Talk is good – Collaboration is better

The manner in which you interact with your customers and supply chain has a massive impact on your products. Hugh MacLeod once said ‘All products are conversations’, something that we truly believe in here at SOLIDWORKS. As we develop new technologies to help you design better and faster, we have not forgotten that in order to develop great products we have to talk to you, our customers and that we have to develop tools that enable and enhance your conversations with your customers.

At SOLIDWORKS we are taking advantage of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform to help our customers facilitate and capture this important conversation. The new SOLIDWORKS design solutions are built from the ground up with collaboration as a core value, ensuring that from the very beginning all our design tools are a combination of both geometry creation and design collaboration.

An online ‘Social Design Community,’ which is part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, is the ideal host for all ‘product conversations’ you are involved in. As these communities are an online service, the product conversation is not limited to people in the office. Anyone you want to involve, from anywhere in the world, can give valuable feedback through a web browser 24/7. With project stakeholders located outside of your company, the use of mobile devices to maintain the cadence of the product conversations is of vital importance for rapid product development, dramatically reducing the overall design cycle.

As most designers are involved in multiple design projects at the same time they will have to manage multiple ‘product conversations’. They could manage them as individual conversations, as shown below. Here each member can see the most recent updates to their communities but it is a somewhat simplistic view of a complex product development process.


But a more robust view of all current product conversations a member is involved in is shown in the 3DDashboard. The 3DDashboard acts as an overview of all product progress and updates with a mix of design information from discussion threads (blogs), videos, images and 3D design data. Below is a typical 3DDashboard — along the top of the page there are multiple tabs, set up by the user, to keep them informed of not only the progress of the new designs, but of the company performance as a whole.

An important aspect of these product conversations is that they become ‘living documents’. The project community lives with the life of the product; it can track the product development, usage and end of life. The people involved in these discussions will change over time expanding and contracting as necessary. One can imagine that as the product matures, new conversations will start on sourcing and manufacturing, as well as those for product launch and marketing. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform facilitates the product development process for all stakeholders. All team members have access to the most up to date information and can see what decisions were made in the past. All assumptions about the product or market are captured, so as the product develops and new information is gathered, you can easily revisit decisions made on old assumptions and understand the thought process at that time.

So while talking about your designs is an important first step in product design, having a living product conversation with SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE design solutions is a great tool set to help customers foster an innovative collaborative product design culture that can deliver great products to delight your customers.

Read more about the capabilities in SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer in the white paper, “Increase Innovation and Improve Industrial Design with SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design Software.”


Stephen Endersby

Stephen Endersby

Product Manager at SolidWorks
Stephen Endersby

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