3M Customer Innovation Centers
Unlocking customer value across the globe

Client 3M
Industry Manufacturing & IndustrialRetailTechnologyTransportation
Services Experiential spacesLighting designMechanical engineeringProduct designService design

From Sweden to South Africa to Saudi Arabia, we’ve designed eight customer innovation centers for 3M, translating the brand values of the technology giant to each culture and market, while staying coherent with the global 3M brand.

Creating Customer Innovation Centers

A Customer Innovation Center is a space where the public can enter and interact with our client’s brand. A strategic narrative is designed to evoke a dialogue through storytelling and hands-on contact with technologies. Our tailored customer innovation centers are executed in an integrated approach using persuasive design, interaction, and interiors to orchestrate customer inspired innovation and a lasting memory for guests. DGI expressed 3M from its core, an innovator that links products, technology platforms, and science with people’s needs. Our goal was to express the brand through an informative and interactive process. DGI has designed eleven Customer Innovation Centers for 3M. Although each CIC has identical 3M values, brand pillars, and technology platforms, they differ as they are culturally adapted for their location. The CICs create customer inspired innovation by actively engaging customers through the use of demo tools and storytelling in order to create remarkable experiences.

For every individual CIC we focused on a three-part narrative strategy that enabled 3M to connect with customers on various levels.

  1. 3M Works – A dramatic presentation area of discovery to spark curiosity and build anticipation.
  2. How 3M works – A main innovation space to embrace play and physical interaction. This space allows for interaction with the brand while generating memorable shared experiences.
  3. How 3M can work for You – A collaborative space to foster open dialogue and design around customer needs.

The challenge

3M Norway recently moved its headquarters to a new building in the rapidly developing Lillestrøm area nearby Oslo, and needed a new Customer Innovation Center (CIC) to showcase its technologies to customers, suppliers, staff and other stakeholders. The company was simultaneously going through an organizational transformation, and this infusion of new energy needed to be reflected in the new CIC. Having worked closely together with 3M since 2002, including designing CICs for them in Romania, Italy and Peru, to name a few, 3M trusted us with creating yet another one—this time in Norway.

Our solution

We created a warm, experiential, immersive space with custom-made demo tools where 3M can meet with and build relationships with its stakeholders. The design is inspired by its Scandinavian context, yet it still highlights the global 3M values. The new CIC enhances the new direction of the company and facilitates the organizational change. The tailor-made solution integrates digital, interior, product and graphic design seamlessly in its interactive storytelling. We followed the project from conceptual planning through to installation, delivering the keys to the completed CIC.

New building, new beginning

The old CIC was a product-centric showroom with a vast range of products on display. For the new one, we took a more emotional and experiential approach, communicating a new direction in the company and reinforcing the 3M brand values. We created a welcoming space with warm ​colors and natural materials, including wood. The focus was on humanizing the 3M brand and facilitating relationship-building.

Designing for organizational change

The new CIC allows the staff of 3M Norway to tangibly experience the new direction of the company. We used design to help facilitate gradual change. For example, to help ease the move away from the product-focused CIC, we created a clever drawer solution, which allows for storage of additional products.

Interactive storytelling to bring the brand to life

Instead of just displaying products on the shelves, we wanted to tell stories. Why are they important? How are they used? So we created interactive product stories that highlight the key messages of 3M in an engaging and entertaining way. Hands-on interactions with the products are supported by digital demo tools, with the effect of creating lasting, memorable experiences for 3M customers.

Seamless integrated design

Our team handled every aspect of this 3M project: Experiential space designers created the space and the interiors, with support from our lighting designers, and product designers designed the custom-made furniture. Service designers contributed to the customer experience, the digital team created the demo tools, and graphic designers took care of the signage and design embedded in demo tools.

Thanks to our professionals with diverse skillsets, we were able to reduce friction, work faster and adapt an agile approach, working fast and closely together with the client as one team every step of the way from ideation on through to installation, ultimately handing over the keys to the ready-to-inaugurate 3M Norway CIC.


The new 3M Norway CIC opened in September 2017. Hands-on experiences and interactive stories educate customers who come to the CIC about 3M products in an engaging way. The center also has a lounge for connecting on a human level with customers. Employees and customers alike can directly feel the re-energized 3M organization when they step through the doors of the new CIC in Norway.

3M Nordic Innovation Center

3M Customer Innovation Center
Saudi Arabia

3M Customer Innovation Center

3M Customer Innovation Center

In Italy, we worked together with 3M to create both their Customer Innovation Center (CIC), Customer Tecnology Center (CTC) and the shop. These experiential spaces are tools for 3M to engage with their customers, and in transforming their perception from supplier to partner. The Innovation Center highlights the new innovative technologies that 3M is known for. The Technology Center is where companies can develop custom solutions together with 3M. The shop was redesigned to also include a display area. Presentation materials are managed and highlighted with lighting through an iPad by the host.

The spaces were inspired by the experience of exploring a centre of a little historic Italian town. After walking through narrow streets, discovering exciting things along the way, you find your way to a piazza, where you sit down for a cup of coffee and a conversation.
Physical demo tools designed and manufactured by DGI allow visitors to experiment with 3M products directly. By placing objects on the desk, video content starts automatically.

3M Shop

The 3M store is part of the 3M Customer Innovation Center Italy. The 3M store acts as the last stop on the 3M CIC tour to close the loop of the journey. The main space divides into three market areas: Office, home, and leisure. The attention to detail and use of materials gives a feeling of entering a design store and allows visitors to discover 3M as part of their daily lives.

3M Customer Innovation Center
South Africa

3M Customer Innovation Center

3M Customer Innovation Center

The 10th 3M Customer Innovation Center designed and implemented by Design Group Italia. The 3M Romania CIC is an interactive journey for guests to discover 3M technologies, products, and market applications that are found in our everyday lives.

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