Power Shift Megatrends

Megatrends are big broad cultural and social trends that influence our values and consumption behaviours. They represent big trend movements in society that occur over a five-to-ten-year period. In product design, aspects such as purchasing behaviours, the types of products society values and the kinds of product experiences people are favouring, need to be understood to create meaningful successful products.

We all experience megatrends at different levels. Depending on where we live and how much we interact with culture and society.

“Megatrends capture anything that’s happening. In a commercial environment, this can include the way we access services, the way we purchase and the way we behave in an economical sense,” says Nancy Malik, product designer at Outerspace Design.

“Megatrends drill down to the way we live our everyday lives – the way we eat, how charitable we are, how we work, our political views, how we interact at a global level and a local community level,” Nancy says.

Megatrends are an important tool at Outerspace Design. As an example, we see technology is a big influencer of trends. When new technologies emerge, which ones are accepted and adopted depends on current trends and vice versa, where technologies can create space for new trends or a new virtual experience.

“We can only accept virtual technology if it exists, but the technology has to appeal to people and their values need to resonate with megatrends,” explains Nancy. We ask questions like, “How does this product speak to someone who values new technology and VR or environmental issues?” We look beyond the brief and see how the product can appeal to a bigger group of people.

At Outerspace we apply Megatrends when we design a product. We look beyond the brief of a specific problem or market, to look at other opportunities we could open up or take advantage of, within a product space. We look at how people are going to react to this product and how we can tap into the values and desires of these people. That’s where Megatrends come in.

How and when to apply megatrends are interrelated. We can draw from megatrends in several stages of a project. At the highest level we use megatrends to shape brand values and use them to think about the meanings of things in wider society and a cultural context.

As we progress through a project, we challenge every part of the creative process. We ask – Who else could this appeal to? What does this product do? What comes with the product? How it is used? What values are being communicated?

By asking these questions, we use megatrends to make sure we are taking every opportunity to apply this information to a product.

“People often ask, ‘So if we don’t do this, what are we missing?’ We often talk to people who have a very specific problem and they feel they have an idea of a solution to this problem. They have an idea of what a product can be and they give us a tight brief around this,” explains Nancy.

The danger here is that as a design and engineering team, if we just focus on a brief and a definition of a solution, we lose the opportunity to look at other potential markets and spaces where a product solution to the problem could have a wider benefit or application.

Outerspace Design has researched and developed eight megatrends. “These megatrends are specific to the Western developed world, they are not specifically Australian, as this is where we and our clients operate at the moment,” says Nancy.

“We are not a trend research company. As design is our speciality we use and analyse this information and apply it to the products we create for clients,” Nancy says.

With the help of specialist research companies and our own research, we have isolated eight megatrends – Sustainability, Natural, Athleisure, Digital Physical, Social Awareness, Luxury, Powershift, and Digital Virtual.

We refer to trend research specialists and also comb through information about news, products, fashion, art, technology and politics to detect repeated ideas and patterns.

Each megatrend contains multiple sub-trends and outcomes such as commodities or services, and the experiences these are leading to. It’s a way of creating a pyramid structure of grouping and ordering things so we can easily talk, refer and design to them.

We use a three-tier approach to trends.

Tier 1 – Megatrends with their own sub-trends and outcomes.

Tier 2 – Product Trends specific to what we do. Out of megatrends you see trends through product design, fashion, architecture and they are expressed through colour, form, materials.

Tier 3  Styling Trends our colour, material and finishes trends.

“We are observing new influences in the world of consumer products. One trend that has surfaced over the last couple of years within Social Awareness is the need for transparency,” says Nancy.

“Today people are much more interested in how things are made, where they are made, what kind of standards and working conditions are in place, a company’s values and where profits go. There’s a great “cry out” for transparency in companies and markets.

“We see more and more companies providing information about this to the public, on their websites and product labelling,” she explains.

The Social Awareness megatrend directly influences product design materials, manufacturing processes, applied technologies, and how a product embraces sustainability and recyclability. It influences the style and appearance of a product, because people are not necessarily valuing a product that is glossy and made from plastic any more.

“What we used to call ‘luxury’ has changed. The new Luxury, which is also another megatrend, is connected to the natural, sustainable, bespoke, aged or repurposed. There is definitely an interconnected movement in this space,” Nancy says.

We’ve been successfully applying our megatrends to projects in mobility and consumer product design over the last six months. It’s an exciting new design tool.

Comtruk SUB Outerspace design

Since 1934, the Aussie Ford ute has been an icon of Australian culture, and an expression of Australian ingenuity. Today, the ute is still used as a work vehicle, but doubles as a family car with comfortable interior and spacious cabin.

