Designing Impactful Innovation podcast - episode 6

In this episode, two Dassault Systèmes experts share their perspectives on industrial design, creativity and how the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud helps them bring their ideas to life.

Join Felix Rockel, CATIA Design Industry process expert senior specialist and Alain Dugousset, CATIA Core Engineering Roles Portfolio senior manager to learn more about the challenges of industrial design today, the way to stay inspired and the keys to design successfully.

Designing Impactful Innovation podcast - Episode 8

Meet our speakers

Felix Rockel
Felix Rockel
CATIA Design Industry Process Expert Senior Specialist, Dassault Systèmes

That's the great thing in design: there is always a new shape, always something new that you can do.

More about Felix’s design projects on the 3DEXPERIENCE community

Alain Dugousset
Alain Dugousset
CATIA Core Engineering Roles Portfolio Senior Manager, Dassault Systèmes

If you have any passions, it's easier to find good ideas to find the inspiration coming from what you like to see, to explore and to deep dive into new things you can discover.

More about Alain’s design projects on the 3DEXPERIENCE community

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Read the transcript

Clara: Hello and welcome to the Designing Impactful Innovation podcast. I’m Clara, your host, and today we’re talking about industrial design with two Dassault Systèmes experts: Felix Rockel, CATIA Design Industry process expert senior specialist and Alain Dugousset, CATIA Core Engineering Roles Portfolio senior manager.

Felix: All right, so yeah, my name is Felix Rockel. I was born in Hamburg, Germany – that's also where I grew up. I studied industrial design, wrote my bachelor thesis at the design department of Bugatti and then I started my journey and my professional journey at RTT, that is now known as 3DEXCITE, and they were doing a lot of renderings and consulting for the visualization of our customers, mainly in the automotive industry. 

And now I'm, already, since eight years in the CATIA IPS design team, also working with customers in the design domain from various industries – consulting them, how they can improve their workflow with CATIA and our Dassault solutions on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Alain: Hello, my name is Alain Dugousset and I am in fact a young mechanical engineer with more than 25 years of experience in Dassault Systèmes on CATIA in Aerospace and Defense. 

Basically, I am a mechanical engineer coming from Supmeca, a French engineering school near Paris, and I joined Dassault Systèmes more than 25 years ago to work first on CATIA V5 mechanical design definitions with customers, mainly Aerospace and Defense and Transportation and Mobility customers. After several years on this topic, I spent some time directly in the Aerospace industry team in Dassault Systèmes. And today I'm back on core engineering roles and doing some portfolio management, and define operations directly with customers or on innovative topics. That’s a part of my life in Dassault Systèmes and outside of it I am also an aviation fan, an avgeek and a fan of Star Wars and Marvel movies too.

Alain: For me, industrial design is a capability to create not only innovation for innovation, but something which can be really loved by the customer. Something you would like to have, to use it, and something with which you can have some interesting experiences. Not only something which is beautiful and maybe useless.

Felix: Yeah, for me it's being kind of the advocate, I would say, for the future user or consumer of the product. Because the product is definitely more than just its functional purpose, it has an esthetical purpose as well. And yes, as an industrial designer, you should make sure that the product feels good in the hand, is easy to use and also easy to understand how to use it. So definitely, industrial design should always focus on the user experience, I would say.

Felix: For me, I think my first steps were – my father is a designer as well, not really an industrial designer, more a communication designer. But when I have to talk about my first steps, I have to mention my father there because he was always talking about design and it also made me kind of want to go into this direction. And then, of course, I studied industrial design, started to study industrial design, and then did my internship during my studies at the design department of VW first and then later on wrote my bachelor's degree at the design  department of Bugatti. So those were like my first touchpoints with industrial design, I would say.

Alain: Yes, on my side it’s a little bit different. As I told you, I am basically a mechanical engineer, and when I joined Dassault Systèmes, my first role was more to work on mechanical design, so it’s not really what we are calling industrial design. 

