Thomas Ask is a Professor of Industrial Design at Penn College, which stands as a sibling institution to Penn State. With extensive experience spanning over three decades in the realm of hardware product development, he has also played pivotal roles in nurturing two hardware startups. Thomas's academic journey culminated in the acquisition of a PhD in Industrial Design, further enhancing his expertise. Today, Thomas is going to share some valuable knowledge for inventors, startups, and small manufacturers on what ethnocentric design is, why it is valuable for a hardware startup, and the process to ensure you do a great job at getting inside the mind of your customer so that you can best achieve both design and sales success for your invention product.
Today you will hear us talk about:
Defining what ethnocentric design
Subject matter expert
Inventing something and inventing something for someone
A lot of design and invention has ego, but you should take out the ego. Instead, look at data.
Identify the problem.
Develop empathy for the user. What is going on in their life.
Interview your customer, or prospective customer types.
Formal ethnographic techniques.
Processes, understand the user, ideation, feedback.
Ideation is where you create ideas to match and infuse them to what you have learned from your customer.
Cultural consensus questionnaire
First, ensure your end customers are the correct people.
A structured questionnaire.
Many people don’t want radical change from traditional methods, even if it is better.
If it doesn’t work well and it is not intuitive, people will not use it.
A dynamic feedback loop ensures success.
Thomas Ask Links:
LinkedIn | Penn College
The Product Startup Podcast Links:
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Mako Design Links:
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Kevin Mako Links:
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Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories.