ThinkCentre Design Award: Ideas and Details Matter

I just got word from the Industrie Forum Design Hannover that the ThinkCentre M90z we designed has been honored with a 2011 design award. Out of a total of 2,756 entries by 1,121 participants from 43 countries, the jury of the iF product design award selected their 993 favorites. We're very proud that our work was included in their final selection. We posted a short video about creating the design a few months ago. I thought I would share my thoughts here about how I think we created a winner. Design recognition of this magnitude does not happen by chance. Typically, an awarded product is the end result of a long  journey that begins with the customer and ends with a product that solves a problem. Hopefully, it solves the problem in an engaging and meaningful way. That is where design talent comes into the picture. Between the beginning and end of any design project is a lot of hard work that is about having meaningful ideas and a focused drive to get the details right. I'll try to touch on a few of the ideas and details that I think helped make this a design an award winner.

Multiple stand solutions offer the customer choice and flexibility

One of the big ideas that the M90z design brings to life is flexibility of use. Today's all-in-one computers are so thin and light that there are more installation possibilities that either enable superior ergonomics or overall space savings. The days of a big chunky metal box with a bulbous CRT sitting on top of it are over. We designed the M90z to ship with a basic tilting stand which is low cost, but also very stable for our touch screen models. We also offer an optional and efficient height adjustable stand, or an articulated arm option for ultimate desk space savings and ergonomics. For an all-in-one computer, flexibility of use also includes the ability to upgrade or service internal components. The M90z reveals the internals by gently sliding two latches to the side and removing the complete rear cover. Components such as the hard file and memory can then all be removed without tools.

Upgrading the M90z is as easy as opening a briefcase

Privacy control for the integrated camera was another focus area for the design team. We had clear customer feedback that a foolproof hardware privacy shield was highly preferred compared to often frustrating software controls. lets face it everyone knows a camera can't work if the lens is covered.  Lenovo Files published a detailed blog on this topic a few months ago. Even something that sounds this simple, however, requires significant study to make certain the function and status was clear. Here is a small sampling of the detailed concepts we explored for this feature:

We tested the best ideas with users to fnalize the design. Click the image for a bigger view.

Detailed photo of the final solution for camera privacy shown in the blocked mode

In the end, I think my design team made good decisions that delivered an award winning design. My sincere congratulations to them on this achievement! It's also great to see the jurors noticed and recognized the thinking that went into the design.

David Hill