Comtruk and Outerspace Design have joined forces to ensure this heritage continues across all styles and brands of pickup with the Comtruk Sport Utility Bed or SUB.

The talented design and engineering team at Outerspace Design, with creative director Antony Stolfo, and Aluminium Industries managing director, Jim Gallagher, collaborated to create this revolutionary, versatile pickup bed.

“The patented Comtruk SUB design blurs the lines between a pickup ‘tub’ and a pickup ‘tray’.  The clever design of the SUB challenges the traditional ‘tub’ by maintaining vehicle styling. It provides loads of functionality, versatility, performance, and safety that a ‘tub’ simply doesn’t deliver,” Antony Stolfo said.


erica ferguson and janelle sherrard

Outerspace interacts with a wide range of businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs. Some of our most successful clients are female innovators with inspirational stories.

Erica Fergusson and Janelle Sherrard (above) come from very different backgrounds, but both approached Outerspace to work with them to develop their ideas from concept to commercial product. The journey of product innovation was challenging for both of these women, but their stories tell how they overcame the obstacles and made their ideas a reality.

Erica began her start-up journey five years ago. As a stay-at-home mum with three active kids, she had a “love-hate” relationship with sunscreen. Applying sunscreen is a messy but necessary process. This led to Erica’s idea for SunSmudg – a sun smart way to carry and apply sunscreen without getting messy, greasy hands. Designed for people who love the outdoors it provides a better way of applying sunscreen effectively.

Janelle moved from the building and construction industry into product development around six years ago to pursue her ambition and passion for developing BinSpring, an idea she’d fallen in love with. BinSpring attaches to a wheelie bin lid to stop rubbish escaping. It’s an ingenious solution to a significant community problem.“It’s about environment, integrity, and practicality. That’s the way I live my life,” explains Janelle.

Even with her successful business background, Janelle had very limited understanding and experience with product development but was excited by the challenge. Both women started out with just an idea that they wanted to make into a reality and had an exciting journey ahead of them.

The first stages saw many challenges. Erica realised early on that she was going to need help with the implementation of her idea but found it difficult to know who to ask. Janelle also found it difficult to find a contractor and had limited information about the design industry. Her initial design wasn’t working and needed to be more robust. It was a stressful and costly exercise for both women just to find the right people and get the process started.

Erica and Janelle sought assistance with their projects and found Outerspace through the contacts they made at the Curtin University Ignition program. With positive feedback from the program they felt ready to get started and engage with Outerspace to take their products further.

Both women are Perth-based so their relationship with Outerspace was long-distance but everyone made it work. Both Erica and Janelle needed Outerspace’s expertise in product development, engineering, business development and product manufacturing. Over the two to three years they engaged Outerspace, they watched their ideas become designs, prototypes and commercialised products.

“We came from different sides of the country but it still worked really well and we were able to get the product developed from an idea to what SunSmudg is today,” explains Erica.

“I relied very much on a designer to guide how to get the product to a point where it was ready. Outerspace took the initial concept to a commercialised product,” says Janelle.

Outerspace not only assisted in the product design and engineering but also provided Janelle and Erica with insights and advice about pricing and manufacturing. “Outerspace were really honest and upfront with me and their feedback was invaluable. They had a really good work ethic and were very easy to work with. When you don’t know what you’re doing, you really have to trust people and Outerspace were very easy to trust,” Erica says.

Erica and Janelle were constantly surprised by the innovation process and experienced a new world of challenges they needed to overcome. Both mentioned how much they had underestimated the initial time and cost that goes into a start-up and how much you need to learn and adapt along the way.

“When you look at a product on the shelf you don’t realise that to get that product out to the masses is a huge process. It’s been very challenging and I’ve learnt a lot and made a lot of mistakes,” says Erica.

“People told me before I started that this was going to be the hardest thing I’d ever do and was going to cost a lot of money and take several years. I didn’t believe them, but that is the case. The cost of getting a product off the ground and into markets is enormous and we didn’t consider that enough at the start,” Janelle explains.

Another challenge both innovators have had to face was dealing with setbacks and rejections. “The greatest challenge is keeping that desire through all the knock-backs and keeping engaged, focused and prepared for the next steps. I’ve hit rock bottom so many times and had to pick myself back up again to keep going,” says Janelle.

“I’m very proud of SunSmudg but it became very challenging and took me out of my comfort zone. Conquering the rejections is the tough one when it’s something you’ve made yourself,” admits Erica.

