Friday, March 20, 2020

End User Example

End User Example End User – Term Paper Example Managerial End User Responsibilities in Information Systems Your First Your middle initial, Your of here Managerial End User Responsibilities in Information Systems In order to better understand a manger’s responsibilities in information systems, first let’s briefly define the role of a manger in general. A manager’s role is to help build the company. Building a company in reference to the role of a manager means bringing on staff, presenting an organized structure for the staff and overseeing and directing the organized structure. The staff is very important in the structure and building of a company. The staff looks to the manager for direction in all aspects of the business. The staff is the end user in any new technology or programs implemented in the business. The staff’s understanding of new technology or programs implemented depends heavily on the direction of the manager. The responsibility of a manager exemplified in the final outcome of end user information systems is through implementing a system of successful learning. End User Satisfaction (EUS) is critical to successful information systems implementation (Au, Ngai, Cheng 2008) In several studies there has been a proven decline in performance and quality of work when new information systems are implemented. This is due to end users having to learn a new system yet produce if not more the same amount of work. The time and training for learning a system can become costly. To responsibly put this new system into effect a manager should first consider before purchasing the system what’s the ratio of user control to the controlling of the user. In other words better user control would be more adaptable in the end user learning the system than the system controlling the user. The systems are usually developed by designers who don’t know the specific needs of the user. So user control is very important. Also forming focused training sessions instead of individual â€Å"trying to figure it out with the instructions† would be cost effective. A follow through would incorporate weekly or monthly checks.ReferencesAu, N.; Ngai, E. W. T.; and Cheng, T. C. E.. 2008. "Extending the Understanding of End User Information Systems Satisfaction Formation: An Equitable Needs Fulfillment Model Approach," MIS Quarterly, (32: 1).

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

What Is a 401k Everything You Need to Know

What Is a 401k Everything You Need to Know SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips Do you have the option of setting up a 401k plan? Does your employer offer a 401k matching benefit? Are you confused about what these words even mean? Don't worry! We'll explain everything you need to know about these accounts, but, first, what is a 401k, exactly? A 401k is a retirement savings account sponsored by an employer and designed by the government to give you tax benefits on your savings. Your money quietly grows until the time you can withdraw it in your late 50s. This guide will explain exactly what a 401k does, what you can and can't do with it, how to put money in it, and how it can set you up for a financially secure retirement. For anyone new to the world of 401k plans, let’s start with a quick review of terms. Saving for Retirement Terms: A Glossary Here are some terms you’ll see throughout the guide and a brief working definition of each: 401k: an employer-sponsored retirement account that allows your money to grow over time. Your company has to offer it, and it chooses the rules. Traditional 401k: this is the most common 401k account. You contribute money before it is taxed. Then, you pay taxes on your money when you withdraw after age 59 1/2 (or 55 if you've retired). Roth 401k: this is a newer 401k account where you contribute money that’s already been taxed. You don’t have to pay taxes later when you withdraw. IRA: this stands for Individual Retirement Account. An IRA doesn’t have to be employer-sponsored. You can transfer your 401k money into an IRA in the event you lose your job or your company goes under. Brokerage account: another option for investing your money independently. A brokerage account doesn’t offer the same tax benefits as a 401k or IRA, but your stock options are unlimited. Employer matching: many employers will match all or some of your yearly contributions to your 401k. Free money! While Roth 401k’s are gaining in popularity, most of us will still be offered a traditional 401k through our company. Therefore, we'll start by going more into detail about traditional accounts to answer our million dollar question: what is a 401k plan? Employer matching is the best. With both you and your company contributing to your nest egg, it can grow quite large over time. What Is a 401k? A 401k is an employer-sponsored retirement savings account. Not all employers offer 401ks, but those who do determine how it works. For instance, the employer chooses the various funds that make up your 401k portfolio. Since your employer has to offer it, you can't set up a solo 401k on your own. If you decide to open a 401k account, you’ll typically contribute money to it automatically each month or year. If so inclined, your company may match your contributions anywhere from 25% to 100% (some companies even go beyond 100% for the highest paid employees). Some 401k companies start by matching a small percentage of your contribution and increase this percentage the longer you work for them. There are lots of ways you can save money for retirement, including establishing an IRA or brokerage account or collecting bills in an old coffee jar. What are the advantages of putting money into a 401k as compared to these other methods? What Are the Advantages of a 401k? There are several advantages to a 401k, as well as a few limitations. Let’s start with the benefits. #1: Tax Benefits 401k plans allow your money to grow untaxed. Traditional 401ks let you contribute pre-taxed money. When you eventually withdraw the money, that’s when you’ll pay taxes on it. Roth 401k plans have you contribute already taxed money. When you take it out, you don’t have to pay any taxes on it. IRA and Roth IRA accounts also have tax advantages, but they often set restrictive limits on how much money you can contribute per year. Some only allow you to put in $5,500 a year, while 401k plans, as you'll read below, allow you to put up to $18,000, or even more if you're including an employer match. In a brokerage account that you can set up independently of an employer, your money would be taxed twice. In a 401k (traditional or Roth), your money is only ever taxed once. This tax set-up is a big benefit of 401k accounts. #2: Annual Compound Growth The second advantage of putting your money into a 401k as opposed to say, a coffee jar, is that it allows your money to grow over time. Thanks to the power of compounding interest, you could see your money grow significantly over decades. If you contribute $5,000 per year when you’re 25 and your money grows at a 5% annual rate, for example, then you would have an additional $30,000 more than you would if you started contributing ten years later. You’ll see significantly more money the earlier you start saving. You could bury your savings in your backyard, but the only thing your money would grow is mold. #3: Employer Matching Some, but not all, employers will match a percentage of your annual contributions. Employer match is essentially free money! Unless you really can’t afford it, you should strive to get the full employer match you can per year to make the most of this offer. #4: High Contribution Limits As mentioned above, 401k plans also have higher contribution limits than some independent retirement accounts. Some IRAs only let you put about $5,500 a year, while 401k limits are set at about $18,000, depending on the year. That limit doesn’t include any matching contributions made by your employer, so you could actually put a lot more per year into your 401k. We’ll get into the exact numbers below. All in all, 401ks are appealing because they offer significant tax advantages for your retirement savings, allow your money to grow over time, and they may involve significant contributions from your employer. That being said, there are some 401k limits that you should know about. Below are the three main limitations. What Are the Limitations of a 401k? Since your company offers the 401k plan, it also sets up certain rules and regulations. For instance, your employer chooses the stock options that make up the 401k. While you might have unlimited options with a brokerage account, you may only have a few with your 401k. This can actually be an advantage for some people, who would rather take a more hands-off approach to how their money gets invested. Secondly, some employers put in place a â€Å"forfeit law.† If you get laid off and have less than a certain amount of money in your 401k, then you don’t get that money back. Your company will set this amount and the details of any forfeit law. Make sure to ask whether or not your company has one. Finally, some companies also require you to work with them for a minimum number of years before you’re fully â€Å"vested† and can retain their matching contributions. If you leave or lose your job before that time, you can still keep your own savings, but any employer match contributions will disappear. Now that you know the advantages and limitations of a 401k, what do you have to do to set one up? Do you choose your investments, or does the company decide for you? Continuing with the nest egg metaphor, do you have to build the basket where your savings eggs will grow? What Steps Should You Take to Set Up Your 401k Plan? The first step in establishing your 401k plan is signing up with your employer. Typically, your employer or an HR professional should go over the steps with you when you get hired. If you chose not to sign up when you first started working at the company, you can still speak to your employer about how to sign up now. As you fill out the requisite paperwork, you’ll decide how much money you want to contribute. You can increase or decrease this amount if your circumstances change, but you won’t be able to withdraw money once you’ve deposited it (before retirement age) without a penalty. Once you’ve opened your account, you can take an active investing approach or put the 401k on autopilot. As mentioned above, your employer will choose the stock options, and you can choose how your money gets distributed among them. The majority of people, though, simply go with a â€Å"target-date† fund. With a target-date fund, you set the date you might retire, say, 2050, and the 401k does the rest. You won’t have to design your portfolio; instead, the account itself will adjust how your assets are allocated over time. If you do decide to take a more active approach, a good rule of thumb to follow is to have a diversified portfolio that can ride out the ups and downs in the market. With a diversified portfolio, you can help make sure that your savings will grow over time. While the amount of money you can afford to contribute to your 401k varies by individual, there are certain limits in place. Read on for the 401k contribution limits in 2016. How Much Money Can You Contribute to Your 401k? There are 401 k limits that determine how much money you can contribute to your account per year. These 401k contribution limits fluctuate a bit over time along with inflation. As of 2016, people under 50 could put in up to $18,000 per year. People over 50 could put in $24,000. The additional $6,000 is considered a â€Å"catch up† contribution for those who didn’t max out their limits in earlier years. Any company matching doesn’t count toward this 401k limit. The maximum combined contribution (yours plus your company match) can go up to $53,000. A good rule of thumb is to invest about 10% of your annual income, if possible. If you have employer matching, then you should also strive to get the biggest match contributions you can. Besides 401k limits, there are also rules about when you can take money out of your 401k. Read on to learn when you can make a 401k withdrawal. If you withdraw your money early to buy a four-day Bonnaroo ticket, you’ll pay a steep penalty. Better to let it sit until you retire. When Can You Get Your Money Out of a 401k? You can take money out of your traditional 401k starting when you’re 59 1/2 (regardless of whether you've retired or not) OR if you retire at age 55 or higher. If you try 401k withdrawal before that time, then you’ll incur a hefty 10% penalty fee. So far, everything discussed applies mainly to traditional 401k accounts. They let you contribute pre-taxed money and have penalties for withdrawing money before you reach a certain age. There is one other kind of 401k with different rules and regulations called a Roth 401k. Read on to learn more about a Roth 401k and how it differs from the traditional 401k accounts that most employers offer. The main difference between a traditional 401k and a Roth 401k has to do with when you pay the tax man. What Is a Roth 401k? In addition to a traditional 401k, some companies also offer a Roth 401k. A Roth 401k has a few differences from a traditional 401k. The most important difference is that a Roth 401k has you contribute money after it’s been taxed. When you withdraw money from the account later, you won’t have to pay taxes on it. The second difference has to do with 401k withdrawal rules. A Roth 401k plan lets you take out your money at any time without penalty after you’ve held the account for five years. You won’t have to pay a 10% penalty as you would on a traditional plan for Roth 401k withdrawal before a certain age or retirement. If your employer offers both traditional and Roth 401k options, which one should you choose? Traditional 401k vs. Roth 401k: Which One’s Better? If your employer offers both a traditional 401 k and a Roth 401k, then you have to decide which one to choose or, alternatively, whether to set up both types. Essentially, you want to figure out which type of 401k will help you save the largest amount of money in the long run. There are also some psychological factors that come into play. #1: Do You Want to Be Taxed Now or Later? As you read above, a traditional 401k taxes your money later while a Roth 401k taxes your money now. If you’re young, not making a lot of money, and not currently getting taxed highly, then a Roth 401k might be the preferable option. While you won’t be putting as much money into the account initially, you will be able to leave your money for many years to grow. If you’re older, make a high paycheck, and are in a high tax bracket, then you might want to go with a traditional 401k. That way, your money will be taxed when you retire and are in presumably a lower tax bracket than you are presently. Both traditional and 401k plans have great tax benefits. You should just need to decide which would benefit you more. #2: How Is Your Financial Self-Control? Beside figuring out the tax situation, there’s a self-control factor to think about. If you need all the money in your traditional 401k, then you’ll want to set aside other savings to pay the eventual large tax bill. Will you be able to set aside money to pay taxes later, or at least plan around the large chunk of your savings that will get taken away by taxes when you retire? On the flip side, if you open up a Roth 401k, will you have the self-control not to withdraw any of your savings after the five-year mark when you can withdraw penalty-free? Besides weighing the tax benefits, you should ask yourself these questions to figure out which option is better. Finally, you might not decide not to choose between them at all and instead opt for both types of accounts. Should You Choose Both a Traditional and Roth 401k? Some financial advisors suggest going with both a traditional 401k and a Roth 401k if you have the option. You don’t actually have to choose one or the other, but instead, can split your savings between the two. Going with both is similar to diversifying your stock portfolio to reduce risk. We can’t know what tax laws will come into play in the future, so choosing both a traditional and Roth 401k is a way to hedge your bets. Now that you know the ins and outs of both traditional 401ks and Roth 401ks, let’s go over the essential points that you need to remember about saving for retirement. What Is a 401k? Just the Essentials These are the key points you need to remember about a 401 k plan: A 401k is a retirement savings account that some employers offer. You can contribute a certain amount per year, and your employee might match your contributions (free money!) In a traditional 401k, your money is taxed when you withdraw, not now. In a Roth 401k, your money is taxed now, not when you withdraw. 401k tax policies are superior to those of brokerage accounts, where your money is taxed twice. Your money will grow over time thanks to the power of compounding interest. Start early to have the most amount of money saved for retirement! Now that you have a better understanding of what HR is talking about during new employee orientation, how should you proceed? Should you join in on the 401k fun? With a 401k, you can predict the future, at least the financial part. Should You Contribute to a 401k? Magic 8 ball says, â€Å"Most likely!† Unless you can’t cover your living needs, there’s no reason not to set aside some money for Future You. She’ll really appreciate it. Of course, your employer has to offer a 401k plan. If your company doesn't offer 401k benefits, then you can't set up a solo 401k. You could instead save money for retirement in an IRA, Roth IRA, or brokerage account. If you do have the option of a 401k, a good rule of thumb is to invest as much money as you can, perhaps about 10% of your income. If possible, try to max out any employer matching benefits so you get the most money you can from your employer toward your retirement savings. Start early to maximize the power of compounding growth. 401k accounts offer a simple, hands-off approach to saving for retirement. With just a little paperwork and rearranging of your daily expenses, you can save for retirement and reap huge financial benefits in your golden years.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sun Microsystems Case Study Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 words

