In 2015, the European Climate Foundation launched a new initiative called I2-4C (Industrial Innovation for Competitiveness), a platform dedicated to developing and promoting an industrial strategy in order to secure the European industry’s competitive advantage through innovation.
Penrose was asked to develop a website meant to illustrate the initiative, disseminate the latest news and showcase the initiative’s work, making it readily available to the public. What we did was helping the client to give shape to their vision and translating it in a web showcase visually appealing and easy to navigate.
Since I2-4C was a new project, the biggest challenges was the need to establish the platform from scratch, with no foundations to be built upon. During the initial phase of the work, the client did not have a detailed idea of how the platform was going to be, so we had to make that vision emerge throughout the various phases of the work and comprehensive feedback sessions.
The final result aimed at being something simple but engaging, that would be of use both for internal users as well as a wider audience of policymakers, business leaders and academics interested in industrial policy, innovation and climate change.
At the beginning, the client did not have a clear understanding of what they wanted for the website in terms of functionality. Thus, the development processes was a trial and error exercise, that concluded with the development of a fully functional platform.
Taking into account the initial requirements of the client, we decided after a round of brainstorming that the best solution was the creation of a minimal viable product (MVP) that acted as a landing page and information hub.
After a couple of months, the client realised that they needed to be able to modify content or add articles. We discussed in depth with the client and decided that the best technical solution was to implement WordPress as content management system.
This backup solution proved to be inefficient - after a round of feedback received from users and the project team, we proposed to them a platform instead of a website. Thus, we had to start from scratch on the technical part and keep the visual identity intact. By communicating with the client each step of the process, we were able to develop a platform which allowed users to register and upload their own content. Moreover, the platform also worked as a private centralised document repository, that proved to be a useful tool for their members and stakeholders.
To accomplish the feeling of easiness in the navigation and in the general experience with the website, we tried to steer away from a more traditional approach and instead we focused on giving the platform the look and feel of a mobile app.
The biggest challenge in terms of design was that of expressing the idea of industrial innovation without resorting to traditional concepts like cogs and wheels, or one of the usual references to the heavy industry sector. Instead, we chose to use a predominantly dark color scheme and combined it with shades of blue and green to recall the ideas of energy and industry and give the feeling of a dark sky illuminated by Northern lights.
The I2-4C project was challenging, both in terms of technology used and the specific requirements. All in all, the end result is one that we are proud of, a statement of what a good collaboration between us and the client can result in.
Furthermore, we are proud of the fact that the platform we created for I2-4C is not just a beautiful piece of design and technology, it is a highly functional instrument used by the client and its stakeholders.