Being a female entrepreneur is getting easier but these brave women still faced challenges. For SunSmudg being heard in the marketing world and contacting manufacturers was often overwhelming. For BinSpring, communicating with the waste management and local councils can still be challenging as they are very male dominated.

Both Erica and Janelle acknowledge how welcoming the innovation and product development world is now for female entrepreneurs, with gender equality understood as a given. While they faced some issues with local governments, waste and marketing industries, they saw no prejudice in the innovation or product development world.

Both women were grateful to have Outerspace working with them through the challenges of communicating with other industries and manufacturing suppliers overseas. For other female entrepreneurs just starting out, Erica and Janelle offer this advice on how to tackle the world of product development and innovation.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff. It has been the most challenging time in my life but you have to just keep going and focus on the end goal of getting your product out there,” says Erica.

“Entering the world of innovation is very frightening but if you reflect on your personal and company values frequently, it’s much easier to recognise when a business relationship is valuable and will give you longevity.  Get your business plan down pat. Establish your objectives and values. Women have that intuition to recognise when a business relationship is valuable,”Janelle says.

The future for both of these businesses is very exciting. After taking some time off from her project, Erica is looking at new marketing and sales opportunities to get SunSmudg out to the masses. BinSpring is undergoing product trials. Janelle recently won a WA Innovation Grant to fund the trials. She is collecting data on the benefits of the product for easier marketing and sales to local councils.

Outerspace is very proud to have been a part of the development of these two products and can’t wait to be a part of more projects with other amazing women like Erica and Janelle.

seb kipman neofit roller

The Neofit roller is the brainchild of Seb Kipman, a writer with a passion for keeping fit. A lightweight collapsible exercise roller, Neofit easily collapses from 30 to 10cm in length, so you can carry Neofit in your bag, or store it in a small space. Rollers are great for massaging tight muscles but cumbersome to carry around and store, so Neofit elegantly solved these problems.

Seb worked for Cricket Australia for seven years, travelling with the team and lugging gear everywhere he went. The idea for Neofit came about in 2015 after experiencing back-breaking cricket tours.

“I wrote the idea down in my notebook,” says Seb. He then toyed around with designs, coming up with different concepts. “At one stage, I took an inner tube from a roll of paper towel and fashioned it into all sorts of clumsy concepts,” he explains.

“Eventually I got bogged down with full-time work so forgot the idea for a while. I kept coming back to it over the next year. I knew there was something to it but I was unsure whether there was a market for it,” he says.

In 2016, Seb was accepted into a business incubator and one of the big lessons he learnt was how to work on due diligence and how to determine whether or not there is sufficient market demand for a proposed new product. “Once I went through about a month of due diligence on the idea, it became clear there was a strong market for Neofit,” says Seb.

Seb quit his job in August 2016 to work full time on the idea. He sold his car and most of his belongings, rented out his apartment, took up freelancing to pay the bills and moved to South East Asia to cut back on living costs, while working on the product. “I kind of went all in with the idea,” Seb says.

“The idea that something I’ve created, with the help of my design team at Outerspace, is desired by people around the world is a pretty cool feeling,” he says.

The design process started in September 2016, about a year after the initial idea. Seb approached Outerspace with a concept and model for Neofit. “As a writer, coming from a creative background meant my mind wasn’t constrained by engineering logic or reality. Perhaps if I’d had a really deep understanding of engineering I might have dismissed early ideas for Neofit outright,” explains Seb.

Outerspace Design and Seb worked together on concepts. “The design team applied their expertise to convert some of my early ideas into workable concepts while others, they told me,  weren’t feasible. It was a good combination to have,” he explains.

Big Idea Event Outerspace Design

The Outerspace Big Idea event was a sell-out and an inspiring night of conversation and sharing experiences in the product development space.

Nothing beats face-to-face conversation. Start-ups and entrepreneurs from Melbourne’s innovation ecosystem compared notes and shared their ups and downs.

From medtech to agritech, ideas in new territories and disruptive technologies, the future is an exciting and challenging place.

Mike Denham, Outerspace Creative Team Lead presented the processes and pathways to successful products including “rocky roads and camel humps” and identifying the real problems your idea is solving.

Dave McAuld founder of start-up company Fusion Guitars talked candidly about the realities of crowd funding, manufacturing, lead-times and the highs and lows of creating and launching new products.

Targeted marketing campaigns and the importance of building loyal followers on social media was also noted. Dave finished his presentation with a song.

The first in a series of events at Outerspace, we look forward to sharing more with you again in the next couple of months.  Watch this space!

Simplifying Security

In a world where security is a major concern, a simple idea free from electronics or complex controls is making homeowners safer in suburban America.

