CES 2020 – Attempting to make sense of it all


I’m always eager to see CES pre-show product reviews; every year I’m in awe of the advances in innovation while realising that I need to work increasingly harder, to keep up with the ever-ferocious pace of this industry!

CES gives me a renewed sense of purpose and position within the industry, finding new ways to contribute real value to all of this ‘innovation’.

Having been to CES many times before, I’ve found each year’s innovations to fall into three broad categories (categories I have self-created FYI); true brilliance, either through a eureka moment, or as the result of real, paid-for R&D (i.e. The big technology players etc.), the ‘Me-Too’ emulators (the bulk of commoditised CE products), and the weird and whacky. All have a place in the market, however, only a few deliver both a genuine value to the consumer, as well as building a sustainable business which will mature and return to CES in future years.

I was once told never to stop learning; in every area of life, what I observe and experience are either reinforcing how best to succeed, or how to fail (how not to do things). As I expand this principle to the plethora of innovations that will be presented at CES, I’m reminded that however weird and wacky (or ridiculous) I find a particular product or service offering – they do have a place in moving the industry forward.


I see these guys as the foot soldiers of innovation


Exhibitors at CES pioneer either through awareness, product learning or just general development within the industry. It takes many tiny steps for industries to progress, however, when there are multiple contributors to an industry (voice, AI, autonomous driving, IoT, connected appliances etc.), all exploring the technology from very different perspectives, we see the industry thrive and mature, establishing values such as codes of conduct, protocols, standards and ultimately platform agreements. This collective effort allows others to benefit from the technology without needing a degree from MIT or having worked for NASA. We all have experiences and we benefit from each other’s successes and failures. Every step is valid, however costly.

As part of a design team, I have a valuable contribution to make here. Although not always at the forefront of the ‘technology’ per se (blockchain, IoT, Ai, machine learning, e-health and synthetic foods) – our approach and questioning means that we ‘ humanise’ the use of technology, to deliver value and benefit to people in a vehicle/product which is affordable, workable and loved. Our aim is to help companies to design and develop consumer experiences which are more meaningful to everyday life and ideally that don’t harm the planet too.

In 2020 I’ll be asking more questions, increasing my knowledge and further enhancing consumers’ experiences through innovation.

If you’re looking for answers, we’d be happy to share our insights with you.

Happy 2020 and Beyond!