Sun Microsystems - Case Study Example Sun Microsystems have good financial capabilities and ideas how to improve its position and increase productivity. Sun Microsystems forecasts developments, predicts logical consequences, translates them into potential opportunities, and plans to capitalize on profitable alternatives. In the company, the assessment of market opportunity is closely linked to the innovative process. Market opportunity encourages innovation and stimulates and extends markets. In fact, the assessment of market opportunity may be considered one of the early phases of the total innovative process. Yet innovation is not equated with market opportunity. Innovation requires the supportive system of marketing resources to cultivate opportunity. Both the stimulation of a continuing flow of ideas and products that can better satisfy wants and needs, and the supply of a marketing system to support them, are requisites of opportunity realization (Annual Report 2007). International expansion and acquisition strategy allow Sun Microsystems to develop unique approach to marketing and boost sales. Jabbar developed a strategy that focused on five countries that were each potential billion-dollar-a-year markets for Sun's server business. They were Brazil, Spain, China, India and Italy. Shareholders were optimistic about Sun's potential for growth" (Jacobs and Ensign 2008, C 237). Thus, for Sun a philosophy that competition is essential for innovation. For management expects new developments to destroy existing product positions. Assuredly, firms want to secure future opportunities and "capture" markets. New products are developed for this purpose. Innovations result in two groups of forces, competitive and monopolistic. The monopolistic forces, or the delayed action of competition, offer the innovator incentives to innovate. The competitive features diffuse the benefits of past innovations into the public domain. This puts the innovator under pressure to make further innovations if he is to maintain his competitive advantage and the better-than-minimum profits that go with it. Innovation is, then, one of the competitive tools of the business firm. It is a major means of creating a differential advantage, albeit sometimes short-lived. In adjusting to change, and in attempting to meet the demands of the marketplace, it must be managed, and programmed innovation is becoming one of the foundations of business strategy (Hollensen 2007). This places additional pressure on management to understand more fully the process of managing change and programming innovation through manipulation of knowledge. Innovation approaches manageability when participation in the process becomes part of the continuing responsibility of all levels of management. Sun develops the appropriate environment and set of attitudes to encourage innovation. Only then can a firm hope to deploy its resources most profitably in order to meet the challenge of change. In novating firms face a range of possible marketing policies (Annual Report 2007). 2. The chief elements of Sun's strategy are acquisition strategy and investments, expended portfolio, reduced costs through unit volumes and consulting services. For Sun, innovation is a core of differentiation. This combination of strategic policies allows Sun to "improve operating income by nearly $1.2 billion" during the first half of 2007 (Sun

Sunday, February 2, 2020

What are the similarities and differences between Single Loop and Essay

What are the similarities and differences between Single Loop and Double Loop Learning - Essay Example Given that single-loop learning is more applicable for immediate learning, this model is often applied in our routine and repetitive day-to-day learning (Agryris, 1999, p. 69). Double-loop learning can take place given that errors or mistakes are being corrected by modifying the organizational norms (Choo, 2002, p. 14). Unlike the double-loop learning, single-loop learning can occur in case the immediate action performed to modify or correct errors is sufficient enough to correct mistakes without having the need to challenge the validity of an existing organizational norm. In line with this, Choo (2002, p. 14) explained that the main goal of single-loop learning is to â€Å"increase organizational effectiveness without the need to change the existing norms†. Single-loop learning is similar to incremental learning in the sense that the learning of new skills happen through incremental improvement. For example: Knowing that the marketing manager does not appreciate negative outl ook with regards to achieving the sales target, the sales people should learn how to deal effectively with the sales manager by simply questioning how the sales team will be able to meet the sales quota rather than saying that the sales target is unrealistic and demanding of their time and effort. By learning how to immediately deal with the sales manager, the sales people could avoid encountering work-related problems without the need to change the existing organizational norms. Double-Loop Learning Double-loop learning is more complicated as compared to the single-loop learning. Unlike the single-loop learning, several authors explained that double-loop learning is more complicated in the sense that the use of this... Lots of theories were developed to give us a better understanding on how learning can take place and how it can be improved in the long-run.Specifically the loop learning models are among the few learning theories that could enable use have a better understanding on how learning could happ Learning can take place wherever we are. It is possible to learn from our own mistakes or mistakes of other people. Considering the usefulness of loop learning models, this report will focus on discussing the similarities and differences between single-loop and double-loop learning. Similarities and Differences between Single-Loop and Double-Loop Learning Applicable to any types of organizational learning, single-loop and double-loop learning are models that could make us have better understanding on how formal or informal learning could take place (Agryris, 1999, p. 69). According to Kelly (2008, p. 57), single-loop learning can be utilize to increase our stock knowledge and make final decision ba sed on what we already know whereas the double-loop learning is applicable in cases wherein what we have learned in the past could give us the opportunity to create further questions based on assumptions or what we understand about something.Single-loop and double-loop learning are learning models that are applicable in any business organization. As compared to the use of single-loop learning, the use of double-loop learning is more effective in solving complicated organizational problems which requires the need to change organizational goals, values, frameworks and strategies.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Analysis of Product Packaging Design