SecuraDoor by Monarch Home Innovations is a simple low-cost security solution for householders. Designed and engineered by the team at Outerspace it’s set to protect thousands of households.

After being at home when intruders have broken in, Outerspace’s client David Workman, founder of Monarch Home Innovations, decided to do something to protect himself, his family and others.

David could see there was an advantage in having a door jamming device of some kind, as electronic alarms only tell you when an intruder is already inside your home, when it’s too late.

In the mid 90s David built a prototype door jammer with some friends, but didn’t have time or money to develop it further. Twenty years later, realising a gap still existed in the market, he revisited the idea – on a mission to keep families safe in their homes and to save lives.

Existing door jammers were flimsy with basic small feet, and weak construction; others were rugged heavyweights that would break a doorknob and deform your door. With Outerspace Design, David created SecuraDoor as a superior alternative providing over 1700 lbs (771 kg) of applied pressure to a door.

The Solution

SecuraDoor is an entry-prevention device that’s strong and easy to use. It adjusts to fit onto any doorknob at varying heights. It has a cleverly designed handle yolk that fits comfortably in your hand.

It can be positioned with one hand and is easily used by the elderly or disabled. The handle pivot point creates compression that holds a door securely shut.

The brace has an adjustment collar and pin that ensures a secure fit to a door. The footplate provides maximum surface contact to any floor surface. The device is also conveniently portable. SecuraDoor adheres to the full specifications of the International Building Code and only needs to be adjusted once for any door.

“David needed a design that was friendly, portable and still strong. He also needed it to be lightweight around 2kg (4lbs). SecuraDoor had to stay in place when a door was kicked or a sudden impact was applied to a door. Existing door jammers were flimsy and fell over if a door was kicked, others were over-engineered and dented your door knob and door.” 

           –  Ernesto Hueso, Lead Engineer at Outerspace Design.

“SecuraDoor’s unique handle yolk is moulded in glass-reinforced plastic so it won’t damage a door knob or door. The engineered geometry of the Yolk-handle makes it easy to use with one hand, lightweight yet strong enough to resist impact and loads,” says Ernesto.

“The Foot Plate has been engineered to pivot within a precise 7.5 degree range in one direction ensuring people can easily set SecuraDoor to the correct length, distance and height with no need for constant readjustment,” Ernesto explains.

Outerspace built ‘worst case scenario’ test rigs simulating compression loads of 700 – 800 kg to ensure SecuraDoor would survive attempted break-ins.

“With carefully designed and engineered details, the SecuraDoor is superior to competing products, very simple and easy to use, portable, won’t damage your floor or door and won’t scratch surfaces,” says Ernesto.

“Outerspace’s design team was as patient as they were creative, and professional in every way.  They hit their timelines and adhered to budget constraints – very important for a small business like mine.  And I appreciate the ongoing communication via email and Skype, even continued emails after the design work was complete, to see how things were going,”

          – David Workman

SecuraDoor is now available to consumers in the US. “I am constantly receiving great comments on the design of SecuraDoor.  It’s so far beyond anything that is available.  Outerspace did an exceptional job,” adds David. For more information, visit Monarch’s website.

Outerspace Design will be exhibiting at Australia’s biggest electronics development show. Come and interact with some of the amazing and world-class electronics products OSD has recently developed.

Head to the seminar room on Wednesday, September 6th at 3pm for a case study presentation Fusion Guitar: the dos and don’ts of working with designers and electronics engineers on an iPhone-enabled product.

Wed & Thurs, Sept 6 & 7, 10am – 5pm
Location: Melbourne Park Function Centre

To request a guest pass, email: splishka@outerspace.co

Do you have a big idea? Are you a Start-up needing advice on getting your idea past home base?

Outerspace is opening its doors to the Melbourne Start-up community this month to share its knowledge and experiences collaborating with Start-up clients, and launching their own Start-up projects.

From both perspectives, Outerspace are sharing their Big Idea process and how they have used this powerful tool to guide and support Start-ups on their journey to create successful products for international markets.

Working with Start-ups on a daily basis, Outerspace is not your typical product design firm. With offices in Melbourne and San Diego, Outerspace has years of experience working closely with entrepreneurs and passionate people with big ideas.

The Outerspace team love to make things.

We particularly love to make things that push the boundaries of what a product can do, and have a positive impact on people’s lives, which leads to commercial success.

Three such products, the Fusion Guitar, and the Robo C2 & Robo R2 3D printers were recently recognized for design excellence at the Good Design Awards.

The 2017 Good Design Awards were held in Sydney Australia after a lengthy and extensive evaluation process involving more than 35 international design experts.

