Questions for MSH: Phase 5 - Designing your product


Listen up everyone, the Hack-A-Thon is raaaaapidly approaching and we are totally stoked!  Just as an FYI, all the info that we're sharing in these 'Questions for MSH' posts are a thumbnail of what we'll be doing at our 3 day Hack-A-Thon.  So if this info is a) super helpful, b) really interesting or c) EXACTLY what you're looking for, sign up on that link above.

So you're in the home stretch now!  You are inches away from building out your prototype!! There's just a few more simple steps you need to consider:

HOW do you want the product to look? Sure this might sound a little basic but, like I said, you're super close to the finish line.  One main point that you need to keep in mind is that, you going to be working with a designer very soon.  That basically means that you'll have to educate someone on a bunch of things:
 - Your industry
 - The 'problem' you're trying to solve
 - Your 'solution' (aka your product)

I get that you know all these things inside and out, but you can't count on the design to be in the same boat.  There's an old adage that says "Be an expert at what you know, and recognize what you don't know.  Once that's done, find someone that's an expert at what you don't know"  Your design is going to be an expert at something you don't know.  You're the expert on the industry & product, so you're going to have to educate your designer.  Have a clear idea of what you are trying to do and be ready to both educate your designer & to be educated by them.  Some of your ideas may need to be tweaked by your designer so be firm but flexible.

DO you fabrics/materials help solve a problem or make you unique?  Those are to very important questions.  Is it one, or the other, or both?  We've all seen it,  you can get a copy of a $900 purse on Canal Street for $80 (which is a great deal if you're into it).  Sure, you can build a business behind leveraging the 'Supply & Demand' idea in the market but you aren't really creating an innovative product.  You're just basically copying something.

Remember, at the core of your idea, you should be solving a problem.  You can absolutely solve that problem by having an innovating idea, but you can also achieve that by taking a current product and innovating it using new fabrics or materials.  By making these decisions, you are setting yourself up for success.  

There's a great example of this with the 'Ove Glove', a rework of the classic oven mitt that's built to withstand heats of 540 degrees.  They've taken a current idea and innovated the fabric.  Brillant.

FIND a designer who has experience in your market/industry? This is one point that can be tricky (which is why we're here to help).  Remember the example I mentioned before about finding a pro?  Well this is where it's incredibly important.  Now that we're starting to getting closer to the end of line (in regards to building your prototype), this is where MSH really comes into play.  The ability, past experience and skill set of your designer can make or break your product.  We have the sourcing & network connections to make sure you are able to make the right decisions.

You wouldn't ask your mechanic to remodel your bathroom, right?  Exact same situation here.  Find the right designer.

REMEMBER you are the expert in your product so prepare to educate your designer.  Yep, we're going to restate this point one more time.  You are the expert in your product, your designer is not.  You are entering into a collaborative relationship with your designer, and that distinction is super important... "COLLABORATIVE".  Firstly, the odds are that  you'll be designing a few versions (or, as the technical terms goes, 'iterations') of your product so the relationship with your designer is potentially an ongoing one.  You need to find someone that you can work with, someone that's interested in helping you and working with you.  Someone that is open to listening to your thoughts, being flexible & agile and will tell you where some of the problems would be and where they can help.

FINAL PRODUCT: BASIC DESIGN SPECS! Bingo, you've got design specs.  This is your idea, but the technical version of your idea.  This will be the beginnings of the final product that you will be sending to your manufacturer (yep, it's getting serious now).  You're about to enter the final sprint, take a breath, stay focus and keep moving forward!

We've got the connections, the input and the skill set to connect you to the right people and guide you along the way.  All you need to do is sign up for our Hack-A-Thon to leverage the full and complete power of MSH