Features, Benefits, Assumptions, and Tradeoffs

When you design a product or system for a customer, you are designing an experience for them. So it's important to think about the relationship between the features that you choose and how they affect your customer's experience. Let's take a food processor. And let's say that the feature that the design team is discussing … Continue reading Features, Benefits, Assumptions, and Tradeoffs


Mixing Your Own

When you get good at looking at paintings, you can tell if an artist uses colors straight out of the tube or mixes their own. Straight out of the tube isn't good or bad, it's just something that you notice. Some painters mix their own colors. Some sculptors forge their own tools. Some fashion designers design … Continue reading Mixing Your Own

Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Progress

Perfectionists get into trouble when the high expectations that they set for their work prevent them from making and sharing it. Better to make something that's "good enough" and share it than to not make anything at all. Why? Because if you make something, you make progress on developing your idea. And if you share something, … Continue reading Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Progress

When you have all of the pieces but you don’t know how they fit

If you are a person who makes things, you've experienced this phenomenon quite a bit. Like when you go to the grocery store and pick up a bunch of tasty ingredients but don't yet know what you'll do with them. Or when you're working on a proposal and you gather all of the data you need … Continue reading When you have all of the pieces but you don’t know how they fit

Don’t Treat Customers Like Post-its

"Design Thinking" and "Customer Discovery" have an endurance problem. "Design Thinking" is a creative practice that aims to help engineering types put humans, rather than technical features, at the center of their design process. But it's often confused with a fun activity at beginning of a project--a brainstorm with a thousand post-its. Post-its have become … Continue reading Don’t Treat Customers Like Post-its

Use Off-the-Shelf Parts for Early Prototypes

for inventors of smart devices and systems Once you have an idea for a smart device or system and an understanding of the needs of your customers as well as the features and benefits that your competition provides, you need to do some prototyping. Your first prototypes are for internal use with your team. You want … Continue reading Use Off-the-Shelf Parts for Early Prototypes