Fusion Guitar

The Fusion Guitar is an all-in-one electric travel guitar. Built in battery, amplifier and speakers make it very portable. For new users, it takes the hassle out of researching and selecting gear. You can simply pick it up, turn it on and play. It also has iPhone integration which lets you watch video tutorials while you play, and puts the best guitar teaching apps literally at your fingertips.

Advanced players who already own gear are attracted to the convenience of the world’s first truly portable electric guitar to play anywhere, anytime. Real-time signal processing combined with guitar apps like JamUp let you create unlimited effects – it’s like having a full rig and recording studio wherever you go, so you’re always ready when inspiration strikes.

The Good Design Awards jury commented,

“The Fusion Guitar represents an innovative leap in this product segment. Beautifully executed design with a simple user-interface makes this a highly desirable and game changing product. It ticks every box in the criteria and adds a few more.”

Fusion Guitar at the Good Design Awards > 

See the guitar in action >

As the number of contracted and freelance designers in the career place rises, so does the demand for strong wifi and good coffee. According to an independent study commissioned by Freelancers Union & Elance-oDesk, There are 53 million Americans — 34 percent of the U.S. workforce — working as freelancers. As the study states, “Simply put, that’s a lot of people living and working in a new way.”


So how has the job market reacted to this shift in employment set up? It has created the CoWork. A coworking office is a place where individuals who work mostly in an isolated setting can work alongside each other at desks or private offices. These individuals rent out space and pay on a monthly basis. This style of office renting is great for companies just getting their feet off the ground, or for freelancers who want to connect with members of their community.


If you’re looking for a guide to find the perfect coworking office for your company, check out or list of spaces in San Diego below!


Ootbox CoWork

Website – http://www.thinkootbox.com/

Address- 6640 Lusk Blvd., Suite A200 San Diego, CA 92121

Benefits include a ‘think lounge’, 24 hour access, and kitchen beverages along with many others.


VentureBeach Cowork

Website – http://venturebeachcowork.com/ Format- Month to Month after Initial Membership. Open floor plan, and private offices. Perks include a large event space, Audio-Visual Equipment Rental, and access to the kitchenette.


Ansire Innovation Center

Website – http://ansirsd.com/

4685 Convoy St #210, San Diego, CA 92111

An office space well-equipped to handle science based businesses with a full lab accessible.


Co-mmunity Creative Space

Website – http://co-mmunity.com/

Address-  1228 University Ave #200, San Diego, CA 92103 (Hillcrest)

Benefits; free tea and coffee, business essentials, private meeting rooms, and dedicated desks


Union CoWork

Website – https://unioncowork.com/

Locations in Encinitas, North Park,and Downtown SD.

Perks; 24 hour access, fixed rate all inclusive, mailing address, pet friendly, community events, kombucha and beer on tap, free coffee, bike friendly, and conference rooms available to all members.


Swoon Cowork

Website – http://swoonwork.com/

Address-  4636 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116

Benefits; 24/7 access, free coffee, fast internet, mail service, controlled access, tv moniters, and open seating


NEST co work

Website – http://cybertechnetwork.org/aboutcybertech/

Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNbSMC1WCsA

1855 First Avenue, Suite 103

San Diego, CA 92101

Perks; coffee shop inside, local artists, houses over 30 tech businesses, and well connected


Desk Hub San Diego

Website- http://www.deskhub.com/san-diego

Address- 2159 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

Perks; inclusive pricing structure. wifi, print and copy, unlimited Conference Room Access, community events, member directory, fully stocked kitchen, company signage, mail service 24/7


The Vine SD

Website – http://thevine.irvinecompany.com/

Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNbSMC1WCsA

101 W Broadway, Suite 1105, San Diego CA, 92101, USA

Benefits; 24/7 access, dedicated desk space, conference rooms, phone rooms, collaborative space, high speed internet & WiFi, printing, filtered water, shuffleboard



Downtown Works

Website – http://www.downtownworks.com/

Address- 550 West B Street Fourth Floor San Diego, CA 92101

Benefits; premium coffee and tea, local craft beer on tap, pet friendly, weekly happy hour, large phone booth, conference rooms



We Work B Street

Website – https://www.wework.com/

Address- Comerica Bank Building, 600 B St, San Diego, CA 92101

Amenities; Super-Fast Internet, business, class printers, unique common areas, bike storage

micro-roasted coffee, front desk service, private phone booths. community managers

daily cleaning, craft on draft, fresh fruit water, office supplies, 24/7 building access, professional & social events, mail & package handling, and a global network