Andersen: TruScene™: A Clear View to the Future
28 Jan 2006|Added Value
Organic growth fueled by innovation is a tough challenge for any company, especially if its industry is characterized by commodity products and aggressive price competition. But Andersen Corporation, an international enterprise that annually manufacturers and distributes more than five million wood windows and doors worldwide, found a way to do just that.
In 2003, Andersen embarked on “Project Odyssey,” a collaborative effort between the company and leading design and research professionals to develop innovative products. The project’s goals were straightforward: to understand how technological and behavioral trends relate to the window’s role as interface for the home, and apply the knowledge gained to the company’s research and development efforts.
Working with an international team of researchers, designers and other experts (including Cheskin), Andersen sought to uncover “the anthropology of the home” – what people want in their homes and what their homes represent to them – as well as which existing and new technologies could be applied to the window as an interface to benefit the home.
For example, one concept grew out of a simple observation:
“Builders don’t put on window screens until the house is sold because they detract from the aesthetics of the home.”
This observation was further dimensionalized through ethnography and trend analysis that revealed people increasingly want to bring the outside into their homes and highly value the quality of the light and the view windows provide.
From this observation, Cheskin and the Odyssey team helped identify the opportunity to make insect screens less offensive (or more attractive). They articulated the key user benefits as:
- Less visible screen
- More light
- More ventilation
- Fewer bugs
- Less need to remove screens
Collectively, this articulation of desired benefits led to the concept of an invisible insect screen.
The team then identified numerous ways to apply technology to accomplish this. Prototypes were simulated and tested with builders, architects, designers, and consumers. With that feedback, along with a focus on the “science of invisibility,” IP issues, supply chain dynamics, mounting systems, category analysis and more, the concept was refined into a compelling value proposition. Throughout the process, there was a strong emphasis on going beyond product design to assure that a viable business model was conceived and planned at the same time.
In Jan. 2005, Andersen introduced TruScene™, the “invisible insect screen.” This is the first significant innovation in the category in many years, and one that promises higher than normal profit margins. Made from a patented, high-strength stainless steel material designed to manage light transmission and reflection for better views of the outdoors, the new insect screen also improves performance by increasing the amount of air and light entering the home while preventing even tiny insects from passing through.