Study Model: HF05

Published: July 2019
Design is a problem-solving tool and often, a design solution is only as good as the problem. As such, in our practice, we seek to identify the real problem before diving straight into solving something that may appear to the problem superficially. For example, a business owner feels that a rebranding exercise might help refresh the business and bring in more profits in the long run. However, upon further questioning, one might realise that the branding is not the problem, but that the product or service is the one that requires urgent attention. Rebranding thus becomes a mismatched remedy to the real problem.

Questioning the intention of the brief is one way to identify the real problem(s). A single problem on the surface often reveals more underlying problems – which is one of the cons of probing deeper. However, as designers, it is important to truly understand the extent and severity of the issues at hand. After uncovering the problems, it is then key to prioritise their order of importance, and to develop a solution to solve them systematically.

Our aim is always to solve problems with a Hyperfunctional form or solution. As such, before we begin the design process, we need to first identify the Hyper-problem. This requires us to string problems identified through our investigation and flow it through a sequence of possible events – which will result in a Hyper or connected problem.

HF05 (refer to Fig. A)  was the solution to a connected problem that was identified. The brief was to design an attractive hot-food delivery box that will impress the consumers and thus create a memorable experience. Upon questioning the intention of the brief, one will arrive at the following conclusion – that an unattractive box equates to a forgettable experience. However, through further probing, we realised that a memorable delivery experience doesn’t simply equate to a visually attractive box, but largely on how a consumer can experience their food straight from the packaging.

The following problems were identified –

1) Ventilation – the freshly fried chicken needs to stay crispy
2) Messiness – the fried chicken is heavily sauced, and people will need to clean their hands after
3) Real estate – delivery boxes usually have covers that take up a lot of real estate on tables (refer to Fig. B)

Flowing these problems through a sequence of events, the connected problem would require the following solution – a delivery box that can keep food fresh during transit, hold some serviettes during use, and perhaps, have a box cover that can be concealed when in use.

The result was HF05 – the Hyperfunctional solution. We started by increasing the number of ventilation openings relative to a standard hot-food delivery box. Through deconstructing familiarity of what a usual ventilation opening should look like, we enhanced the functions of the newly added ventilation openings by allowing them to serve as additional ventilation outlets when half open (refer to Fig. C), and to serve as holders to dispense serviettes from when fully open. Next, we readjusted the motion of how the cover of the box folds so that it can also possess the dormant function of a serviette dispenser, whilst at the same time not take up additional table space as it can be held in place through tucking its flaps into existing slots on the box(refer to Fig. D).

It would be naive to think that one can be problem-free in an ever-changing world. Every action of mankind gives rise to new problems. At times, though we solve an existing problem, the solution brings about new problems. To live is to solve problems – one after another, and living well is to have the means to solve them effectively and continuously. Design is that means. 

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