At the official opening of its new Asia Pacific headquarters Friday, Johnson & Johnson announced that Singapore would house the first design lab outside the US.
Bringing together over 1,000 employees of Johnson & Johnson, the new 15,800-square-metre headquarters at Singapore's Science Park will house the pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer businesses.
According to Ernesto Quinteros, chief design officer at Johnson & Johnson, the design lab would partner with six universities, four government agencies, 13 agencies and hospitals nationwide to introduce Asia-focused product innovations.
“Design thinking is at the centre of all our innovation and brand experience efforts," said Quinteros. "By applying its framework, the lab aims to fuel and inspire ideas that not only tackle some of the toughest healthcare challenges but also connect with patients, customers, consumers and employees.”
Lillian Shieh, director of systems and strategy at Johnson & Johnson, will lead the team in the APAC design lab, which is tasked to execute a design-thinking mandate across the consumer, medical device and pharmaceuticals sectors.
"We need to make sure that design understands the cultural nuances that are happening out here," said Quinteros. "We prototype ideas, we take all these insights and pull it together to create new ideas."
While the design work started off focused on consumer packaging, the new structure also considers additional segments while looking into digital, environmental design, operations, and industrial design.
Shieh said that the lab's work concludes that the intersections of physical and digital touchpoints lead to better patient outcomes and stronger brand experiences.
Her work is focused on understanding the everyday lives of people, not just consumers and patients, which often involves spending time with people in their homes. For example, Shieh recently worked on the baby-product franchise in India.
"We visited moms in their homes and we tried to get a sense of how they live," she said. "And in doing that, we understood how family structures are changing and how that influences the way household decisions are made."
Her team discovered the impact of technology on how people access healthcare and how tradition creates tensions with modern life.
"In learning all of that, we were actually able to develop concepts and have greater relevance that we hope moms and families would want to invite Johnsons into their home," she said.