How we use 3DEXPERIENCE Platform for Design excellence

Andrew Sparrow
10 min readFeb 17, 2020

Clicking, sketching, & improving your thoughts with your small team on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform……You’ve sat through the initial design thinking and arrived at a new and disruptive potential product. Now you’ve got to drive this new “wow, we’re excited” product through the “fight” with engineers, executives, marketers and customer specialists.

The world is changing faster than ever–socially, technologically, environmentally, politically, and economically. In the midst of these shifts, designers have the crucial task of thinking about what our future will look like and how we will interact with it.

We love new products and putting in place Processes and Technologies, while changing the mindset and ways of People involved.

Together with Bob Garrison, (XD Innovation Senior Consultant), I’ve spent time “kicking-off” and discussing some of the challenges and solutions to design better products — let’s share some of those initial findings

it’s all about the CX (Customer Experience)

Before we go in too deep, let’s set out the stage for our thinking.

As we say with our friends at Dassault Systemes, it’s the Age of Experience and this is further evidenced through the drivers of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR); our consumer need for better, smarter and more personalized products delivered faster. We expect our products to stimulate our emotions while purchasing, owning and experiencing.

A quick “pit stop, to think long-term

This being said, in referencing the 4IR, it cannot be ignored that there is a potential and even a very likely dark side. As stated in the link referenced above, there is a very real possibility that automation will displace more and more workers and relegate those who cannot adapt to low skill/low pay jobs. The wealth gap between these masses of people and those “technology artists” who continue in the higher paid sector will exacerbate tensions between human populations around the world. Indeed, this is happening now.

If a human expectation is then to have our emotions stimulated by the products we purchase, it would seem that the view of human psychology is simple and self-serving. Humans live and work better when challenged and then overcoming challenges in a positive way. Developing and bringing to market another product that stimulates an emotion for a while and then is discarded for a new product when its luster is worn seems to be a futile cycle for both the developers and the consumers.

Designing for our futures

As we see with Gen-Z, the most connected generation, there is a growing and even forceful pushback against many of the old paradigms. Climate Change, Green Tech, preservation of wild spaces and species are viewed with a sense of urgency because the world to come next is the world they must survive in.

There are start-ups in all of these areas of interest — companies that are looking to not only bring products to market and to profit from it, but to also make a distinct impact on bending the arc of human experience back on a sustainable and healthy curve.

This is the real challenge in the Age of Experience — how to build a profitable company that ideates and engineers new products that also satisfy the real human need.

When brands connect all product stakeholders, including consumers, early in the idea generation stage and engage in a digital dialogue to hone in on the best ideas, they have every chance of creating winning products.

Responsible Design & PLM

To remain here a little longer, I would then posit that early in the idea generation stage, the dialog should include how to incorporate materials and manufacturing technique that have minimal to zero impact on the environment.

Instead of only considering the lifecycle of In-Work to Frozen to Release, the new design process should consider what the final state of Obsolete really means. Is it simply a dead-end or a graveyard where poor ideas have gone to die? And what about the post-Obsolete? If I bring a product to market, should I not consider in the early design stage how that product can be decomposed for minimum impact to the environment? Is that the responsibility of the producer, the consumer, or some third-party? Should Deathcycle Management be a consideration from ideation all the way through to product delivery?

Keep communicating across the ecosystem

Ever more connected and tech-savvy, consumers can influence trends at the click of a ‘like’. To get to know them, brands need to connect before, during and after a product is released to market to hear what they have to say. In short, brands must keep those channels of communication open. They need to socialize with their market.

Today, you don’t even have to like something. Your search activity from your computer or phone track the things look for, the things you pause a moment to view, the ads you click on. When socializing with a market, it would seem to be more important to challenge your audience and to engage their participation beyond a mere like.

So, let’s be clear and start with ……

3DEXPERIENCE Platform collaborative design

What is design?

At its core, design is there to solve a specific customer problem, whether they’ve realized it already or need to be shown it.

Of course, designs evolve and should never stand still. We’re not going to get designs right the first time, and we’ll probably never, truly, get them “right.”

It’s a never-ending, outright obsessive process as things evolve and change. There’s an unmistakable rigor when it comes to creativity.

And designs should be for specific audiences, never faceless people. Know your audience and visualize them using it.

Lastly, wherever possible, even if you’re B2B, be thinking always about the end user — be thinking B2C

cross-industry, cross-solution, all operating within the realms of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

3DEXPERIENCE Platform collaborative ideation.

Anything sustainable and successful includes careful planning. Refining your idea is coming up with a plan for its design.

The business scenario today is continually changing and evolving to keep up with the pace, which means companies are regularly searching out new ideas to be explored. With the continual change comes changes in customer demands. One of the best places for companies to look for innovative ideas then is outward to customers as well as inward to companies’ internal teams, which helps to empower and recognize innovative people.

Because continual innovation is more important today than ever, collaborative idea management is a necessary path for companies to travel in order to bring about new ideas, analyze them and improve them to ensure they are considering all ideas from the right people. One of the most successful avenues for gathering necessary information for your collaborative innovation processes is a collaborative ideation platform.

Enter the most popular, holistic product ideation, design, lifecycle and manufacturing platform: The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

from an idea, a sketch to manufactured product with the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform design process.

The engineering design process is a series of steps that guides engineering teams through the solving of problems. The design process is iterative, meaning that we repeat the steps as many times as needed, making improvements along the way as we learn from failure and uncover new design possibilities to arrive at great solutions.

