The Netflix $1 Million prize and package design research

netflix2.480Is it possible that computer scientists might help the consumer products industry with fundamental package design research? Could the same kind of software that helps Netflix customers choose their favorite movies, or iTunes customers their favorite music, also be used to help consumers choose their favorite package design directions? Just maybe.

Noticed a piece today in It reported that Netflix had awarded a $1 million prize to a group of computer researchers for a better piece of software that could do a more efficient job of accurately predicting what movie customers would like. I don’t pretend to be a statistician but the concept seems applicable to package design.

If it is worth $1 million to Netflix to more accurately predict customer preference, what could this be worth to large consumer product companies?

Here is another link to the coverage of the contest.


The photo above was taken by Ozier Muhammad for the New York Times. It shows Robert Bell, left, and Chris Volinsky, among the seven-person winning team of statisticians, machine-learning experts and computer engineers from the United States, Austria, Canada and Israel, called BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos.


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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