We are trying to create some mechanical parts, some brackets or this kind of thing. But going on in Dassault Systèmes, in fact design appears to be very important for real, nice products. So I had the opportunity to work joining both the mechanical side and design side of our customer expectation. And it was for me, a new way of looking at what can be done with CATIA at this time, and now the platform. And in fact, basically, I think 20, 25 years ago and nobody really imagined what we can do today. 

Mixing mechanical engineering and industrial design to have really nice products, innovative ones with good user experience, as Felix explained, it's really very interesting. And I spent some time looking at this topic and I learned during my career at Dassault Systèmes to go toward this new topic.

Alain: On my side, I am more coming from the Aerospace and Defense industry, so the design process is a little bit different. I love, in fact, to do other things than classical ones. I am already happy when I can find some time trying to develop new things. And for me, if I look at my inspiration, it's more linked to Aerospace and Defense, innovation and other stuff coming from movies such as Star Wars and Marvel, maybe, and it's clearly a good way to find new ideas, futuristic ones sometimes, but keeping in mind that we are trying to create some new product with innovation and good design for the customer.

Felix: Yeah, from my side. So in my job at Dassault Systèmes, we consult customers from many, many different industries, basically from all the industries. Of course with a little focus, I would say, on the Automotive and Aerospace industry, but also High Tech industry, Consumer Goods. So I feel that I have quite a good insight of how the design process looks like in the different industries. That's also something that I enjoy quite a lot at my job here at Dassault Systèmes. And I would say that, definitely, creativity plays a big role in all of the design processes in all of the different industries. You want to create products that don't look like the products that we used and have seen, I don't know, several years ago.

As a designer, you want to invent the future and shape the future in a way. So you have to be creative. And I would also say that depending on the industry, you have to somehow foresee the trends of the future. So depending on the creation or production cycle of a product. So if you consider, for example, the car and maybe the production cycle of a new car, the design workflow of a new car is about two or three years, you have to imagine the product that will look modern in two or three years, basically when it's coming out.

And yes, this varies quite a lot from industry to industry because other products might have an even longer production cycle or a shorter one. And this has a heavy influence on creativity and how far in the future you have to imagine the product and its shape.

Clara: All right. So taking into account the future as well. You both often work on original projects that you share online, such as Tintin’s spaceship for Alain and new CATIA e-cars in your case, Felix.

Felix: So for me, definitely inspiration can come from everything. Everything that I experience in my life can inspire me. And I think for a good designer, it's also important to get as much inspiration as possible. So that means to not live your life hidden in a dark room where you don't have input from the outside world. You need this input as a designer, you need to have a feeling for cultural developments as well, because all this will influence your design and that will inspire your design.

Alain: For me I would say, yes, I agree with Felix, clearly it’s the same kind of approach, but most of the time I try to use CATIA, I would say for fun, creating some new thing. And basically, yes, if you have any passions, it's easier to find good ideas to find the inspiration coming from what you like to see, to explore and to deep dive into new things you can discover basically according to what happens on the aerospace market, for me, or with my passions such as Marvel or Star Wars on the other side.

Clara: So going out into the world, having fun, and passions, right?

Alain: Yes, clearly! It’s more important to have passions, I think, and to be able to bring them to virtual life when it's possible, when you have the tools. And on our side, with Felix, I think we have the tools to do this. It's clearly very interesting to start from these passions. Some ideas, you can see some inspiration coming from this area, and then try to bring them to virtual life with CATIA and the platform.

Alain: On my side, basically, the Airwolf project. Maybe you know it. It's an old series of the eighties, which is a futuristic helicopter able to go faster than Mach 1 – which makes no sense, today, it's not possible. So clearly it's something which does not exist. But I spent some time recreating it in CATIA, simulated it with SIMULIA and of course, we checked that the helicopter cannot fly the speed it does in the series – that was a good fiction you know?

