Newell Rubbermaid to drive growth through design-led innovation

Newell Rubbermaid has opened a state-of-the-art design center in Kalamazoo, Mich., joining a growing list of design-driven companies that recognize design and innovation as a competitive advantage.

"The opening of our new Design Center represents another step forward in our ambition to become a design and innovation led company," said president and CEO Michael Polk. "Our pipeline of new products is strengthening, and with the Design Center now operational, we will further the development of new ideas that distinguish our brands in the marketplace. Newell's new design center is a great example of our growth game plan in action."

The company embarked on building the new 40,000-sq.-ft. facility to foster creativity and maximize the sharing of ideas and technologies among the company's brands. The large, open studio space has Immersion labs for each of the company's business segments where design and marketing teams can evaluate product prototypes and develop product roadmaps. New designs can be built, tested and painted in the on-site model shop. A usability lab will enable the newly created usability team to interact with consumers and end-users. There is also a professional photography studio.

Approximately 100 professionals will staff the center when it is at full capacity.

"We have conversations with millions of consumers through our products every day, and through great design and innovation we will elevate these conversations to a new level," said chief design and research and development officer Chuck Jones. "Our new design center brings together all the disciplines in design and innovation under one roof to collaborate across our entire portfolio of great brands."

The design center is located at the heart of the vibrant Southwestern Michigan community of design-led companies including Herman Miller, Steelcase, Whirlpool, Stryker and Wolverine, as well as a growing Michigan-based educational community that includes Western Michigan University, The College for Creative Studies and Cranbrook Academy.

"We appreciate the support of Governor Rick Snyder, the State of Michigan, Southwest Michigan First, the City of Kalamazoo and Western Michigan University to help make our new design center a reality," said Polk. "Kalamazoo is the ideal location to plant the seeds for bigger, better innovations that will build our brands for the long term."