Analysis of Product Packaging Design ABSTRACT 1 Introduction Product design and specifically product shape and looks have long been identified as factors that may contribute to product value and new product success. Design of products evokes both cognitive and affective responses in the mind of the observers and this can be used to tailor a more attractive product proposition. While a lot of excellent research has been conducted on the positive effect that industrial design can have on the perceptions of customers about the product functionality, embedding issues like utility, safety and comfort, the importance of the perceived value by a customer on judgements about product elegance and social significance have not been extensively studied until recently. reference In this thesis I am trying to test whether Yes please soup pot design not only communicates to the potential customer a series of qualitative attributes about its content, i.e. quality and healthiness, but also triggers positive emotional responses on the perceived beauty and difference with similar products and that can be leveraged by the company to command a price premium 2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCT DESIGN New product development processes are the subset of standardized procedures that companies use to manage the new product project phases that lead to the launch of new products in the market. The objective of these procedures is to implement a systematized approach to ensure the potential of new projects based on their financial and development feasibility while maximizing the value of new products as perceived by its target customers. 2.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  What is industrial design Industrial design is the set of activities within new product development processes that deal with optimizing the functionality and appearance of a product to maximize its value for both consumer and manufacturer (1). The ultimate objective of a product design is thus to align the set of attributes embedded within the product with the target customer preferences and to implement them in a way that they are actually perceived and valued by them. In order to achieve a successful design and implementation, companies engage in direct market research to elicit the target customer segment implicit and explicit needs (the voice of the customer) and align those with product attributes, using techniques such as Quality Function Deployment (QFD) which systematically links the needs the product must satisfy with technical specifications while also prioritizing them based on the level of importance to customers. At the same time, the identification of the customer segment preferences and the mapping of those within a perceptual map, comparing how well different products in the market fulfill the identified needs, allow for the design of specific product propositions that no other product does and thus achieving a unique positioning and successful product differentiation. The dimension of product design has been recognized by several authors (Cooper, Trueman) as being critical to the ultimate success of the launch of new products. The focus of design development is centered around the efficient implementation of the product features, ergonomics and quality form to maximize its utility to users, while at the same time embedding it with a pleasant appearance that is able to communicate positive attributes that contribute to the ultimate value proposition. (3) (4) Trueman: Design has the facility to improve product reliability and quality standards thereby raising the perceived value of goods and services in the eyes of the customer, allowing companies to increase profit margins As Trueman estates (6), A value proposition must successfully integrate a product within its own environment by combining and merging coherently the different attributes, aesthetics, price and quality so that they are aligned similarly and reinforce each other. Although mistaken by artists that only worry about the visual appearece of a product, or styling, successful industrial designers are able dig into such fields as engineering, Materials science, manufacturing, and marketing to embed new products with a set of attributes directly influencing new product success in the market.(2) (3) (4) (5) (6). Ultimately, the design of an object is the specific configuration of elements, materials and components that give its particular attributes of function, shape etc. and determine how it is to be made and used. (13) By embedding the design dimension into the processes, companies ensure that the final value proposition is increased as it contributes to the perceived value by the customer. A successful design increase the perceived quality of a product, ensures that is aligned with market and regulatory standards and thus increase the odds to satisfy customer expectations. A consistent Design strategy in new product development processes also contributes to build a product and company image and helps to pull together the dimensions of company identity with branding and promotion (Trueman). Also, by taking the design dimensions early on the NPD projects, companies can reduce the final time to market and product costs by simplifying the manufacturing processes and reduce the final costs of fabrication. 2.2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The contribution of Industrial design in the final product value proposition There are many design attributes that can be embedded into new products, roughly separated within ergonomics and aesthetics, being the former more related to the experience of using the product, while the latter is focused into the experience of seeing the product. Aestethics, embedding all product parameters that determine the way the product look, are a an essential element of the purchasing process since customers base their preference on products by the subjective perceptions elicited by the product on the potential benefits it can provide.(7) In that line, the Lens model first introduced by Brunswick (?), states that the potential customer makes a mental bundle of the information it receives about the product and from there triggers a set of perceptions that will ultimately lead to a set of preferences and choices. The ways a specific design can lead to a positive perception and thus to a choice of preference vary and are entangled with other sources of information the customer receives and which align the propostion to the customer already decided preferences. The perceptions that a product can evoke are immediately related to past information received and allow the person for example to relate it to a certain corporate and brand identity, a process that many companies have followed by implementing a sustained design strategy on their products. Brand identity allows to ultimately link the products observed to perceptions on company values and overall level of attributes of the products and has been used as means of effective product differentiation. (9) (10). In different industries, companies tend to emphasize different attributes in their communication to be aligned with their specific company positioning and customers most importance preferences, like tastiness and safety in the food industry and reliability and environment friendliness in the car industry. The physical form of a product has been researched to have an important impact in the way customers judge it and has ultimately a strong correlation effect with the final product success in the market (). As Bloch (10) states the physical form or design of a product is an unquestioned determinant of its marketplace success. A good design attracts consumers to a product, communicates to them, and adds value to the product by increasing the quality of the usage experiences associated with it. 2.3  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Which financial benefits can it provide Companies with an effective industrial design strategy achieve better perfoming products in the market in terms of several financial indicators as return on assets, return on sales and higher profitability, which can be linked to both the design differentiation factor as stated previously by Porter in the famous book Competitve strategy (1980) and to reduced costs due to more efficient use of materials and manufacturing processes. (14) Also, the study of Roy (13) in 1993 on 221 small and medium sized UK manufacturers which received a government subsidy to promote the active use of industrial design in the development of new or improved products showed that 60% of all projects and 90% of the implemented ones were commercially successful and profitable with payback periods averaging under 15months, which show that the effective strategic approach to include design in new product development processes can be implemented in firms of different sizes. Bloch in his research also collected previous studies that linked new product financial success factors with the inclusion of design as an inherent part of their NPD processes. He identified in a survey of senior marketing managers that, design was mentioned as the most important determinant of new product performatice by 60% of respondents by only 17% considered Price most important . Also and based on the work of cooper on the analysis of the performance of 203 new products identified that product design was the most important determinant of sales success . Most interestingly for the case of Yes Please foods product, which as will be explained later chose specifically a designer for the pot based on his previous award winning record, Some research has identified that the receipt of design awards is positively associated with profit margins above average and sales growth (Goodrich 1994; Roy 1994). 3.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The purchasing process and the visual effect of a product design 3.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  XXXXXXXXXXXXX The ultimate act of purchasing occurs as a result of a complex mental process where the information received is analyzed and weighted as per to measure to which extend the product satisfies the needs of the customer. A general categorization of customer needs has been frequently compared with the Maslow hierarchy of needs which states that once most basic requirements have been satisfied by a product, the emphasis on a customer shifts to satisfy other more intangible needs related to symbolic and aesthetic attributes. As a result of this the purchasing process is triggered by the fulfillment of the requirements for the intended use of the product but also by the satisfaction of more intangible needs like status, elegance or social significance. In order to understand the ultimate behavioral response of a customer triggered by the visual appearance of a product it is critical to assess the cognitive and emotional processes that result from the act of observing the item under evaluation. The cognitive processes take place when a customer uses his visual senses to observe the product and perceives certain information which mentally organizes to make some judgments about its attributes and which are influenced by previous visual references or similar product stereotypes, which suggest familiar usages of the product and ultimately help the observer to interpret the signals received. It has been described a number of different approaches on how to categorize the judgments that a customer does based on the perception of a product observation. Crilly (?) has summarized all previous approaches and identifies a total of three main categories of cognitive responses to product appearance: Aesthetic, Semantic and Symbolic. From those three, the semantic interpretation, the mental inferences that an observer does to judge whether a product is capable of performing the tasks for what is intended for, is the only processes where the tangible attributes of the product are assessed. During this process the practical qualities of a product like function, performance and efficiency are analyzed and mentally compared with other references to judge the utility a product will offer to the observer. In this category I include the information that is gathered by the customer when obtaining information from reading the label and which is directly processed to identify the physical attributes of the product. The emotional responses following this cognitive process are then aligned to assess the instrumental utility of the product which ultimately lead to satisfaction, when fulfilling the expected requirements, and dissatisfaction when the product is not fulfilling them. The two other described cognitive processes are used to identify intangible attributes of the product that may or may not be perceived as valuable for the customer depending on a number of different factors, like current positioning within the Maslow hierarchy of needs, consumers cultural context and personal characteristics. The symbolic association is the cognitive response that attaches to the product some socially determined symbolic meaning. During this process, as series of values are realized to be attached to the product and assumes that others must also associate them with it. As Crilly states This culturally agreed meaning will allow the customer project a desirable image to others, express social status or communicate its personal characteristics through it. Examples of intangible values that can be associated to the product through symbolic meaning are exclusivity as the identification with certain economic status and environmentally consciousness. Finally the aesthetic impression comprises all cognitive responses that are directed towards a perceived judgment of elegance and beautifulness. Even if still there is no unanimous consensus on what comprises beautiful objects, the perception of aesthetic attraction triggers positive emotional thoughts on the customer and contribute to attaching value to the product observed. 3.2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The Aesthetics Dimension As researched by several authors (?) the definition of what makes an item beautiful or aesthetically pleasant is not conclusive. It has been described though that cultural and social forces have an influence in the preferences for specific forms. Specifically, it has been described that a specific culture values and preferences may influence the acceptance of a particular style. Also seems to be proven that cultural norms may overwhelm an individual inner preferences and help shape its perceptions towards the acceptance of a specific design form. (blaich, Bloch) Thus, and although cross cultural differences stay in the way of having an unified view of what can be considered as aesthetically pleasant, the current era of advanced information technology is working towards unifying the concepts that influence the perceptions of the soft values within a product design and thus working towards a more globalized and uniform set of criteria. The cognitive processes described triggered upon the observation of a product lead to a series of emotional responses that will ultimately lead to the final decision on the purchasing process, being the most important the attraction or disgust towards the aesthetics, the satisfaction or dissatisfaction towards the fulfillment by the product of instrumental requirements for its use, the surprise or indifference based on the perceived product novelty and the admiration or indignation towards social significance. 4.