And basically what is very amazing is that today, using our tools, we are able to do this kind of thing, to do more, to study some alternatives on this helicopter and so on. But here again, if I look back to 20 or 25 years ago, at this time, I’d think it would never be possible to do what I have achieved in a few hours with our tools today. Clearly, to recreate not of course the complete digital mockup of the helicopter, but what I have recreated in a few hours, it's really amazing compared to, let's say, my starting point at Dassault Systèmes 25 years ago, trying to design some mechanical parts.

Felix: Yeah, nice. I like what you're saying there, Alain. So for me, it’s very similar. As a designer, I really, really enjoy that with the tools that we have, I can show really well my design intention because I have everything at hand. I have virtual reality, I have visualization, I have different modeling methodologies. We have an application now where you can really showcase the product and show its functions plays on little animations. 

And to start to create something digital from nothing and then in the end you can, in VR, walk around this new product and, yeah, experience it with animations and stuff, this is really something that makes me really proud, I have to say, and is a lot of fun and I enjoy this a lot as a creative person and designer that wants to create new things. 

And I would say, from all of the recent projects I did, I don't know why for some reason, what I enjoy designing the most are car exteriors, car bodies. I thought a lot about why this is so appealing to me, but I don’t know. I didn't really come to a conclusion, but I just like that the most. And so the last electric car that we designed together with my colleague András Sztojanovics, we made a really nice car. So I'm quite proud of this one. 

And also at some point we did – with my now manager but former colleague Thomas Balle. Together, we worked collaboratively and created an aerospace cabin, first class cabin for an aerospace show initially, but yeah, this cabin was used on many occasions at Dassault Systèmes to showcase our tools. So yeah, this one I also enjoyed a lot. And as well there is a drone that I've created that I also like quite a lot.

Felix: So yeah, if I start to answer this, I would say definitely, in general, the biggest challenge is to make something innovative. You don't want to recreate, usually, as a designer, what is already there. But as you know, I mean, our world is pretty big and there is already a lot of stuff out there. So, sometimes it feels like it's really tough to find something new or create something new.

But yeah, that's the great thing in design: there is always a new shape, always something new that you can do. But that's for sure, a challenge. And also nowadays I think there is a new challenge for us designers, and that's also to produce more sustainable. So it has always been there, this challenge actually, but it definitely became much more important and more in the cultural focus, I would say, to have a sustainable design. And I like that somehow a lot, this challenge, because it can challenge us and restrictions can lead to new and exciting designs. So I'm really looking forward to what comes out of this. And I think the second part of the question was when you collaborate with other designers, right?

So yeah, there I would say: when you have an idea, you really love usually your own idea and it’s sometimes hard to take a step back and say, okay, maybe the idea or the design or the shape of my colleague is even better than mine. And this makes it sometimes tough as a designer to collaborate with others because you want to push your own ideas, your own shapes, but in order to make the best product you sometimes have to sacrifice your own ideas and that can be a tough process. I would say this is the biggest challenge.

Alain: Yes, I fully agree with Felix and I would just try to extend the question a little bit. And bringing me back as a mechanical engineer – some challenges for the designer is to be able to create something, but collaborating with other engineers to be sure that's what he's creating can be produced. So it's the first thing: it’s very interesting to have innovative designs, but if you cannot produce it or if you cannot produce it with a good sustainability approach, it makes no sense today. So clearly the first thing to be able to do in the design is to easily and quickly understand the impact on the planet of what you are designing, basically for the design itself, the production of the new product and the lifecycle of the product. You need to check the impact now on the planet because it's very important.

And yes, as Felix explained, it may lead to new innovations and new ideas. Clearly it's very important. 

You can have something beautiful, but if it's not good for the planet, it makes no sense today. So you really need to look at what we are calling ecodesign and to be able to understand what we are doing and that's the first point for me.

Another point is maybe that, thanks to our platform, today, we are able to create and virtually create the experience of the future product. And it's very important to try to look at this topic because, here again, if we look at the sustainable approach, it may be very important to be able to virtually design something and to, let's say, virtually test it, maybe with the customer at the end to say “Okay, it will do the job”, it will be okay for the production, but it will also be okay for the customer at the end. And as soon as you are sure the customer will use, will like what you're developing, you will produce something which is useful, you will avoid creating something which is not used by the customer at the end. And clearly it's very important to have this thing in mind too, because using these virtual experiences may lead to very new way of innovating together: designer, engineer and customer at the end.

