Siemens Healthineers Design Team receives three distinctions in the Red Dot Award 2019: interview with Birgit Kutscher, head of the design team
The Siemens Healthineers Design Team scored three points in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019. For the angiography system “ARTIS icono”, the mobile X-ray machine “MOBILETT Elara Max” and the ultrasound scanner “ACUSON Sequoia”, the designers received the distinction “Red Dot” which honours the good design quality of their products. Whether in diagnostic and therapeutic imaging, laboratory diagnostics, molecular medicine or in the field of digital health services – Siemens Healthineers supports healthcare providers worldwide on their way to expanding precision medicine, the redesign of healthcare, the improvement of the patient experience and the digitisation of the healthcare system. With the aim to develop simple and intuitive objects, which evoke a sense of familiarity, a central design strategy team was founded in 2014. Four years later, all German and a part of the American experience design teams joined this unit. Red Dot talked to Birgit Kutscher, Head of Experience Design of Siemens Healthineers, about the design team and its creations as well as challenges in the development process.
Red Dot: How was the name “Siemens Healthineers” developed and for what does it stand?
Birgit Kutscher: The name was developed in the course of the realignment of the medical technology area of the Siemens AG in order to reflect the new positioning of our company: “Engineering success. Pioneering healthcare. Together.” It embodies our pioneering spirit and our engineering skills in the healthcare sector. While it hints at our more than 120 years of history, it also explains that we are forward-looking: the thought leaders and designers of the health care system of tomorrow.
It is unique and courageous at the same time and gives our employees, who look after and inspire our clients, a name. We are there to make healthcare providers successful and it is our goal to become the trusted partner of our clients. The people of our company, who build upon our strategy and business principles, are the basis for this.
Which three characteristics make up your products?
Our products should reflect our brand identity. This is why we want to be perceived as visionary, intelligent and responsible. Visionary because the future healthcare system needs innovative solutions and because we enable healthcare providers to help humans to live longer and healthier. Intelligent because the linkage of our solutions and data and thereby digitisation as well as artificial intelligence play an increasingly huge role in order to promote healthcare services. At last responsible as we want to contribute to making the world we live in better.
Three of your products received a Red Dot. What do the distinctions mean to you?
Receiving an award is an appreciation of our design achievement and the design quality for the clinical setting, which entails high demands. All the more, it is a recognition of our profound work. Furthermore, the awards show that we are strategically on the right track for our brand. I am proud of the achievement of the whole team and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone.
Which challenges did the design of the angiography system “ARTIS icono” bear?
The challenge lay in structuring the complex system setup and in putting together the multitude of movable parts to a logical and reduced overall impression. Geometry and colouring hereby specifically support the system’s movements so that the viewer can identify and understand them more easily. Of course, we focused on the requirements of the medical context, such as hygiene and high safety regulations as well as an excellent user experience – a challenge, which was mastered for ARTIS icono with a close cooperation between design, user experience and engineering.
The mobile X-ray machine “MOBILETT Elara Max” grants high flexibility. How did you achieve this and to what extent is this an advantage for the user?
This X-ray application is about flexibility for the clinical use as well as about agility of the device for the transport from A to B and in narrow patient rooms. In this case, the requirements were realised with the help of an adjusted system architecture. The unique construction of the arm enables unlimited flexibility when positioning the X-ray tube for the mostly immobile, bedridden patient. And the intelligent parking position of the arm gives the user an unobstructed visibility on the way. The complete integration of the X-ray head to protect this sensible device component represents a special design challenge as it has a huge influence on the system proportion. Through precise form and colour structuring, we met this challenge.
What is convincing about the ultrasound scanner “ACUSON Sequoia”?
ACUSON Sequoia is a modern ultrasound device which enables reliable and precise diagnoses, also for deep immersions. In close collaboration with clients and under the management of the ultrasound design team in the US and South Korea, a system was conceptualised that focuses on the user and addresses his or her needs. An example for this is thespacious, clearly structured operating panel which is adapted ergonomically to the user and the room conditions and enables an intuitive handling. The system is designed compactly and has an intelligent connection of different peripheral devices.
Digitisation also plays an important role in medical technology. Which products can we expect in the future in this regard?
In the healthcare industry, the integration of data and artificial intelligence play an increasingly important role, for example as a basis for personalised healthcare, for the forecast, planning and analyses of therapy results and also for the healthcare provider’s workflow optimisation and standardisation.
Award-winning design in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen
On 8 July, the Siemens Healthineers Design Team and all laureates of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019 were officially honoured during the award ceremony. Subsequently, the prize-winning products were made a part of the exhibitions in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen. While the Siemens designers and all Red Dot and Honourable Mention winners find their products in “Design on Stage 2019”, “Milestones in Contemporary Design 2019” shows the objects which received the distinction “Red Dot: Best of the Best”. The exhibition “Designing Dreams: Ferrari Design Team” presents the achievements of the Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2019 and complements the overview of the state of the art in product design. The three presentations are on show in the museum until 25 August 2019.