Tag: Kevin Back

Hot Pop Factory

(no questions prepared beforehand)

Today we visited Hot Pop Factory, a 3d printing studio. There we were given a talk about the studio and the design process they use. A common program that Hot Pop uses is Rhino. They use this program to produce models and mock-ups of small products and even things like architecture. Through Rhino, Hot Pop is able to produce designs that can be customized with variable parameters such as custom jewelry and sculptures. Much of the time was spent discussing designing digital products with variable parameters. They showed us example of such designs including a stadium in Ottawa, triangle/circle/square jewelry, and an eameschair sculpture. Much of the time was also spent discussing the applications and limitations of 3d printing technology relative to 3d modelling technology. A great application example that was shown to us was a set of 3d printed heads for Pez dispensers. We also were shown some game figurines that demonstrated the limitations of 3d printing in regards to fine detail models.

I found this visit very interesting. I certainly enjoyed getting an inside look at the 3d printing world. I did not realize how difficult it was to convert a 3d model to a physical model, nor the financial implications of attempting to make a product with this technique. I also learned a lot about the applications of generative design. After seeing such a practical use for both 3d printing and generative/computer aided design, I feel much more confident in my ability to apply and use these skills after post-secondary educaton. I enjoyed this visit and have learned a sufficient amount about this section of the DIY/maker industry.

IMG_20150310_185440(Rob Ford meth pipe)



(no questions prepared beforehand)

Today a speaker from Indiegogo came to speak to us. He spoke much about the relationship between designer and user and how it relates to crowd funding. He addressed how crowd funding allows for a more involved development process, providing possible users/consumers a way to give feedback early in the design process. This allows for the designer to continuously improve their product and tailor it to the needs of the consumer. He also addressed the concept of getting users to feel like having/using your product is something special and/or creating a sense of urgency in regards to participating in the special experience. By invoking a sense of exclusivity and/or urgency, consumers will flock to one’s product because of their own desires instead of following trends. The first people to usually flock to something new, the speaker referred to as “champions”. Through crowd funding, it is easier to reach out to champions because of the early involvement of consumers in development.

I felt as though this talk was quite insightful. I certainly learned about many new approaches to attracting consumers. Prior to this talk I was unaware of the benefits of crowd funding aside from not having to reimburse investors. Given what I have learned I am certainly more comfortable with the idea of crowd funding now and I am keen on using it at some point in the future. The idea of a “champion” is also one that I will certainly reference when designing future products and I am intent on incorporating the ‘urgency’ concept into future marketing plans. Considering what I have learned about crowd funding and its apparent impact on the design industry, I feel that crowd funding may become a standard part of the design process in the near future.


Week 4: Sales

This Tuesday, class time was spent in the lobby of 100 McCaul selling our products. This was a huge learning experience and taught me much about the selling process. For example, I learned about the need to prepare for absolutely anything; selling was more difficult than predicted. A group of graduate students was selling baked good right next to us, and this made selling our cookies more difficult. One thing that was easy about selling our product was that we didn’t need to explain or justify it as they were cookies. This meant that if a customer approached the table out of interest, that they would not have needed to be convinced of the usefulness of our product; customers already knew exactly what was in front of them.

For the future, we will plan for the unexpected (i.e. another bake sale). Another improvement that can be made is in our advertising. We produced a great animation for sales day, and advertised through social media, but it seemed as though this was not enough to attract as many customers as we had wanted and will be improved upon in the future.

Week 3

This Friday in class we reviewed our business plans. We reviewed our plans for strengths and weakness in pairs, each student reviewing the others work. Through this exercise we were able to learn about the writing style that one might use in a business plan. I found the exercise very helpful for my report as it taught me about using succinct information in a report and not sugar-coating or embellishing the strengths and weaknesses of one’s business.

Business plans need to have clear and confident information and maintain an accurate depiction of a business or product. I applied the knowledge of my weaknesses and limitations from the peer review to the content of my report. I have slightly changed my writing and layout,  and now have a more polished and appropriate business plan.

Week 3: User Experience Testing

This Tuesday we focused mainly on experience/interface testing in regards to a product. This can be done one of two main ways: either by examining research/studies that are already in existence or by organizing a study of you own. By doing this, one can learn what flaws a product might have and how those flaws can take away from a user’s experience. For a portion of class, we tested some of our classmates products. In general, the major flaws present were usually related to physical execution rather than the product’s design. Our product was a cookie, so nothing unanticipated really happened during our user testing.

A great example of a product that did very poorly at evaluating its flaws is the video game Assassin’s Creed: Unity. The game has a multitude of bugs and glitches present in the single player experience. Most of these  would have been corrected prior to the games launch had there been enough user testing to define them all. There was very little testing done and as a result there are still blatant problems with the product.

Week 2: Business Plans and Reports

This week in class we discussed putting together a business plan. A business plan documents and/or details the various elements of a business (i.e. target audience, cost of production, etc.). These plans can be very useful to a business that is trying to receive funding from an investor. Investors want to know whether or not a business will make them back their money or not, and compiling a business plan allows for this message to be delivered in a clear and professional manner. The business plan also is a benefit to the members of the business itself as the act putting together such a plan forces business members to focus on the important aspects of their product/business.

This weeks readings also discussed business plans and how to put them together well. These articles taught me about the importance of addressing budget in a business plan and that some plans may fail due to improper predictions of sale/cost. By reading these articles and making a business plan during the in-class exercise, I learned the importance of organization within a business (in this case a business plan/report) and I learned the complexity of planning a business strategy for a product.

Week 2: Business Structures and Business Functions

This Tuesday in class we looked at the way a business is structured and what function that business serves. We discussed how the digital and industrial revolutions have played a role in business structures. We took a look at a case study for making sprinklers in the 1940’s and compared the problems faced to those that may be faced today. We also examined different possible funding models for a business and what implications each has for the organization.

For the other portion of class we worked in our groups on the current assignment. We mainly were working on our groups’ prototypes. My group’s prototype (cookie QR codes) needs some tweaking, but is well underway.

Week 1: Business and Idea development

This week we worked on generating ideas and coming up with a business plan. This is the same stage we are at with the current assignment. The assignment for class is to come up with a business idea in groups and sll our products to raise money for our New York trip later this semester. The group who raises the most money will also be receiving a prize of some sort. This will add a competitive edge to the assignment and will hopefully lead to more money being raised for New York.

All in all I learned that early business planning can be difficult. It is always important to evaluate your business model very carefully and to address both micro and macro issues.

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