To put it simply, this project was about creating a business and having only 8 weeks to do so. Firstly, going through this process, it was made very clear that time waits for no person! The ideation and planning alone took up a lot of time, but overall our outcome was very strong and we managed to achieve a successful profit rate, selling out all our products.
The aim – Come up with a sell-able product or service.
The cost – £100 of seed funding.
The deadline – 8 weeks.
The initial ideation took some time, with four different disciplines working together. we were finding it hard to come up with something that would consider all our strengths and fit a hole in the market. Then eureka, bespoke birdboxes! It was simple, myself the product designer and chris the architect would be able to design and create birdboxes based on famous buildings. Jodie our graphic communicator would be able to create a great marketing campaign and branding to advertise our products and Joel the illustrator was able to make fantastic visuals and assist in the branding of our company.
Blank Canvas! Is what we called ourselves. This was because, at the time, we had no real direction for our products, and what better way to sell to design students than to give them a blank canvas to work on. More accurately, blank birdboxes they could work on.
Further down the ideation stage we realised it would be best if these bird-boxes were easily assembled, so flat packing and providing simple instructions was the way forward. We had originally hoped for around 6 designs, but due to the limited time available, myself and Chris realised only 2 designs were possible, to achieve the best quality of product in the time available to us.
At this point Joel and Jodie were working on the marketing, creating a logo and an animated advert showcasing the basic idea of our group. We thought this was a good way of telling people: when the sales day was happening and what our business was about, without giving away too much too early. As a team, we designed business cards and our little black birds that we hid around campus, again to give people the basic information needed to entice them into our business.
Then disaster struck! We were informed that a certain timber would be fantastic for laser cutting our designs to produce our product, we quickly found out (after spending a chunk of our seed fund) that this timber would not work!
Have no fear though, we were able to secure another load of timber in time to manufacture products. So, using the newly sourced materials, we managed to produce a good number of high quality products, approximately 15 of each design.
Coming up to sales day we used part of the remaining seed fund to source packaging for our birdboxes and as a team we carefully wrapped all our flatpacks, with the instructions and a business card, ready for sales day!
Then the day came, and it was brilliant. Selling out all our products, with just over an hour spare at the end of the day, totalling a great profit of around £125.
See ‘Summary’ below to see how I have further reflected on this process.
This project threw me out of my usual, technically minded comfort zone. The conversations I had have inspired the research we have done as a group and how I wanted to proceed with this project. Which is part of what field is all about.
In the first two weeks, we were tasked with mapping out our ideas onto the wall to create a detective like collage that linked all our ideas together. We spent a lot of time discussing which idea was best to move forward with and found out we were all happy with Kinetic architecture and the technology around us. So, what if the Hertzian space around us could control the buildings we walk in? Upon reflection and questioning from Steve and Martyn, we realised this idea had no ground as there was no cause for this kind of technology to exist. More on this later.
A select few of us from different groups decided to create two separate groups, as it allowed us to explore more than just one idea. This was the start of “Group C”. We wanted to take all the ideas from our mapping weeks and see if we could come up with a body of work to represent the idea of death and its meaning in society.
In a long and very thought-provoking conversation, we were throwing around question like: “What is the afterlife? Could Murder be legal if no one dies? Can people be trusted with control of death? What if too many people died and we run out of space?” Then we thought about a way of presenting these ideas. Do we use video graphics, projections? Until eventually the DUST settled, what if dust is the key?
Sometime passed and the eureka moment happened, we created the Amazon Pulse (no sponsorship from amazon or any of its products). A device than can recall the interactions of lost loved ones. One day we will have so much information on social media that a program could take all the qualities it learns about a person and re-create them. Before the death of a person, there facial emotions and daily reactions could be recorded so that the amazon pulse could even talk to you. Giving the user a much more personal experience.
This was presented using media output; photo-shopped posters, videos and models. To view the video, see previous futures blog. The whole project was summed up in the following manifesto.
When writing the manifesto, I was considering other products on amazon and I thought I would add a bit of humour. Making the manifesto an advertisement for the Pulse, informing customers about its amazing features and what it could do for you.
At the end of our presentation, we received great feedback and found that a lot of laughter was had during it. A comment that was made was, “what was the significance of the humour?” Upon reflection, I see that the humour was there to relieve the bitterness of death.
Going back to Group four, now known as “World of Bubble”. Since the idea of kinetic architecture, we thought, what if society had depleted the worlds natural resources due to a high demand for mobile phones and could we use the hertzian space around us to create an immaterial mobile phone? Below is our Manifesto:
To put this shortly, our technology, information and world could be controlled by a bubble that surrounded us. It would work using the excess energy from bad signals around us and turn them into something useful. Being married to someone would mean sharing your bubble, creating a family would connect your bubbles and therefore connect everything about you. Your personality, your data and keep your lives connected.
Our graphic designers Clare and Sarah created some great visuals to show how the world of bubble would look for a user. Along with an artefact, made by myself and Callum that shows a city of people and couples walking around.
After our presentation, I was given time to reflect on our ideas, maybe the device works like google maps where only relevant information would be stored, based on your location and the activity you were doing. When having children, the bubble would connect them to you, until they were old enough to have their own, like a parent giving their child their first phone.
Going back to the business module I would say it was very successful and helpful in planning my future projects. Earlier this year, this project was brought up again for the “Big Ideas Celebrated” competition where our idea was entered for the finals and nominated for two awards. This was very much appreciated due to the amount of effort put into this project. Even though this project turned out very well, I still learned the importance of time management and cost-effective research. The only downside of our project; was not being able to produce a higher quantity of products, which could have made us a bigger profit. So, for future reference I decided it would be best to focus on preparation and manufacturing longer. This would reduce the amount of ideation, but I think if more effort was put in, in a shorter amount of time, we may have been able come to a solution quicker.
I thoroughly enjoyed the out of the box thinking of the futures module. I see now that the world is not all about what is directly in front of you, but what could happen. There is an infinite possibility of futures ahead of us, and it’s up to our generation to decided what kind of designs will influence future generations. Even though I am a BSc product designer, I aimed to use what I learned to help with future designs; combining my technical knowledge of what already exists, with this critical aspect of design. I aim to change the way people see design and how socially and politically aimed designs can shape a different future.
Field this year has been eye opening and very engaging, with both projects being quire different from each other, I was able to learn how different design process achieve different kinds of results. Having to restrain yourself to: time, current technology and costing. This helps to really fine-tune a design and to come up with something that is really detailed and functional. It helps to understand todays process and shows you exactly what kind of work can be done in a limited time scale. Compared to a very forward-thinking project, that allows you to broaden your horizons and think beyond what is possible today. Imagine the possibilities of the future and what designers of the 22nd century will be able to do. Will there be fully sustainable energy sources? How would we all communicate? What would transport be like?
Being able to combine these two different approaches has influenced my design work. When designing for subject project I have been considering the processes learned in my field modules designing products that are forward thinking; with contemporary design and sustainable factors, but still able to be manufactured today. What would my products cost to maximise productivity, function and durability? How would they consider environmental factors? How could I recover any materials used to produce a sustainable market?
Overall, both projects have been very enjoyable and I can see that they have impacted my work and how I approach a new brief. I believe I could still improve my work by focusing on time management and prioritising more important tasks. Apart from that, I am happy with my outcomes and look forward to using these practises in the future.