How industrial design is changing the tech industry [Kahney’s Korner Podcast]


Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Photo: Oliver Seil/Belkin

For many ugly years, manufacturers considered industrial design an afterthought. They would outsource the task to a contractor or neglect it altogether, in an effort to get products out quickly and cheaply.

The result: hideous-looking products that didn’t work well or proved difficult to use.

Nowadays, companies like Apple are changing the game when it comes to incorporating industrial design and user experience into product engineering.

On this episode of Kahney’s Korner, I talk with Oliver Seil, senior design director with Belkin International’s Innovation and Design Group. Seil is Belkin’s Jony Ive, the top designer who overseas the company’s diverse array of products.

Belkin specializes in mobile accessories, from power packs and iPhone cases to WeMo home automation products

Key Takeaways:

  • What does Belkin International do?
    • Cables and Mobile accessory manufacturer
    • Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA
    • Prides itself on producing quality products that are innovative and sophisticated
  • Why should I pay more for a cable or accessory?
    • The more cables become universal, the more complex they become to make
    • Paying more for cable is perceived as luxury
    • Risk in doing damage to device by choosing cheaper inferior product
  • How to make Industrial Design successful part of product development
    • Bring it in house – Belkin developed internal “Innovation Design Group” 17 years ago.
    • Include as part of process from very beginning
  • What it means to be an industrial designer
    • Understand what the end user wants
    • Build relationship with the consumer through all touchpoints, including the packaging
    • Predict what the consumer might want to do and develop the path for them to intuitively act.

Connect with Oliver Seil:


Learn More About Oliver Seil:

About Kahney’s Korner

Kahney’s Korner is a weekly podcast about the world of Apple. It’s a big Apple world out there, and there are tons of great, fascinating stories to tell.

This week’s sponsor


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Kahney’s Korner #9: How Belkin’s In-House Industrial Design is Changing the Industry, with Oliver Seil, Senior Design Director at Belkin International. Subscribe to Kahney’s Korner on iTunes or Google Play.

If you liked the podcast, please leave a rating on iTunes and thumbs up in apps like Castro, Pocket Casts or Overcast. Many thanks. See you next week.


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