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  DESIGN IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY In the food industry, Tauber (8), collected through extensive market studies an exhaustive set of problems related to food products. By doing so, he was trying to identify potential opportunities for new products while also providing with a thorough analysis of the basic needs to be fulfilled by this kind of products. From that list it can be identified a series of attributes that the product under study is fulfilling and thus achieving a specific positioning. Some of them, like low calorie content, convenience of transport and preparation and adequacy of the serving size are efficiently communicated through the information contained in the label. Others like healthy, tasty, and high quality can only be perceived by the customer through the design of the pot and label and by some previous information it might have received. Moreover, as Berkowitz researched, the shapes and images that have a more natural looking are associated with products that are fresher, taste better and have a better texture, and are ultimately more preferred by customers. At the same time, he found that aesthetic appealingness of the product, defined by bloch (10) as the ability to evoke positive beliefs, positive emotions and sympathetic with consumers aesthetic tastes, and by Crilly (11) as the sensation that results from the perception of attractiveness (or unattractiveness) in products was not of any specific interest to food products customers. 5.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The Yes Please! Foods Company, products and market The trigger for the writing of this thesis has been evaluation of the influence that the design of the Yes Please! Foods soup product packaging may be having in its market performance. Yes Please Foods is Germany based company that entered the chilled organic convenience food German market in 2007. Although belonging to the generally mature food industry, both the organic and convenience sub segments have been growing at an average rate of 12% in the period 2003-2008 in Germany (15). Yes please foods can be considered to be positioned in the Premium priced range of offers within the segment as its Price its on average 33% more expensive than that of the competitors. The company started its operations in the Berlin area and has been enjoying a high growth rate in volumes sold ever since (the actual numbers can not be disclosed in this paper as they are covered by a confidential disclosure agreement). The company is currently planning to expand its operations throughout Germany and is about to close its first round of external financing. Based on the information provided by the company, it is know that the customer profile of this kind of products is that of mid to high educated people, working full time, with above average income and health conscious. It is inferred from the information provided by the company that the product is intended to fulfill the need of high quality healthy food that can be prepared and ready to serve within a short period time frame. The motto of the company portrays this positioning of healthy convenient to prepare food for customers that do not want to spend time in the kitchen as good food for busy people The design of the pot, as explained by the company owner and general manager, Gemma Michalski, was the central part of their strategy to build a company identity and resulted in one of the biggest expenditures incurred during the initial company launching. The design was commissioned to Willimas Myurray Hamm from London which used the artwork of Berlin based illustrator Martin Haake. As explained by Ms Michalski, they were specifically chosen to perform the design task because of their previous record of award winning product designs that resulted in highly successful products in the market. (16) 6.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Use of conjoint analysis to elicit the importance of attributes in the eyes of the costumers The first part of the field study I am going to conduct has been designed to measure a the potential correlation between price and design in the final willingness to pay expressed by respondents. Also I shall use the results to mesure the relative importance of each, for the whole of respondents and for potential segments I shall identify within the sample of respondents. The technique used, an empirical marketing research using conjoint analysis, was first introduced as an effective marketing tool during 1970s and has been validated as an effective means to identify the most relevant features of product, its key design attributes, and the degree of importance that customers attach to them. (17) The usefulness of the tool is extended by the ability to sort the answers from respondents to some specific criteria which allow eliciting the kind of different features preferred by different segments of consumers within the same market. At the heart of the technique, consumers are asked to rate as per their own preferences a number of different product prototypes that are embedding different features and levels of features. By doing so, the customer is making choices and trade-offs from those multi attribute alternatives based on the overall perceived utility or value of the product under evaluation. The statistical treatment of the data, using a multiple regression model, allows quantifying how much each of the single attributes is affecting the overall value of the entangled set of properties, as it is assumed that consumers have an implicit utility value for every single one of them. The first part of the technique is normally a consumer attitude survey were the general attitudes of the consumer towards the product are collected. One of the main outcomes of this part of the research is to determine which features of the product are relevant for the consumers. The aim of this first part is typically to find out why the products are purchased, which use they make of them and their attitudes toward them. Once the information is collected allows the design teams to elicit which features of the product seem to be more relevant for the customers and allows to potentially determine needs that still unresolved or problems existing with current products in the market. In this thesis I have overcome this phase since this part of the research is aimed at determining which physical features of the product are relevant, whether the focus of this thesis is aimed to the soft values attached to physical appearance. Thus, by assuming that the current most important features of the product for the target customer segment are actually satisfied by all products in the study, I have been able to focus any significance preference in the actual aesthetic value of the product and its potential relationship with the price they would be willing to pay. In order to communicate to respondents that all products evaluated had exactly the same features and were only differing in design and price, the following statement was introducing the questionnaire: The products you are going to see are all soup products. They contain just natural organic ingredients without any conservatives and must be kept in the fridge. The portions are all 500ml Generally, The second part of the conjoint process uses the information gathered to determine the whole set of attributes that define all of the existing products in a market and introduces new ones to test their acceptance by consumers. Also, different levels for each attribute are defined to obtain a meaningful representation of the different ranges within each attribute that are or could be available in the market. In order for the research to be significant, prototypes having different combinations of levels of all attributes have to be created to be ranked in preference by consumers. Typically, and due to the large number of possible permutations of attributes that can be created, a smaller sample is chosen to facilitate the consumer research study. It has been shown that eliminating combinations through an experimental design called orthogonal arrays or through judgment (those that are not possible physically i.e. by cost or conceptually i.e. by design), has no significant effect on the final outcome of the study (18) Since the research to be conducted for this thesis is aimed at identifying any preferred designs for a soup product and potentially monetary value attached to specific product appearances, I have chosen to study two sets of attributes, design comprised by the three levels, picture of natural ingredient, artistic draw and no draw and the attribute price, also with three different levels: â‚ ¬ 1,99, â‚ ¬ 2,49 and â‚ ¬ 2,99. Due to the small number of total possible combinations (32), the empirical survey shall ask respondents to evaluate all possible combinations. The rationale for choosing these type of designs has been based on previous literature on shape and images in food products (Berkowitz) and the need for the actual inclusion of the design of the Yes Please Food product to test its hypothesized perceived value on the design. The third design included no draw has been arbitrarily selected hypothesizing it to be a representative sample of an unaesthetic design. The three price level selected have been chosen on the basis of actual prices of products in the market for the picture of natural ingredient (â‚ ¬2,49) and artistic draw (â‚ ¬2,99) designs, while the third level price has been arbitrarily selected to represent a low price level within that attribute. The third part of the procedure gathers a meaningful sample of the product consumers and asks them to rank the different prototypes (combinations of the different levels of the selected attributes) based on their preferences. The aim of this part is to gather the structure of consumers preferences for different product features. In this part is important to define the question to be asked properly so it collects the opinion on consumers about the perceived value they attach to each specific product proposition. In my research I have chosen the sentence from 1-7 how likely would you be to buy this product at the stated price. One of the benefits of conjoint analysis is that it is able to achieve statistical significance on the results with a relative small sample of respondents. The aim of this research will be to achieve at least 33 respondents in order to be able to make some inferences about the direction of the proportional influence that design has in the final monetary value of the proposed prototype, being that either positive or negative. One of the limitations of my study shall be that the random sample of respondents to the questionnaire shall only be validated as actual consumers of soup products by one of the questions in the demographic profile, do you like soup? that is embedding three possible answers: no, sometimes is ok and love it. It shall be assumed that a positive answer to this question (all possible answers but no) allow to make inferences about their potentiality to be consumers of the product. That limitation is affecting jus this part of the study were the research is trying to elucidate whether design has a relationship with willingness to pay. For the second part where it will be researched the consumers perceptions about intangible attributes of the design, it will be assumed that cultural context and general profile of the respondents is similar to that of the consumers of fresh soups as explained before in the Yes Please Foods product and market chapter of this thesis. A segmentation of the respondents by any kind of useful criteria like demographics, type of usage, attitude towards the products etc will also allow to identify the preferred attributes for each type of customer segment. The final part is the statistical treatment of the results that tries to identify which attributes are preferred by consumers and which are considered to be of more relative importance to them, and thus to the final value of the product proposition. 7.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Experiment 7.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Objectives The objectives of the experiments executed were designed to validate and refute previous research about the influence that design have in the purchase decision making process and to elicit specific findings about the design of the soup product of the sponsor company Yes Please! Foods. In the first experiment, the objective is to validate whether a series of qualitative attributes about the product can be inferred from the customer just by looking at the design, specifically the respondents are required to rate each of the three designs as per their perception on how they consider them to be healthy, fresh, of high quality, different and beautiful. One of the objectives of this part of the experiment is to validate the hypothesis that the design of the pot of the Yes Please! Foods soup product has is somehow original that can be clearly differentiated from that of the competitors and that is considered to be an aesthetically pleasant design. Another objective of this part of the research is to validate previous research like that of Berkowitz (9), Bloch (10) and Trueman (6) which asserted that in mature markets, product form is one way to gain consumer notice and achieve a clear product differentiation. By assessing the responses about the attributes quality, freshness and Healthiness, it is pursued to validate the research of Bloch (10) and Nusssbaum (?), which stated that exterior appearance of a product is an important channel to communicate information to consumers, that Product form allows to generate inferences regarding other product attributes. Also this experiment will help to validate the research from Berlkowtiz () which found that natural shapes displayed in the packaging of food products help consumers to make assumptions about the product as being more fresh healthy and of higher quality. Finally I intend to validate the research of Trueman (6) which found that products that are considered to have a good design (which I shall relate to the weight of the responses on the attribute beautiful) are considered to be of superior quality, by checking whether products to be considered beautiful on my research are also considered to be of high quality. The inferences that I will try to make with the results of the second part of the research, a conjoint analysis of 9 different prototypes which result from the combination of three different design styles and three different sets of prices, will be dependent upon the results of the first part. If during the first experiment I am able to proof that some of the three designs are considered to be significantly more beautiful than the others, I shall be able to validate with the results of the second experiment are aligned with the results found by Bloch. Kotler and Nussbaum when they found that given two identical products in terms of features and price, the one with the most beautiful design is preferred by respodents. At the same time I shall try to validate whether a product considered to be more beautiful can command a higher willingness to pay, which is stated in the survey designed as the likeliness to buy the shown product. If that is proven to be the case, I will try to identify the reasons why those customers would be willing to spend more in such product by relating it to their perceptions on the other attributes of the same product, either being the subset of attributes regarding product utility, (higher quality, more natural or more healthy) , the subset of aesthetic attributes (more beautiful, more different) or both. Finally I shall use the results of the second experiment to validate the research of Berkowitz which found that products with natural shapes tend to be considered more natural, and healthy. I shall do this by specifically analyzing the results of one of the chosen designs which portrays a picture of a natural tomato on the label. Also I shall try to refute the findings of the same author which found in previous research that attractive designs where not of any specific interest to consumers in terms of aesthetic appeal. 7.2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Methodology 7.2.