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News

Eastman Chemical Company: better by design

Eastman Chemical Company : 31 March, 2004  (Company News)
Eastman Chemical Company has launched the Eastman Innovation Lab, a web site for the Design community and a first step toward realizing Eastman
Eastman Chemical Company has launched the Eastman Innovation Lab, a web site for the Design community and a first step toward realizing Eastman’s vision of becoming an innovative partner for designers and brand owners. This is a move to be where design and materials are going to be in the future – with the intention of arriving there at the right time – says Gaylon White, Eastman’s Manager Design Industry Programs

Eastman Chemical Company is a leading chemical manufacturing company, producing hundreds of chemicals, fibres and plastics that go into thousands of products that consumers come into contact with every day.

The new web site, www.eastmaninnovationlab.com, is a first step toward realizing Eastman’s vision of becoming an innovative partner for designers and brand owners.

The web site is the result of extensive interaction with designers in both the US and the UK. Gaylon White, Manager Design Industry Programs for Eastman, says that over the years “Eastman has channeled most of its technology and innovation through other plastic manufacturers, material converters, product formulators and packaging manufacturers. Little attention was paid to designers.

“Several years ago we noticed a marked shift in the product development process. Previously, a product’s design and form was determined before the material was selected. Now, increasingly, materials are dictating the form. Materials decisions are being made at the start of a project instead of the end. In many cases, designers are driving those choices or, at minimum, establishing the criteria.

“And increasingly, projects involve players who add the greatest value. They revolve around ideas, which are at the center of these value constellations. By teaming with designers, Eastman has an opportunity to be an integral part of these constellations.”

Tomorrow’s innovations today
“We talked to some of today’s most innovative designers such as Tom Dixon and IDEO, one of the world’s leading design consultancies, as well as design professors and students at various universities in the US.

“We also conducted a workshop last month in London with a group of designers to explore what they currently use and what they would like to see from a materials supplier. In particular, we asked: ’What should Eastman be doing to open up this opportunity?’

“Few resources on materials are available to assist designers in the development process. The ones that do exist provide samples and some advice. Unfortunately, the content of these websites is hard to access and even more difficult to understand the technical language.

“We were told by the designers attending our London workshop that to attract and keep their attention, the website needs to be visual…simple…memorable…fresh in content…contain an element of surprise…and reliable by providing material samples and information quickly.

“Toward that end, the Eastman Innovation Lab website is highly visual with material attributes described in simple, non-technical language. The website features relevant applications with network links for additional information. And it can be navigated easily.

“The look and feel of the Eastman Innovation Lab web site is not what you would expect from a materials company. That is by design. We wanted to approach materials from the perspective of a designer.

“We worked with The Brewery, a business design consultancy in London, to help design a website as well as develop the overall concept for the Eastman Innovation Lab.

“The look and feel of the Eastman Innovation Lab web site is not what you would expect from a materials company. That is by design. We wanted to approach materials from the perspective of a designer.

“Working closely with designers, we can do things differently and better. We can improve existing products and open new market categories, and we can reduce project duration, resulting in better and quicker decisions. And we can provide brand owners and designers with “real time” innovative materials solutions.

“Over the next several months, we will add to the content of the website and make improvements based on feedback from designers. We recognize that there’s a lot still to be done.

“We are confident that we can deliver on the credibility and responsiveness designers and brand owners need from a materials supplier.”
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