Felix: Yeah, that's something that I also want to point out because we are talking here with me and Alain. And Alain is an engineer. I'm a designer. I think this collaboration between design and engineering will become more important. We just need both those disciplines, and maybe additional ones, in order to produce really sustainable products. This cannot be done by just designers or engineers alone. They need to collaborate more in the future in order to make sure that the product is sustainable. And I think that we have a very good tool with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, exactly, to do that.

Alain: And yes, if I can just add here again, to have a capability to create everything virtually and to test, to see, to put what you are designing on the planet to see what's up and when you put it under the sun, or over the sea or this kind of thing, it's possible with the platform. It's easy  to do it and it's easy to share what you are working on with peers, with others and with the final customers.

Alain: For me, the key point is to have fun when you design, so the tools you use to design have to be fun. If it's boring, you will not finish what you're working on, so you need to have fun when working with a tool. You need to have fun when designing what you want to design. Clearly, it's really important. If I want to have some kind of comparison with automotive for Felix, even if the car is beautiful, if you do not manage to drive it, you will not use it, so you need to have something very funny to use to be able to create some amazing designs and to be able to test them easily in fact.

Felix: Yeah, I agree with Alain, that definitely, the most important thing is that you have fun when you are designing. If you don't love what you do, then you will never be good at it, for sure. And also that the tools have to be easy and encourage your creativity. If you use tools that are not handy, you know, then it will not be fun and as well it will block your creativity, because you need this flow and your tools should not block your flow.

And I would maybe add one more thing, and that's being brave. I feel that as a designer this is a bit similar to being an artist. You know, you put something from your inside, outside to the world and then they sort of judge it. They say “Yeah, I like it, I don't like it. I like your painting, I don't like it, I don't like your song”. So this can be sometimes tough, but as a designer or as an artist, you have to be brave and just not be afraid of putting your ideas, your creativity, your shapes outside to the public.

Felix: Yeah, this goes a bit into the direction of what I mentioned earlier. I do see this trend that we don't want to produce, in the future, products that are just more and more complex and have, I don't know, more fancy shapes but are super difficult and with a lot of energy to produce. So I definitely see this trend of even cars being more sustainable-friendly produced.

And I'm very, very curious about this restriction and I see some interesting products or projects already coming out in this direction, simplifying rather than more complexifying. But I think it needs to be more and I'm really, really curious about what comes there in the future in this direction.

Alain: Yes, on my side, I would say, if you look at sustainability, to be honest today, I do not understand the new way of developing big cars, big SUVs. Even if I know we need some electrical batteries inside. So it may lead to bigger cars than before. On my side – yes, as Felix is explaining, I'm more looking at new innovative trends.

Maybe with a smaller car, with something not as usual as we have today. I am more looking at futuristic looks, futuristic design we can have in some T&M customers.

Felix: So yeah, so definitely for the long term future, it is about sustainability and about the restriction of producing something maybe more simple rather than more complex. But of course on the other hand, when I look at some concept cars or some recent cars that came out from Ferrari or also even Bugatti, that's definitely something that touches me emotionally as a designer. And I love those shapes, somehow it's almost sculptures on wheels, right? And this is something that will always make me enthusiastic. It will always excite me for sure.

Alain: I can understand Felix, but on my side I am more looking at Aston Martin.

Felix: I can also go with that one.

Clara: All right. Thank you so much for joining us today, Felix and Alain, this was a really interesting discussion!

Felix: Yeah. You’re welcome and that was a lot of fun to talk to you, Alain, today. 

Alain: You’re welcome, thanks to you. It was very interesting, yes.

Clara: Thank you for listening to Designing Impactful Innovation. To find out more, go to 3DS.com/cloud. Don't forget to subscribe for more insights and stories from our guest experts!

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