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Interview of Neil Churcher Head of Orange Design and User experience

For several years now, Orange has been clear that it wants to “make design and the user experience” central to its innovation processes. How does this manifest itself on the ground?

Orange is committed to placing the user at the centre of the design of its products and services. Designers at Orange create services by considering how they are ‘experienced’ by customers rather than how they function mechanically. To do this in innovation it is important to relate use with the development process. Design helps innovation by user experience methodologies that are sympathetic to the customer including processes such as customer journeys and user testing.

How does Orange incorporate design into product and service development? Can you give us some examples?

Orange ships many digital products and services every year. Many of the core products are designed by creating experience prototypes that are user tested to optimise the preferred design. Orange Cineday and My Orange are good examples.

I imagine you do a lot of work in the area that this year’s competition addresses: the digital space of the future. What approach do you take to this subject?

There are 2 revolutions happening in digital space right now. The first is the movement of content and function from the device into the cloud. The second is the re-imagining of human behaviour and experience as it leaves the desk and becomes more mobile. These revolutions are important to Orange and my approach is to innovate for this.

How do the students you have met approach the subject?
What are the main challenges they face in their work?

We are looking for creativity. Students can bring fresh ideas and new ways of thinking to innovation that are not hindered by the dependencies of business and marketing needs. We expect them to have things to say about the emerging digital world from their perspective. One challenge for them as students is to be able to translate idealism into tangible and functional value.