Stories of Electrolux: From intern to senior industrial designer

Working creatively comes naturally for Davide Benvenuti. He started sketching ideas as a boy and turned that talent into a career designing appliances that help top chefs stay at the top of their game. This is the second in a series of stories where we are spotlighting employees who have been nominated by their colleagues as role models in how to shape living for the better.

Davide Benvenuti began his career at Electrolux in 2005 with an internship in the Professional design department in Pordenone, Italy. Today, thanks to an inspiring mentor and a passion for creating breakthrough innovations, he is a senior industrial designer within Electrolux Professional.

He has worked on award-winning products such as thermaline, the premium cooking range for professionals, and is known for being innovative. Davide is now improving and adopting tools to gain consumer insights for our products. He’s also driving Electrolux Professional to become an industry leader in ergonomics and usability.

Why are you passionate about your role?

Because it’s a constant exploration of people— we need to understand consumer’s needs, feelings and behavior. We need to make a connection with people and make the most of it. And because of all this, the job is a constant inspiration to me.

To create successful ideas you need to reach the perfect balance between three elements:

  • Feasibility: What is functionally possible
  • Viability: If it is sustaining our business model
  • Desirability: If it makes sense to people

I enjoy the complexity of balancing these elements. You cannot create by just sitting at a desk.

How do you go about interpreting consumer’s needs?

Basically we try to observe what they don’t do and listen to what they don’t say. We gather knowledge through customer interviews, observations and ethnographic research.

After learning about the user’s experience through his actions, feelings, pain points and needs, then we create visual maps. Finally we meet in cross-functional teams to scope future opportunities and converge on the most promising ones.

What does shape living for the better mean to you?

It means to improve people’s lives, particularly our customer’s lives. And also to make the world a better place. For me personally, it’s wonderful when I find out that I helped to make even just one person’s experience in the kitchen, for instance, easier.

What has been your biggest success?

I’ve actually had two. Thermaline was designed to be the most innovative professional kitchen in the hospitality business. It was a real change from a usability perspective as for the first time we introduced displays to visualize the functions’ status. Handles and knobs were designed to create the best ergonomic experience.

Second, I had a personal success with an internal event where employees were asked to create innovative new product ideas. It was an important step in my growth since my ideas were directly evaluated by colleagues and made it to the finals twice. Having the chance to present my new product proposals directly to the top management and the CEO was a thrilling and fascinating experience and I’ve grown a lot through that interaction.

Can you explain what a designer in your role does?

Today, the role of a designer is a blend of humanistic, artistic and technological disciplines. We must know people in terms of their behavior, feelings and emotions to understand what product or service they will need in the future. Then we need creativity to envision and generate desirable solutions.

Soon we will be getting deeper into the practice of design thinking. We will translate observations into insights and insights into products and services that will improve people’s lives. I believe we can really make a difference and do something unique in our business.