Innovating for a Sustainable Future
Interview with Tiago Abreu, Home Eco X-Lab at TCL Design Innovation Center (DIC)
Tiago Abreu
Home Eco X-Lab at TCL Design Innovation Center (DIC)
I. Introduction
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at TCL?
I work within the Home Eco X-Lab at TCL Design Innovation Center (DIC). I am responsible for developing new value propositions for the company's future by delivering incremental innovations and concept into TCL's new product pipeline, using design thinking and strategy methodologies.

II. Role of the Design Innovation Center at TCL
What is the role of the Design Innovation Center at TCL, and how it contributes to the company's overall vision and mission?
The Design Innovation Center (DIC) at TCL is critical to the company's overall vision and mission. We work with the various Product Business General Managers and the CEO to ensure that the company's vision regarding design is consistent and aligned with its overall strategy.
DIC leads all design expertise and departments from the different Business units to ensure a consistent design experience and Design language across a multicategory product portfolio.

The DIC includes various organizational elements, synthesizing advanced technology with new materials to create products that impact the needs of people and the planet. It also includes design strategy, visual communication, mobile eco-product design, home eco-product design, and user experience design teams that innovate the design of personal mobile devices as well as home appliances, and create a unified TCL brand experience through user interfaces or interaction design elements. DIC identifies new socio-culture and lifestyle trends and translates findings into the company's overall design strategy. Through user insights, craft, and accumulated technological expertise, the team develops a near-to-mid-long-term design strategy, which guides the end-to-end design of TCL's multi-category portfolio.

The Design Innovation Center plays a vital role in contributing to TCL's overall vision and mission of providing affordable and innovative solutions to consumers through a diverse ecosystem of smart devices.

III. Approach to Concept Device Design
How does TCL approach the design of its concept devices, and how do you see the role of these devices in the industry?
TCL approaches the design of its concept devices by developing Advanced Exploration Projects that align with the company's technology and product teams' roadmap and PESTLE analysis insights.
These concepts aim to land in different times in future. Concepts are a strategic tool that predicts a possible future reality and helps evaluate and build upon a prospective future.

TCL's Digital Innovation Center (DIC) initiates these concepts to forecast the value for customers, users, and markets, decrease the level of risk, and further align departments to a common goal.
TCL's concepts, such as the TCL Dune and TCL Telly Table, are novel to the market and provide meaningful competitive edges.

Concept like TCL Art TV Series are more than just a simple updated version of whatever was made in the past; these products have a tangible landing ability and a proven track record of interest.

TCL's concept devices aim to tease the market, test feedback, evaluate these concepts freely and showcase the company's capability and future opportunities.

IV. Incorporating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices into Design
How does TCL incorporate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices into its design process, and how does this impact the company's products and customers?
TCL has integrated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices into its design process in several ways. Firstly, we prioritize selecting certified and accredited suppliers with excellent resource exploration and usage practices, ensuring a better environmental impact. Secondly, we showcase possibilities for product decision-making teams to choose less impactful materials, which aligns with TCL's ecological responsibilities. Additionally, TCL focuses on better design process selection, such as evaluating finishes used in our products, namely using plant-based coatings whenever possible.

TCL is committed to reducing waste and enhancing our environmental impact through sustainable packaging design. We've created a new TV packaging design that can be reused as a cabinet, reducing waste and giving users extra storage space. We have initiated testing in specific markets, such as Mainland China, and intend to gradually extend to other global regions. Additionally, we've created TCL Care, which offers features like colourblind filters and voice control for people with disabilities. These features have been available since January 2022 and have already been used by millions of households worldwide. We strive to integrate ESG practices into our design process to enhance our impact on the environment, customers, and products.

V. Standardization and Unification of Design
How do you think standardization and unification of design style and design language for all category products impacts TCL and its customers?
Standardizing and unifying of design style and language for all category products can significantly impact TCL and its customers. Design language, which encompasses material selection, shape and form, icons, and usability, is a crucial tool for brands to create an identity and communicate values to customers. Therefore, TCL must have consistent design language across its product portfolio to endorse the brand and convey its vision. Over the last four years, TCL has been rapidly scaled up its business globally, achieving a top market share ranking globally. Now, as the company moves into the second step of strengthening its brand and reaching out to younger generations and global users, a consistent visual language is needed to create the company's Design DNA. This is particularly important as TCL combines multi-category products. To achieve this, the company has developed a design philosophy that connects inspiration and greatness with natural aesthetics. This philosophy is exemplified by the transition from the HORIZON design language to the EMOTRIC design language, which combines emotional elements with geometric shapes. By aligning its design language with the brand's pillars and vision, TCL can create a consistent image and provide its customers with a tangible way to understand the brand through its products.

VI. Contribution to Milan Design Week
What does the contribution of TCL at Milan Design Week mean to the company, and what message does TCL hope to convey through its exhibit at the event? Why did TCL choose to participate in this event at this particular time?
TCL's participation in Milan Design Week greatly benefits the company regarding exposure, recognition and inspiration. Milan is known for its rich culture and design heritage. Being part of Milan Design Week means TCL will be internationally recognized and tagged with high design quality and lifestyle. The event is an opportunity for TCL to showcase its products and connect with a large creative hub of innovators and designers, understand the latest trends, and discover emerging designers and talents that can bring value to TCL's design powerhouse. This is important for TCL's inspirational value and for learning new designs that can cope with the needs of future generations. TCL's brand maturity level and design stability have enabled it to enter Milan Design Week with confidence and trust in its design ability, which is now bigger and better than before. By participating in the event, TCL aims to improve its connection with customers and the markets it wishes to engage with while also enhancing the value of design in its branding and communication efforts.

VII. Closing questions
How do you envision TCL's design innovation strategy contributing to the future of the European market?
TCL's design innovation strategy has the potential to contribute significantly to the future of the European market by driving research and innovation through each potential local market. The ambition is to link design with business to serve better customers and local needs, which can support business growth through innovation. This 'Glocal' approach is necessary for TCL to understand better and meet the needs and behaviours of customers in local markets, leveraging user-centric design, delivering design differentiation backed by micro-trends that ultimately impacting business success.
About TCL Electronics
TCL Electronics (1070.HK) is one of the world's fastest-growing consumer electronics companies and one of the world's leading television and mobile device manufacturers (TCL Communication is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TCL Electronics). For more than 40 years TCL has operated its own manufacturing and R&D centers worldwide, with products sold in more than 160 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. TCL specializes in the research, development and manufacturing of consumer electronics ranging from TVs, mobile phones, audio devices and smart home products as part of the company's smart connected ecosystem strategy. For more information on TCL mobile devices, please visit:

TCL is a registered trademark of TCL Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Alcatel is a trademark of Nokia used under license by TCL Communication.