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  • Designing for the Future

    September 13, 2016
    The new 3M Design Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
    • Angela Pan, Senior Industrial Designer, in the new 3M Design Center.

      By Angela Pan, Senior Industrial Designer, 3M Design

      With the grand opening of the new 3M Design Center comes new momentum to leverage Design to strengthen 3M as a company – which means there has never been a more exciting time to be an industrial designer at this company.

      As an industrial designer, I use human-centered design approaches and combine form, function and trends to inform solutions that meet the needs of our customers and brands. This month marks my five-year anniversary at 3M. I’ve been lucky to work with a variety of 3M businesses on solutions that truly “improve every life” (that’s straight from our company vision, which guides everything we do). That could be a Command product that helps people make a space their own, or a Futuro support that is made to help relieve back pain for women.

      There are so many product categories to play in at 3M, which makes it an exciting challenge to dive into a new project. A recent example is the technology-packed PELTOR Sport Hearing Protector.

      When I first joined the 3M Corporate Research Lab as an intern, I had no idea what I was walking into. I soon discovered the incredible technical community behind 3M innovation. 3M may be a broad and diverse global enterprise with thousands of employees, but the culture is intimate and connected which helps foster fast access and collaboration across functions, businesses and geographies.

      With this type of environment, the opportunities are almost limitless. I remember the excitement of contributing to my first 3M patent and seeing a Command hook I designed on the shelves of some of our consumer retail partners. Knowing how Command products can work in a range of environments, whether it’s at home, in the dorm or in a business, is really energizing.

      As part of 3M Design, I not only work with marketing, insights and engineering to develop new products, but I also work with a variety of other creative design professionals on a global level: brand, graphic, user experience designers and design researchers. The new 3M Design Center provides our multi-disciplined design team with a centralized creative space which enables knowledge and inspiration sharing to elevate and enhance our solutions.

      Looking ahead, I’m excited about the possibilities and opportunities for new products and experiences that help our company grow. And it’s especially rewarding at a company like 3M, where that kind of work makes a real difference to people around the world.