Reinventing mankind's oldest tools.
Fissler wanted to develop a new and distinct product portfolio of kitchen tools relevant to amateur chefs globally. Based on our competence to translate brand into design, we created a range of kitchen tools that deliver on insights gained from a multi-faceted, custom tailored development process. This is a wrap-up of our approach.
As old as mankind
As we were building our approach, we were quickly humbled by the realization that kitchen tools illustrate humankind's evolution at almost every step of the way: e.g. historic illustrations of French kitchen tools from the 18th century revealed an overwhelming variety of tools and their variants, analogous to the proliferation of French Cuisine during that period. It also became clear that we needed to look for insights and inspiration not only in amateur and professional kitchens, but in areas that depend on the intense usage of hand-held tools as well, such as surgery, gardening or shop tools.
At the same time we devised a series of custom, cross-functional innovation workshops, that would tap the knowledge and experience of Fisslers in-house development, marketing and sales teams.
Cooking with a drywall rasp
Starting out, we interviewed stakeholders from Fissler’s sales and product organizations and from its development teams regarding which improvements they would be expecting. But then, we turned to observation and experimental methods with the actual target group: We made chefs and foodies cook with substitute, non-kitchen tools such as gardening, surgical and home improvement tools. This exercise generated the ideas for the re-design of the kitchen tools portfolio.
An example is the combination of silicone and steel, which allowed for new functionalities. The adjustable silicone spout on the mixing bowl allows for more precise pouring and the flexible silicone edges of the ladle adapt perfectly to wipe the last bit of sauce from the bottom of a pot.
Cheap tools are constantly replaced
Ethnography with professional chefs revealed that many of them constantly buy, use and discard cheap, stamped metal kitchen tools. These one-piece tools without parting lines are considered the most hygienic solution, since they do not trap bacteria. Under the extreme conditions of commercial kitchens the average tool is replaced at a rate of one per week. Not environmentally friendly at all.
Acting on this insight, a key feature in the premium tools we created is the seamless stainless steel handle. Its conical shape elegantly accommodates all hand sizes – from a larger European male hand to a smaller Asian female hand.
The revealing power of observation – two examples from this project:
While a chef was enthusiastic about his beloved four-sided grater, we noticed that he never used more than one of the four sides.
While a professional chef was raving about the descaling tool he was using, our valuable observation was that he used a bucket to elevate his work surface to a more comfortable height.
Another chef had screwed a bottle cap onto a wooden board, creating a tool to rapidly descale fish.
Specifying relevant tools for a global portfolio
Based on our research phase, we developed a portfolio of 40+ globally relevant product propositions and descriptions. We defined the most desirable features and functionalities per product and then benchmarked these against the best existing market players. We also ranked the innovation and market potential for each product in the portfolio. After endorsement by Fissler’s board of management, it formed the briefing for the subsequent design and iteration phase.
Received with enthusiasm
The result was an elegant line of premium kitchen tools both complete and meaningful for any regional market: Fissler’s Q! portfolio of 35 distinctive products focuses on the needs of global users and professional chefs while being inspired by the smooth, singular forms of surgical tools. Experts, retail buyers, and the media have enthusiastically received it. We are particularly proud of winning both the Red Dot and iF Awards 2014 as well as a special mention at the German Design Award 2015.
“The response to the ‘Q!’ line has been extremely positive: not only are these kitchen tools very attractive, they are also highly innovative in how they function. Q! will help strengthen Fissler‘s position as the innovation leader in the premium and luxury cookware business.”
Markus H. Kepka, CEO, FISSLER GmbH