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Sample The survey will be send to all recipients of the address domain [emailprotected], for which I expect a random sample of respondents within the employees of ESMT and all recipients of address [emailprotected], for which I expect a random sample of ESMT MBA 2009 students I believe this sample shall be repre Analysis of Product Packaging Design Analysis of Product Packaging Design ABSTRACT 1 Introduction Product design and specifically product shape and looks have long been identified as factors that may contribute to product value and new product success. Design of products evokes both cognitive and affective responses in the mind of the observers and this can be used to tailor a more attractive product proposition. While a lot of excellent research has been conducted on the positive effect that industrial design can have on the perceptions of customers about the product functionality, embedding issues like utility, safety and comfort, the importance of the perceived value by a customer on judgements about product elegance and social significance have not been extensively studied until recently. reference In this thesis I am trying to test whether Yes please soup pot design not only communicates to the potential customer a series of qualitative attributes about its content, i.e. quality and healthiness, but also triggers positive emotional responses on the perceived beauty and difference with similar products and that can be leveraged by the company to command a price premium 2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCT DESIGN New product development processes are the subset of standardized procedures that companies use to manage the new product project phases that lead to the launch of new products in the market. The objective of these procedures is to implement a systematized approach to ensure the potential of new projects based on their financial and development feasibility while maximizing the value of new products as perceived by its target customers. 2.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  What is industrial design Industrial design is the set of activities within new product development processes that deal with optimizing the functionality and appearance of a product to maximize its value for both consumer and manufacturer (1). The ultimate objective of a product design is thus to align the set of attributes embedded within the product with the target customer preferences and to implement them in a way that they are actually perceived and valued by them. In order to achieve a successful design and implementation, companies engage in direct market research to elicit the target customer segment implicit and explicit needs (the voice of the customer) and align those with product attributes, using techniques such as Quality Function Deployment (QFD) which systematically links the needs the product must satisfy with technical specifications while also prioritizing them based on the level of importance to customers. At the same time, the identification of the customer segment preferences and the mapping of those within a perceptual map, comparing how well different products in the market fulfill the identified needs, allow for the design of specific product propositions that no other product does and thus achieving a unique positioning and successful product differentiation. The dimension of product design has been recognized by several authors (Cooper, Trueman) as being critical to the ultimate success of the launch of new products. The focus of design development is centered around the efficient implementation of the product features, ergonomics and quality form to maximize its utility to users, while at the same time embedding it with a pleasant appearance that is able to communicate positive attributes that contribute to the ultimate value proposition. (3) (4) Trueman: Design has the facility to improve product reliability and quality standards thereby raising the perceived value of goods and services in the eyes of the customer, allowing companies to increase profit margins As Trueman estates (6), A value proposition must successfully integrate a product within its own environment by combining and merging coherently the different attributes, aesthetics, price and quality so that they are aligned similarly and reinforce each other. Although mistaken by artists that only worry about the visual appearece of a product, or styling, successful industrial designers are able dig into such fields as engineering, Materials science, manufacturing, and marketing to embed new products with a set of attributes directly influencing new product success in the market.(2) (3) (4) (5) (6). Ultimately, the design of an object is the specific configuration of elements, materials and components that give its particular attributes of function, shape etc. and determine how it is to be made and used. (13) By embedding the design dimension into the processes, companies ensure that the final value proposition is increased as it contributes to the perceived value by the customer. A successful design increase the perceived quality of a product, ensures that is aligned with market and regulatory standards and thus increase the odds to satisfy customer expectations. A consistent Design strategy in new product development processes also contributes to build a product and company image and helps to pull together the dimensions of company identity with branding and promotion (Trueman). Also, by taking the design dimensions early on the NPD projects, companies can reduce the final time to market and product costs by simplifying the manufacturing processes and reduce the final costs of fabrication. 2.2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The contribution of Industrial design in the final product value proposition There are many design attributes that can be embedded into new products, roughly separated within ergonomics and aesthetics, being the former more related to the experience of using the product, while the latter is focused into the experience of seeing the product. Aestethics, embedding all product parameters that determine the way the product look, are a an essential element of the purchasing process since customers base their preference on products by the subjective perceptions elicited by the product on the potential benefits it can provide.(7) In that line, the Lens model first introduced by Brunswick (?), states that the potential customer makes a mental bundle of the information it receives about the product and from there triggers a set of perceptions that will ultimately lead to a set of preferences and choices. The ways a specific design can lead to a positive perception and thus to a choice of preference vary and are entangled with other sources of information the customer receives and which align the propostion to the customer already decided preferences. The perceptions that a product can evoke are immediately related to past information received and allow the person for example to relate it to a certain corporate and brand identity, a process that many companies have followed by implementing a sustained design strategy on their products. Brand identity allows to ultimately link the products observed to perceptions on company values and overall level of attributes of the products and has been used as means of effective product differentiation. (9) (10). In different industries, companies tend to emphasize different attributes in their communication to be aligned with their specific company positioning and customers most importance preferences, like tastiness and safety in the food industry and reliability and environment friendliness in the car industry. The physical form of a product has been researched to have an important impact in the way customers judge it and has ultimately a strong correlation effect with the final product success in the market (). As Bloch (10) states the physical form or design of a product is an unquestioned determinant of its marketplace success. A good design attracts consumers to a product, communicates to them, and adds value to the product by increasing the quality of the usage experiences associated with it. 2.3  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Which financial benefits can it provide Companies with an effective industrial design strategy achieve better perfoming products in the market in terms of several financial indicators as return on assets, return on sales and higher profitability, which can be linked to both the design differentiation factor as stated previously by Porter in the famous book Competitve strategy (1980) and to reduced costs due to more efficient use of materials and manufacturing processes. (14) Also, the study of Roy (13) in 1993 on 221 small and medium sized UK manufacturers which received a government subsidy to promote the active use of industrial design in the development of new or improved products showed that 60% of all projects and 90% of the implemented ones were commercially successful and profitable with payback periods averaging under 15months, which show that the effective strategic approach to include design in new product development processes can be implemented in firms of different sizes. Bloch in his research also collected previous studies that linked new product financial success factors with the inclusion of design as an inherent part of their NPD processes. He identified in a survey of senior marketing managers that, design was mentioned as the most important determinant of new product performatice by 60% of respondents by only 17% considered Price most important . Also and based on the work of cooper on the analysis of the performance of 203 new products identified that product design was the most important determinant of sales success . Most interestingly for the case of Yes Please foods product, which as will be explained later chose specifically a designer for the pot based on his previous award winning record, Some research has identified that the receipt of design awards is positively associated with profit margins above average and sales growth (Goodrich 1994; Roy 1994). 3.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The purchasing process and the visual effect of a product design 3.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  XXXXXXXXXXXXX The ultimate act of purchasing occurs as a result of a complex mental process where the information received is analyzed and weighted as per to measure to which extend the product satisfies the needs of the customer. A general categorization of customer needs has been frequently compared with the Maslow hierarchy of needs which states that once most basic requirements have been satisfied by a product, the emphasis on a customer shifts to satisfy other more intangible needs related to symbolic and aesthetic attributes. As a result of this the purchasing process is triggered by the fulfillment of the requirements for the intended use of the product but also by the satisfaction of more intangible needs like status, elegance or social significance. In order to understand the ultimate behavioral response of a customer triggered by the visual appearance of a product it is critical to assess the cognitive and emotional processes that result from the act of observing the item under evaluation. The cognitive processes take place when a customer uses his visual senses to observe the product and perceives certain information which mentally organizes to make some judgments about its attributes and which are influenced by previous visual references or similar product stereotypes, which suggest familiar usages of the product and ultimately help the observer to interpret the signals received. It has been described a number of different approaches on how to categorize the judgments that a customer does based on the perception of a product observation. Crilly (?) has summarized all previous approaches and identifies a total of three main categories of cognitive responses to product appearance: Aesthetic, Semantic and Symbolic. From those three, the semantic interpretation, the mental inferences that an observer does to judge whether a product is capable of performing the tasks for what is intended for, is the only processes where the tangible attributes of the product are assessed. During this process the practical qualities of a product like function, performance and efficiency are analyzed and mentally compared with other references to judge the utility a product will offer to the observer. In this category I include the information that is gathered by the customer when obtaining information from reading the label and which is directly processed to identify the physical attributes of the product. The emotional responses following this cognitive process are then aligned to assess the instrumental utility of the product which ultimately lead to satisfaction, when fulfilling the expected requirements, and dissatisfaction when the product is not fulfilling them. The two other described cognitive processes are used to identify intangible attributes of the product that may or may not be perceived as valuable for the customer depending on a number of different factors, like current positioning within the Maslow hierarchy of needs, consumers cultural context and personal characteristics. The symbolic association is the cognitive response that attaches to the product some socially determined symbolic meaning. During this process, as series of values are realized to be attached to the product and assumes that others must also associate them with it. As Crilly states This culturally agreed meaning will allow the customer project a desirable image to others, express social status or communicate its personal characteristics through it. Examples of intangible values that can be associated to the product through symbolic meaning are exclusivity as the identification with certain economic status and environmentally consciousness. Finally the aesthetic impression comprises all cognitive responses that are directed towards a perceived judgment of elegance and beautifulness. Even if still there is no unanimous consensus on what comprises beautiful objects, the perception of aesthetic attraction triggers positive emotional thoughts on the customer and contribute to attaching value to the product observed. 3.2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The Aesthetics Dimension As researched by several authors (?) the definition of what makes an item beautiful or aesthetically pleasant is not conclusive. It has been described though that cultural and social forces have an influence in the preferences for specific forms. Specifically, it has been described that a specific culture values and preferences may influence the acceptance of a particular style. Also seems to be proven that cultural norms may overwhelm an individual inner preferences and help shape its perceptions towards the acceptance of a specific design form. (blaich, Bloch) Thus, and although cross cultural differences stay in the way of having an unified view of what can be considered as aesthetically pleasant, the current era of advanced information technology is working towards unifying the concepts that influence the perceptions of the soft values within a product design and thus working towards a more globalized and uniform set of criteria. The cognitive processes described triggered upon the observation of a product lead to a series of emotional responses that will ultimately lead to the final decision on the purchasing process, being the most important the attraction or disgust towards the aesthetics, the satisfaction or dissatisfaction towards the fulfillment by the product of instrumental requirements for its use, the surprise or indifference based on the perceived product novelty and the admiration or indignation towards social significance. 4.