The journey from idea to product
While developing reMarkable 2, Mats Herding, Chief Design Officer, documented how thin each and every component in the product could be – in micrometres. The thinner the reMarkable 2 became, the more it would feel like writing on paper.
“Paper doesn’t take up much room in a bag or on a desk. We wanted to create something that is light and feels light – and our greatest ambition was of course to create the world’s thinnest tablet. That was our goal.”
The problem, explains Mats, is that you can’t simply stack all the various components on top of each other and expect the product to be as thin as paper. We had to be innovative in terms of shape, placement, and materials.
When reMarkable 1 was launched, reMarkable was still a young and inexperienced company. Mats says that the first device primarily functioned as proof. Proof of the writing experience and proof that big dreams could come true.
“We were a small team that had to learn everything for the first time. Then we had to make a few compromises. When we started on reMarkable 2, we wanted to win all the battles we didn’t win last time. We wanted to refine the idea and the experience.”
“We were literally running around in China, trying to encourage people to think differently. The electronics industry appears extremely innovative, but it’s surprisingly reluctant to change. We were trying to disprove everyone who told us it wasn’t possible.”
The electronics industry is dominated by mobile phones, so all suppliers are geared up for this product. reMarkable wanted to make something half as thick and twice as big – a brand new tool for a completely different purpose.
“We had to get the manufacturers to reconsider the way they create their components. We had to tell people repeatedly that it was possible to do it. Finally, the suppliers agreed.”
Belief in the team
Mats says that the combination of ambition and belief in a vision is what allows us to accomplish what others say is impossible.
“Many suppliers were sceptical and wanted to continue the same type of production. However, this time we had more muscle and more confidence. Rational thinking told us that our vision and ambition for the product were possible, so we continued to push.”
Mats believes that the influence employees have at reMarkable is unlimited.
“At reMarkable, we are always encouraged to use our initiative. You will never be told what to do or how to do it. This presents huge opportunities. Other companies have very strict process descriptions for every single project. This is not how we want things done. We want to give people confidence and more opportunities to solve problems and develop products with different approaches …”
For Mats, the future involves building Norway’s most attractive design environment. reMarkable’s design department currently has a multidisciplinary composition that is very rare in Norway. He believes that this in itself is a unique opportunity for designers looking to develop themselves. Our goal is to become a global player – one of the biggest.
“So, we need to take on some major challenges and make some ambitious pledges, but we are used to that.”