Guiding themes of the engineering design process are collaborative teamwork and design:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Do the background research
  3. Specify requirements
  4. Brainstorm solutions
  5. Choose the best solution
  6. Develop the solution from idea to concept to detailed design
  7. Build a prototype
  8. Test & redesign

We’ll come back here another time, but for the time being, let’s set the scene that typically lies ahead…

common problems with the design process

The design process failures.

I and many others relentlessly highlight the need to innovate and bring new products into the 4IR to fulfill the ever evolving customer wants. Despite this few who choose to and those who attempt to disrupt, frequently run into the same old design challenges and end up surprised, care of the same old reasons that have been around for many years. When you combine this with the amazing new tools ready for us to use from 3DCAD Catia, Solidworks, the hugely collaborative 3DEXPERIENCE Platform and amazing simulation applications of Simulia and Delmia, it’s shocking that lack of focus from senior managers to ensure this problems aren’t pre-empted and handled upfront:

Avoidance of pain

It surprises me when I hear how surprised so many are when people to fail to deliver what’s expected. It’s frequently the same reason — we do far more to avoid pain than we do to gain pleasure. And this is often as simple of lack of communication because it’s more painful to deal with another human than to say nothing at all.

  1. It’s less painful to do it the same old way than to make a change — the time, the fear of failure and what others might think.
  2. Failing to plan, because it takes time and that’s painful when you could be doing something more pleasurable.
  3. A bloated, isolated and departmentalized set of people means so much disconnect and time lost, not only in the design and time it takes to design the finished product, but across manufacturing and procurement.

Not bringing everyone in early and collaborating ongoing

I’m a big believer in keeping creativity at the table throughout the design process, be that from the original designers even the marketing guys to the creative manufacturers!

No decision makers

I’ve frequently seen power hungry senior managers refuse to delegate decision making authority into the design team, leaving delays, frustration and worse still repetition.

Frequent design changes

Change orders aren’t going away, because things change and just like on the field of play in sports, it’s our ability to adapt to what’s in front of us that defines our success as an organization.

Engineering is an iterative process, not a linear one. As your engineers dive deeper into the design work, some of the earlier decisions may no longer be the best solutions. You may find that the parts you specified are no longer available or won’t work as you’d expected.


Understaffing is a persistent problem in engineering departments. Here are a few more risks associated with understaffing engineering projects:

  • Failure to complete projects on time
  • Low design quality
  • High levels of stress and employee turnover
  • The inability to retain customers
  • A competitive disadvantage

Increasing product complexity

Complexity is increasing. This is happening across multiple engineering systems. And it’s not limited to products — engineering projects of all types are more complex than they’ve ever been.

Forgetting the basics of working with the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform and Design Process efficiencies

Rather than free-roaming, where everyone does their own thing, there are certain rules of design engagement.

Training? Who has responsibility and for what? Drafting standards? Brand minimum standards? Orientation axes down to the component level? How are items linked? Managing relationships and design sequencing.

Driving design with the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

As with so many problems in life, most can be overcome through the understanding of human nature’s desire to avoid pain, combined with a culture of a need to “over-communicate”. In other words work hard to get everyone communicating, more than they have ever done before.

Have everyone embrace the process of forging new ideas by collaboratively exchanging with one another socially using a web-based platform (3DEXPERIENCE).

Comprehensive design teams that engage in collaborative innovation both within their organization and throughout their extended ecosystem, based on a unified platform, can create products people want.

Digitization is, therefore, a key enabler of the creative process.

Technologies such as:

  • 3D design (Catia, Solidworks, Simulia),
  • PLM (Enovia / 3DEXPERIENCE),
  • Virtual Manufacturing (Delmia) and
  • analytics (Exalead)

are increasingly resonating with brands, and easier to use because they are more intuitive and communicative. Leading organizations that transform digitally, their operations through:

  1. leveraging consumer insights in the creative process
  2. form a social ecosystem where their is constant exchange between brand and consumer

provide the most targeted, consumer-focused products.

They therefore need to:

  1. Create a virtual space where stakeholders can form a community to exchange pictures, ideas, and inspiration using both structured and unstructured data;
  2. Capture the voice of the consumer and consolidate information from multiple sources (news feeds, blogs, websites) into logical and intelligent dashboards to detect new trends;
  3. Share ideas with merchandising, product development, purchasing, sales, marketing and even consumers. This way, everyone has a clear and joint vision for the product line. Everyone can “like” good ideas and voice their opinions.

The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is arguably the best there is for design, manufacturing and product lifecycle collaboration, however it needs the right processes and people mindset to really bring out the best of its technologies.

love to hear from you

all the best,

Andrew Sparrow & Robert Garrison

Andrew Sparrow

I drive Product Innovation & Optimization projects for companies using cutting-edge tech & software solutions to keep them at the forefront of the customer-centric 4IR

I blog, vlog & podcast passionately about our need to innovate & thrive, about managing the product lifecycle (PLM) & ever improving smarter manufacturing (MES/MOM/Digital Manufacturing). I love working with the solution vendors, the large consultancies & system integrators & helping them promote themselves & best practice, while at the same time helping deliver great projects through my networks

I love & thrive in working with some of the world’s largest companies such as Airbus, Capgemini, Dassault Systemes, Ericsson, JLR, TOTAL, Siemens, Sony, Subsea7 & Unilever, to name a few

I’m a big people-person & have spent my life meeting as many people & cultures as I can. At my last count, I am lucky enough to have visited & done business in over 55 countries

Robert Garrison

An experienced professional with a long history of leadership in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Product Lifecycle Management, Knowledge Engineering, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for mechanical and systems engineering. Strong customer-focused professional bringing exceptional problem solving capability to technology deployment, maintenance, and growth.



Andrew Sparrow

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