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  DESIGN IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY In the food industry, Tauber (8), collected through extensive market studies an exhaustive set of problems related to food products. By doing so, he was trying to identify potential opportunities for new products while also providing with a thorough analysis of the basic needs to be fulfilled by this kind of products. From that list it can be identified a series of attributes that the product under study is fulfilling and thus achieving a specific positioning. Some of them, like low calorie content, convenience of transport and preparation and adequacy of the serving size are efficiently communicated through the information contained in the label. Others like healthy, tasty, and high quality can only be perceived by the customer through the design of the pot and label and by some previous information it might have received. Moreover, as Berkowitz researched, the shapes and images that have a more natural looking are associated with products that are fresher, taste better and have a better texture, and are ultimately more preferred by customers. At the same time, he found that aesthetic appealingness of the product, defined by bloch (10) as the ability to evoke positive beliefs, positive emotions and sympathetic with consumers aesthetic tastes, and by Crilly (11) as the sensation that results from the perception of attractiveness (or unattractiveness) in products was not of any specific interest to food products customers. 5.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The Yes Please! Foods Company, products and market The trigger for the writing of this thesis has been evaluation of the influence that the design of the Yes Please! Foods soup product packaging may be having in its market performance. Yes Please Foods is Germany based company that entered the chilled organic convenience food German market in 2007. Although belonging to the generally mature food industry, both the organic and convenience sub segments have been growing at an average rate of 12% in the period 2003-2008 in Germany (15). Yes please foods can be considered to be positioned in the Premium priced range of offers within the segment as its Price its on average 33% more expensive than that of the competitors. The company started its operations in the Berlin area and has been enjoying a high growth rate in volumes sold ever since (the actual numbers can not be disclosed in this paper as they are covered by a confidential disclosure agreement). The company is currently planning to expand its operations throughout Germany and is about to close its first round of external financing. Based on the information provided by the company, it is know that the customer profile of this kind of products is that of mid to high educated people, working full time, with above average income and health conscious. It is inferred from the information provided by the company that the product is intended to fulfill the need of high quality healthy food that can be prepared and ready to serve within a short period time frame. The motto of the company portrays this positioning of healthy convenient to prepare food for customers that do not want to spend time in the kitchen as good food for busy people The design of the pot, as explained by the company owner and general manager, Gemma Michalski, was the central part of their strategy to build a company identity and resulted in one of the biggest expenditures incurred during the initial company launching. The design was commissioned to Willimas Myurray Hamm from London which used the artwork of Berlin based illustrator Martin Haake. As explained by Ms Michalski, they were specifically chosen to perform the design task because of their previous record of award winning product designs that resulted in highly successful products in the market. (16) 6.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Use of conjoint analysis to elicit the importance of attributes in the eyes of the costumers The first part of the field study I am going to conduct has been designed to measure a the potential correlation between price and design in the final willingness to pay expressed by respondents. Also I shall use the results to mesure the relative importance of each, for the whole of respondents and for potential segments I shall identify within the sample of respondents. The technique used, an empirical marketing research using conjoint analysis, was first introduced as an effective marketing tool during 1970s and has been validated as an effective means to identify the most relevant features of product, its key design attributes, and the degree of importance that customers attach to them. (17) The usefulness of the tool is extended by the ability to sort the answers from respondents to some specific criteria which allow eliciting the kind of different features preferred by different segments of consumers within the same market. At the heart of the technique, consumers are asked to rate as per their own preferences a number of different product prototypes that are embedding different features and levels of features. By doing so, the customer is making choices and trade-offs from those multi attribute alternatives based on the overall perceived utility or value of the product under evaluation. The statistical treatment of the data, using a multiple regression model, allows quantifying how much each of the single attributes is affecting the overall value of the entangled set of properties, as it is assumed that consumers have an implicit utility value for every single one of them. The first part of the technique is normally a consumer attitude survey were the general attitudes of the consumer towards the product are collected. One of the main outcomes of this part of the research is to determine which features of the product are relevant for the consumers. The aim of this first part is typically to find out why the products are purchased, which use they make of them and their attitudes toward them. Once the information is collected allows the design teams to elicit which features of the product seem to be more relevant for the customers and allows to potentially determine needs that still unresolved or problems existing with current products in the market. In this thesis I have overcome this phase since this part of the research is aimed at determining which physical features of the product are relevant, whether the focus of this thesis is aimed to the soft values attached to physical appearance. Thus, by assuming that the current most important features of the product for the target customer segment are actually satisfied by all products in the study, I have been able to focus any significance preference in the actual aesthetic value of the product and its potential relationship with the price they would be willing to pay. In order to communicate to respondents that all products evaluated had exactly the same features and were only differing in design and price, the following statement was introducing the questionnaire: The products you are going to see are all soup products. They contain just natural organic ingredients without any conservatives and must be kept in the fridge. The portions are all 500ml Generally, The second part of the conjoint process uses the information gathered to determine the whole set of attributes that define all of the existing products in a market and introduces new ones to test their acceptance by consumers. Also, different levels for each attribute are defined to obtain a meaningful representation of the different ranges within each attribute that are or could be available in the market. In order for the research to be significant, prototypes having different combinations of levels of all attributes have to be created to be ranked in preference by consumers. Typically, and due to the large number of possible permutations of attributes that can be created, a smaller sample is chosen to facilitate the consumer research study. It has been shown that eliminating combinations through an experimental design called orthogonal arrays or through judgment (those that are not possible physically i.e. by cost or conceptually i.e. by design), has no significant effect on the final outcome of the study (18) Since the research to be conducted for this thesis is aimed at identifying any preferred designs for a soup product and potentially monetary value attached to specific product appearances, I have chosen to study two sets of attributes, design comprised by the three levels, picture of natural ingredient, artistic draw and no draw and the attribute price, also with three different levels: â‚ ¬ 1,99, â‚ ¬ 2,49 and â‚ ¬ 2,99. Due to the small number of total possible combinations (32), the empirical survey shall ask respondents to evaluate all possible combinations. The rationale for choosing these type of designs has been based on previous literature on shape and images in food products (Berkowitz) and the need for the actual inclusion of the design of the Yes Please Food product to test its hypothesized perceived value on the design. The third design included no draw has been arbitrarily selected hypothesizing it to be a representative sample of an unaesthetic design. The three price level selected have been chosen on the basis of actual prices of products in the market for the picture of natural ingredient (â‚ ¬2,49) and artistic draw (â‚ ¬2,99) designs, while the third level price has been arbitrarily selected to represent a low price level within that attribute. The third part of the procedure gathers a meaningful sample of the product consumers and asks them to rank the different prototypes (combinations of the different levels of the selected attributes) based on their preferences. The aim of this part is to gather the structure of consumers preferences for different product features. In this part is important to define the question to be asked properly so it collects the opinion on consumers about the perceived value they attach to each specific product proposition. In my research I have chosen the sentence from 1-7 how likely would you be to buy this product at the stated price. One of the benefits of conjoint analysis is that it is able to achieve statistical significance on the results with a relative small sample of respondents. The aim of this research will be to achieve at least 33 respondents in order to be able to make some inferences about the direction of the proportional influence that design has in the final monetary value of the proposed prototype, being that either positive or negative. One of the limitations of my study shall be that the random sample of respondents to the questionnaire shall only be validated as actual consumers of soup products by one of the questions in the demographic profile, do you like soup? that is embedding three possible answers: no, sometimes is ok and love it. It shall be assumed that a positive answer to this question (all possible answers but no) allow to make inferences about their potentiality to be consumers of the product. That limitation is affecting jus this part of the study were the research is trying to elucidate whether design has a relationship with willingness to pay. For the second part where it will be researched the consumers perceptions about intangible attributes of the design, it will be assumed that cultural context and general profile of the respondents is similar to that of the consumers of fresh soups as explained before in the Yes Please Foods product and market chapter of this thesis. A segmentation of the respondents by any kind of useful criteria like demographics, type of usage, attitude towards the products etc will also allow to identify the preferred attributes for each type of customer segment. The final part is the statistical treatment of the results that tries to identify which attributes are preferred by consumers and which are considered to be of more relative importance to them, and thus to the final value of the product proposition. 7.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Experiment 7.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Objectives The objectives of the experiments executed were designed to validate and refute previous research about the influence that design have in the purchase decision making process and to elicit specific findings about the design of the soup product of the sponsor company Yes Please! Foods. In the first experiment, the objective is to validate whether a series of qualitative attributes about the product can be inferred from the customer just by looking at the design, specifically the respondents are required to rate each of the three designs as per their perception on how they consider them to be healthy, fresh, of high quality, different and beautiful. One of the objectives of this part of the experiment is to validate the hypothesis that the design of the pot of the Yes Please! Foods soup product has is somehow original that can be clearly differentiated from that of the competitors and that is considered to be an aesthetically pleasant design. Another objective of this part of the research is to validate previous research like that of Berkowitz (9), Bloch (10) and Trueman (6) which asserted that in mature markets, product form is one way to gain consumer notice and achieve a clear product differentiation. By assessing the responses about the attributes quality, freshness and Healthiness, it is pursued to validate the research of Bloch (10) and Nusssbaum (?), which stated that exterior appearance of a product is an important channel to communicate information to consumers, that Product form allows to generate inferences regarding other product attributes. Also this experiment will help to validate the research from Berlkowtiz () which found that natural shapes displayed in the packaging of food products help consumers to make assumptions about the product as being more fresh healthy and of higher quality. Finally I intend to validate the research of Trueman (6) which found that products that are considered to have a good design (which I shall relate to the weight of the responses on the attribute beautiful) are considered to be of superior quality, by checking whether products to be considered beautiful on my research are also considered to be of high quality. The inferences that I will try to make with the results of the second part of the research, a conjoint analysis of 9 different prototypes which result from the combination of three different design styles and three different sets of prices, will be dependent upon the results of the first part. If during the first experiment I am able to proof that some of the three designs are considered to be significantly more beautiful than the others, I shall be able to validate with the results of the second experiment are aligned with the results found by Bloch. Kotler and Nussbaum when they found that given two identical products in terms of features and price, the one with the most beautiful design is preferred by respodents. At the same time I shall try to validate whether a product considered to be more beautiful can command a higher willingness to pay, which is stated in the survey designed as the likeliness to buy the shown product. If that is proven to be the case, I will try to identify the reasons why those customers would be willing to spend more in such product by relating it to their perceptions on the other attributes of the same product, either being the subset of attributes regarding product utility, (higher quality, more natural or more healthy) , the subset of aesthetic attributes (more beautiful, more different) or both. Finally I shall use the results of the second experiment to validate the research of Berkowitz which found that products with natural shapes tend to be considered more natural, and healthy. I shall do this by specifically analyzing the results of one of the chosen designs which portrays a picture of a natural tomato on the label. Also I shall try to refute the findings of the same author which found in previous research that attractive designs where not of any specific interest to consumers in terms of aesthetic appeal. 7.2  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Methodology 7.2.1  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Sample The survey will be send to all recipients of the address domain [emailprotected], for which I expect a random sample of respondents within the employees of ESMT and all recipients of address [emailprotected], for which I expect a random sample of ESMT MBA 2009 students I believe this sample shall be repre

