Welcome to The Marketing Suite and The Workshop at the Northern Design Quest
Led by Design Network North the Design Quest allows you to follow in the footsteps of a designer. You will have the opportunity to design your very own product, using products created in the region to inspire and demonstrate the design journey.
The Marketing Suite is where your ideas start to come to life. One of the most important things to think about when creating a new product is, ‘why will people want to use it?’.
You might think your idea is the greatest thing ever invented, but if people can’t see why it will make their life better, or how it will help them do something more easily, it will be very difficult to convince them to buy it.
So you need to be very clear about the different features your product has, and how they will appeal to the customers you are targeting.
The best way to think about what your customers want is to put yourself in their shoes. You may have already done this at the Ideas Lab, where you created customer personas, but think about who your product is aimed at. How will they use it? What do they do now without your product? If they do use your product, what will they get from it – will it make their life easier, save them money, make their journeys more pleasant, give them more time for other things. Or maybe just make them feel better about themselves. All of these are reasons why someone would want to buy your product, but could be many more, and the best way to discover them is to think about your customer.
Now that you’ve decided what your product is, this is your chance to bring it to life and you can do that in The Workshop . So far your product is still just words and ideas, and it’s not until these ideas become real that you really see whether they will work.
In every business it’s important to test out the product, or sometimes small parts of it to make sure it works in the way you want it to. Something that looks great on paper might look very different when it’s in your hand, and seeing something as a physical object can often give you ideas on how to make it better.
Your model or ‘prototype’ doesn’t have to look exactly like the finished product, it just needs to be something that shows what it could look like, or how it could work. And it can be made from just about anything - card, fabric, Lego, cardboard boxes, plastic tubes, anything that helps you bring your idea to life.
One thing that has been used to make models for over 100 years is Meccano, which was invented by Frank Hornby in Liverpool in 1898. It‘s thought the name came from the phrase ‘Make and Know’ , because it’s only by making something that you really know it. The construction kits, that enabled people to make almost anything from cranes to planes, ships to steam engines, became very popular and soon were being sold around the world.
And as well as being popular as a toy, Meccano is often used to build early versions of new products, to test whether they will work.
A model of a differential analyser, a type of computer was built from Meccano at Manchester University in 1934 to solve complicated calculations, and in 1949 was used to build a model of the first artificial heart. And in the late 1990s, engineer Mark Sumner used Erector, the American version of Meccano to create a working model for "Soarin’”, an attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The important thing for all of these people was to build a model to prove that their idea would work. They used Meccano but you can use anything to build your model, and you’ll probably be amazed by what you learn from it