Workshopping Design with Brainpool

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Last month, we hosted an event to introduce designers and technologists to members of Brainpool, a collective of experts that are passionate about using design to create positive impact. We set up six tables dedicated to different stages of the design process and encouraged questions, open discussion, and of course, doodling. Here were some of the takeaways from the evening.

1. Design Research 

Love/hate reactions to a design can be a good thing. This feedback can give you a clear idea of what you need to iterate on. A select group of people loving your design is better than everyone “kind of liking it.”

2. Engineering for People 

Quantify your design ideas through user research and identify both performance requirements and design requirements. Prototype these ideas as quickly as possible to validate them with your target audience. Test and iterate.

3. You Are Your Brand 

Honesty and transparency need to be core pillars in everything that you do. Uphold these values whether you’re announcing a new product or working through delays or setbacks.

4. Enterprise for Social Good 

Profit and impact don’t have to be at odds. Focus on clearly communicating your value and your values. Here’s more from moderator Jonathan Cedar on how Biolite balances mission, impact and profit.

5. Gender and Technology 

The majority of all design and innovation professionals are male, despite the fact that the majority of all products and services are bought by women. This gap leads to mismatched priorities, oversights, and a reliance on gender stereotypes. When researching product-market fit, be inclusive and use research methods that are considerate of everyone that you're hoping to reach.

6. Beyond Kickstarter 

 As you move from prototyping to production, think about intellectual property protection, regulatory requirements, testing, and packaging. When you’re ready to expand your reach and hit the store shelves, plan ahead and factor in retailer margin requirements as well as marketing costs.

Special thanks to Dan, Karla, Sachiko, Arsenio, Adriana, Pablo, Natalia, Jonathan, Yvonne, and everyone else who participated to help make this a great evening.

Interested in joining our next event or getting some help with your Design or Technology project? Try these resources:

Download our one-sheet of tips from the creators behind Gramovox, Studio Neat, and more.

Here’s a list of pointers to help you share your prototype, whether it’s fully functional or an early mock-up.

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