Friday, January 17, 2020

Democracy and Pragmatism Philosophies: Approaches to “The Grapes of Wrath” Essay

In 1939, â€Å"The Grapes of Wrath† by John Steinbeck formed an agitation of excitement and controversy upon its emancipation. The book forced the American public into a heightened awareness of national consciousness. Influenced by the thoughts of several dominant American philosophies such as transcendentalism, democracy and pragmatism, Steinbeck creates a masterpiece that edifies Americans about their value scheme. This work of art finds its main lineage from three following elements of American philosophy: Emersonian Transcendentalism with its perception of the oversoul and conviction in the common man, Walt Whitman’s devotion of the common man and his credence in mass Democracy, and Pragmatism as advocated by William James and John Dewey. Transcendentalism Transcendentalism is a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature and includes intuition, individuality, and self-reliance. It initiated as a remonstration, in opposition to the general situation of society, and specifically, the state of intellectualism and the doctrine of the Unitarian church at that juncture. Transcendentalists’ fundamental principle is an epitome of spiritual state that goes beyond the physical and empirical aspects and is barely attained through people’s instincts, rather than through the dogma of conventional religions (Goodman). Steinbeck was indeed influenced by this philosophy and the ideologies of this are evident in his novel, â€Å"The Grapes of Wrath†. The author conveys the idea of transcendentalism to the readers through a range of exceedingly noteworthy characters. One such character is that of Jim Casey, a former reverend and long-time acquaintance of the Joads. As a preacher like none other, he does not give a sermon of the conformist thoughts of Christian faith. Instead, he sermonizes of the Emersonian tenets of the Oversoul. Jim Casey symbolizes a contemporary Christ form who desires to pass on spiritual solidity to migratory people heading towards the West (Steinbeck). Among the various correlations between Jim Casey and Jesus Christ are the following. Casey pays attention to the people, thinks deeply and philosophically about what is happening to them, and becomes a role model for most of the characters in the story. A quote from the narrative denotes the aforementioned similarities. â€Å"Muley is a lost soul. He wouldn’t come along with us† (Steinbeck). Casey in this quotation acts as Jesus Christ contemplating why Muley, depicted as one of His Apostles, would not approach and follow him. Alternatively, transcendentalism can also be seen in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, which is entitled Nature. As indicated in his essay, he believes that a nation of men will exist because each believes that he is inspired by the Divine Soul which also fills all men with stimulation (Emerson). He closed the article by encouraging men for a revolution in human consciousness. â€Å"Emerson discards the Unitarian line of reasoning that miracles confirms the fact of Christianity and finds evidence for religion being more direct in creating a pious response† (Goodman). Democracy This is generally defined as the rule of the people where the individuals share in guiding the national activities, functioning either directly or by means of delegates, to manage their associations for their particular objectives. Equality is of great worth in considering this and would free persons as much as feasible from constraints which are not self-imposed. Steinbeck was also influenced by this philosophy and its ideologies are also reflected in his work. One of his characters, named Tom Joad, the oldest child of Ma and Pa Joad represents this. As we can cite in the book’s introduction, â€Å"Tom Joad gets a lift at a truck stop and tells the driver he’s paroled from prison in McAlester (for murder) and he’s headed home† (Steinbeck), the author unveils Tom as departing from imprisonment which symbolizes democracy and arrives at their place after being on the rampage. He subsequently learns a lot of things from their family friend, Jim Casey, and eventually matures in the course of their voyage, leaving their customary society to combat disparity (Steinbeck). In connection with advocating democracy, another avid supporter of this view comes with the poem referred to as â€Å"I Hear America Singing†. Walt Whitman, as the author, appears to have the love of all men and of mass democracy. Blessed with an exceptional ear for inner cadence, his application of a musical tone and mood all through the poem makes a connection to the concept of the free democratic structure in the society. Whitman expresses his considerably liberated, undulating, and continuing stanzas which invigorated the whole world of rhythmical style of writing, and particularly asserts that America has to establish its own modern dynamic and hearty voice. He made a hymn the whole time with his piece. His couplet embarks on presenting various people with different everyday tasks. In their daily lives each person sings â€Å"what belongs to him or her and to none else† (Whitman). Through his poem, he voices his belief that every American has pride in their life and vocation; thus, enhancing the concept of democracy. And for this, Whitman is honored as the Bard of Democracy, as the United States of America came to address the excellent writer. But needless to say, he also showed his support in democracy as affirmed in his letter to Emerson which states that â€Å"To freedom, to strength, to poems, to personal greatness, it is never permitted to rest, not a generation or part of a generation† (Whitman). Pragmatism Then as the final viewpoint, pragmatism is termed as a way of thinking wherein the certainty of a representation is considered by its uniformity with provisional consequences and by its realistic result. This prevails to be contrasting in doctrines that cleave to the idea that a fact can be achieved by means of deductive reasoning from a priori justification of premises. Furthermore, â€Å"the accepted wisdom is taken as merely a mechanism for sustaining the life aspirations of human beings and has no authentic metaphysical implication† (Shook). Steinbeck was also influenced by this philosophy and its ideologies are also apparent in his work. Appearing in the novel, when Ma Joad, the wife of Pa Joad and the matriarch of the family, addresses the people to †go on† (Steinbeck), it is a straightforward delivery of steadfast pragmatism. Ma is in fact the source of strength and determination for all of the family members and is especially close to Tom. Moreover, â€Å"She states that her thinking about the future would be too much. She has to take care of what’s in front of her† (Steinbeck). And as regards to advocating pragmatism, a proponent named William James, states that pragmatism is a specific philosophy in which beliefs are consequential as long as they have useful outcomes in tangible human events. He also believes that pragmatism is a worthwhile solution to some recent points of the word. James also claims that pragmatic values have certain attitudes which are eligible as true or false depending on how effective they attest in deed. Another proponent of pragmatism like James, named John Dewey, â€Å"maintains that the mind is an instrument for realizing purposes†(Goodman). According to him, in pragmatism’s moral facet, it holds that real knowledge and human values play as essential roles in the choice of means employed in order to attain an end. Both James and Dewey contend that a large extent of the discussion about the association of the mind to the body take effect from abstract uncertainties. They also claim that it is not essential to speculate the psyche as an ontological class (Shook).   References: Emerson, R. W. â€Å"Nature.† Pearson Education, Inc. New Jersey. Prentice Hall (2002). Goodman, Russel. â€Å"Philosophy of Dewey.† The Radical Academy. 2006. May 24 2007. . Goodman, Russel. â€Å"Transcendentalism.†Ã‚   Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2007. May 24 2007. . James, William. . Shook, John. â€Å"The Pragmatism Cybrary.†Ã‚   2007. May 24 2007. . Steinbeck, John. â€Å"The Grapes of Wrath.†Ã‚   (1939). Whitman, Walt. â€Å"Letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson.†Ã‚   1656. May 24 2007. . Whitman, Walt â€Å"I Hear America Singing.†Ã‚   Pearson Education, Inc. New Jersey. Prentice Hall (2002).   

Thursday, January 9, 2020

How to Grow Blue Copper Sulfate Crystals

Copper sulfate crystals are among the easiest and most beautiful crystals that you can grow. The brilliant blue crystals can be grown relatively quickly and can become quite large.   Copper Sulfate Tips Safety Copper sulfate is harmful if swallowed and can irritate skin and mucous membranes. In case of contact, rinse skin with water. If swallowed, give water and call a physician.Even a small increase in the temperature of the water will greatly affect the amount of copper sulfate (CuS04  . 5H20) that will dissolve.Copper sulfate pentahydrate crystals contain water, so if you want to store your finished crystal, keep it in a sealed container. Otherwise, water will evaporate from the crystals, leaving them dull and powdery from efflorescence. The gray or greenish powder is the anhydrous form of copper sulfate.Copper sulfate is used in copper plating, blood tests for anemia, in algicides and fungicides, in textile manufacturing, and as a desiccant. Copper Sulfate Crystal Materials Copper sulfateWaterJar Make a Saturated Copper Sulfate Solution Stir copper sulfate into very hot water until no more will dissolve. You can just pour the solution into a jar and wait a few days for crystals to grow, but if you grow a seed crystal, you can get much larger and better-shaped crystals. Grow a Seed Crystal Pour a little of the saturated copper sulfate solution into a saucer or shallow dish. Allow it to sit in an undisturbed location for several hours or overnight. Select the best crystal as your seed for growing a large crystal. Scrape the crystal off of the container and tie it to a length of nylon fishing line. Growing a Large Crystal Suspend the seed crystal in a clean jar that you have filled with the solution you made earlier. Dont allow any undissolved copper sulfate to spill into the jar. Dont let the seed crystal touch the sides or bottom of the jar.Place the jar in a location where it wont be disturbed. You can set a coffee filter or paper towel over the top of the container, but allow air circulation so that the liquid can evaporate.Check the growth of your crystal each day. If you see crystals starting to grow on the bottom, sides, or top of the container then remove the seed crystal and suspend it in a clean jar. Pour the solution into this jar. You dont want extra crystals growing because they will compete with your crystal and will slow its growth.When you are pleased with your crystal, you can remove it from the solution and allow it to dry.