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How might we design a winter jacket that pushes the boundaries of material technologies while satisfying the diverse needs of individuals in extreme climates?


Already a leader in winter apparel, our client was not satisfied with just meeting the needs of their existing customers. They approached OCAD U CO with the challenge to design a jacket that could use the most technologically-advanced materials to meet the needs of extreme users in extreme climates.


To meet this challenge, we conducted in-depth interviews with users representing a wide variety of use cases at the edges of traditional winter wear. Through these ethnography discovery sessions, we uncovered specific use cases and the deepest needs, motivations and behaviours for customers that the client was not yet serving. 

From there, we worked through our bespoke Futures Design approach to understand the underserved customers within the systems that they live within, and to unpack some of the current and future trends that are impacting winter sports, climate, fashion and more. We did this through an immersive 3-day sprint with the client. This approach allowed us to work closely with subject matter experts across their Innovation Team as well as our Future Design Associates.


Working with the extreme user customer needs as a starting point, we developed personas, customer journey maps, and developed a set of insights that served as a guide for all concept designs. Bringing these user insights together with future trends and systemic impacts, we designed and prototyped multiple jacket concepts that could meet different segments of the market in new ways.

Together with the client, we articulated the different types of innovations that each jacket incorporated— not just within product design but branching into aspects of service and full experience design, that would open new channels for the client to go to market.


At the end of the 3-day sprint, the client had new-to-market jacket concepts as well as initial strategies for how to position the jackets in the market. The market positioning gave the client the starting point to bring the jackets not just to extreme users but to also sell to existing customers in new ways. With well-articulated value propositions as well as a list of assumptions and hypotheses to test, the client was well-equipped to move into the next stage of product development and testing.

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