. The idea departments need to jump in and start creating gadgets.

It led me to wonder how the equipment we use daily could be improved. Here are my thoughts:

  •  a microwave that scans the bar code, and cooks the meal based on information contained within it. (how many times have I thrown away the packet with the instructions only to have to fish around in the rubbish to find it again
  • a vacuum cleaner that does not weigh a ton and fall off the stairs when you're trying to hoover them
  • a combination toaster, coffee and tea making machine with fridge compartment for milk and built in butter dish. With timer, obviously. Or a remote sensor linked to a button on your phone.
  • a digital clock timer for the oven which doesn't require the manual to set it and which can set different parts of the oven to different temperatures. Rather like heated car seats and different sides of the car.
  • a washing machine with hand washing capabilities.

People love shiny gadgets that do what they want. Apple are doing this well. I would love to see some of our much loved brands streak ahead because they dared to have a bit of imagination and find the wishes and desires of their target market. Sir James Dyson is a great example.

Would love to hear your bright ideas, so please submit by email or via the comments.

*Image used is of a Smeg fridge see their website for further details: http://www.smeguk.com/