26th July 2020Comments are off for this post.

It is time to do it quick & dirty

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 56 seconds

Of course, I am talking about rapid prototyping. We usually assume we know exactly what our users want. We are wrong! How about we just ask them? By showing a prototype of our product or service in an early stage we can test our key assumptions in an easy and fast way. Even if the result means that our assumptions were completely wrong.

As Tom & David Kelley (2014) say: “If you want more success you have to be prepared to shrug off more failure.” The Kelleys believe in: prototyping, iterating, getting user feedback, improving and reframing if needed. Every step you should have the people you want to help in mind. (Tom & David Kelley, 2014)

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When my sister and I were little we used to prototype all the time without even knowing it. Sometimes we played with Barbie dolls. Since we had no Barbie house and our parents refused to buy one we had to come up with another solution. Our mom used to be a teacher for handicrafts. This meant we had a lot of different leftover material at home. To reduce the waste our mom kept every little piece which was big enough to create something new.

During our childhood, we used our skills and the available material to create what we needed. We didn’t think about it too much and we had no doubts about our abilities. We had a goal and we wanted to reach it fast since we wanted to continue playing. We built a closet and some clothes hangers made of cardboard and wires to store the Barbie dresses. We never thought this was an ugly solution, in contrary we were proud of it. We appreciated that we could solve our problem and then develop the product from that point on.

Nowadays many people (including me) are scared to create something functional but ugly. Somehow it is stuck in our minds that everything has to be perfect. Sometimes I wish I could get my mind back from the time when I just did things without the fear of failing.

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As Master of the Creative Economy (MACE) students we had the chance to experience a prototyping workshop with UnlimitedLab. We went to FabLab in London and learned about laser cutting, 3d printing, 3d scanning and CAD modeling.

Filmed and edited by Fernando G. Trueba

This is a place where your hands build things your brain hasn’t even thought of. According to Arduino’s Michael Shiloh (2014), the making process is like cooking. Everyone can cook an eatable meal without being a chef. So we used our skills and eventually learned something new. It is amazing what you can build within a short amount of time if you just go for it.

We created a new frame for broken headphones. Our goal was to test different material and technics. We wanted to find out what value we can create for our users. We tested the following key assumptions from the briefing that UnlimitedLab gave us:

Our users…
… are are willing to reuse waste.
… feel safe dealing with electronic components.
… want to customise objects and furniture.

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I learned that rapid prototyping will always save a lot of time in the long run. In the future, it will help me to transform and communicate my ideas. It helps to validate and make decisions. With a prototype, you are able to find out the weaknesses and change them into strength.

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UnlimitedLab is a company with values I can identify with and it was a pleasure to work together with IreneElmira and Josue.

21st September 2016Comments are off for this post.

About being happy & uncomfortable at the same time

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes 19 seconds

I never thought that I could be happy and uncomfortable at the same time. How do these two feelings even correspond with each other? Additionally, I never imagined myself publishing my thoughts and make them accessible. Here I am dealing with the unfamiliar and unexpected. I welcome you to my startup experience blog. I share insights and personal thoughts while I am building a startup with my fellow students.

The last couple of days I was exposed to new situations, unknown environments and surrounded by a huge diversity of people. I study Communication Design & the Creative Economy MA (MACE) at Kingston University London.

Neale Donald Walsch said:
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

So here I am…at the end of my comfort zone (with a big smile on my face). I’m ready to step in the rain and discover the beauty of it. I want to push my boundaries and let go of things that are holding me back. I’m aware of the things which stand in my way. Still, it’s uncomfortable to let them go since I have lived with them for a long time. Fear is one of many examples. Everyone has fears but sometimes it’s more convenient to accept a fear than to confront it. I’m grateful that I found this safe environment which allows me to confront my fears. I’m able to grow as a designer and more essentially as a person. I’m happy that I can wake up in London and attend classes with our challenging course leader Janja Song.

She explained MACE is not about what we already know, it is about how we think, approach problems and collaborate. It requires to let go old habits and make a step towards the unknown. Every fellow student has another backpack filled with experiences, skills and personality. This creates the perfect opportunity to switch the perspective and develop empathy. We can use the diversity as an advantage and use our equal mindset as the basis of our collaboration. Our study space is full of different stories, which makes leaving my comfort zone extremely worth it.

So how do happiness and uncomfortableness
correspond with each other?

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I thought a lot about what makes me happy. I believe that being uncomfortable creates opportunities for me and that makes me happy. Being uncomfortable can be scary but it also releases new energy. I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m convinced a certain level of uncomfortableness can push you further.

I promise you the next challenge is just around the corner and it is going to be very uncomfortable!


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