We are excited to be celebrating our 45th anniversary this year, having contributed to some of the most extraordinary design achievements, and witnessing huge leaps in technological progress within the design industry. Since IDC’s launch in 1972 by Mike Woodhall, the company has enjoyed success in a multitude of industries; designing landmark products and becoming the first product design consultancy to open in Shanghai.
IDC’s success dates back to a time when the BBC had only just started broadcasting in colour. The world was on the brink of exciting new technology and for IDC it offered the perfect opportunity to prove itself.
Stephen Knowles, IDC’s MD, believes we are once again approaching a huge technology change and IDC is ready to embrace the future. Reviewing IDC’s success, Stephen says, “Since launching in 1972, we have always strived to stay one step ahead. Our clients not only benefit from our experience, but also from a host of extra design resources. Every development follows a well-established design process, which includes sustainability for a bigger development picture, as well as quality assurance to ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 for medical products. Working hand-in-hand with our model making department, IDC Models, we are able to test ideas at all stages of the development. We also have a thriving design studio in Shanghai at IDC China, which opens up a raft of opportunities for clients, with help sourcing suppliers or on the ground manufacturing support in China. But above all, we have fantastic design talent in the team and believe we have some of the smartest creative thinkers in the business. We’re committed to developing the best solutions."
IDC’s first major development came in 1975. Long before the time that Apple Macs and PCs were able to handle imaging, IDC developed the world’s first computer controlled digital scanner, a high value Crosfield 550. This earned IDC its first industry award and it soon branched out into scientific, consumer and transport projects. Plastics played a great part in many of the products IDC developed in the 80s, with products such as plastic shopping trolleys, and later on, the iconic Thermos flask. The 90s brought wide scale digital technology into design with IDC investing in CAD CNC machines and the pace of development accelerating. Some of IDC’s most exciting developments have come over the last 15 years in the medical industry; developing breakthrough technology for surgical instruments, such as video laryngoscopes, surgical glue devices, personal MS monitoring equipment, and wearable technology for nerve damage patients to name a few.
Reflecting on 45 years in the design business, Stephen Knowles says, “User focused design is still key, but we can now look at an extra social dimension to really understand the unmet needs of users. Constantly evolving software and prototyping technology also means that we can develop products quicker than ever before. 3D printing has revolutionised the prototyping business, and software enables potential problems to be resolved very quickly, to ensure developments run smoothly.
One area that has changed most significantly over 45 years is safety and quality. This is particularly true for the future of medical devices, where regulatory demands are getting tighter as we move into an era of connected medical devices and the IoT for both consumer and healthcare. Over the next 5 years, I see a whole new area of design coming to light, which spans the physical and virtual world, with interactions across multi-platforms and devices. IDC has always viewed change as an opportunity and we are ready to embrace these challenges and be the authors of change.”