TED Talks over the last couple of years has published many inspiring and informational pieces and has become a staple for those working in creative industries. The relevance of the one floating around the KeyTech office this past week was no exception. The clip features Timothy Prestero, the CEO of a Boston based non-profit studio, and focuses on the challenge of creating products for the developing world. He quickly goes through a very short overview of the NeoNurture, an award winning mobile incubator. Despite the number of awards and wide recognition that it received the product failed to do what Prestero had imagined. The NeoNurture became the beautiful “concept car” that never reached the intended market. As a young designer in the product development industry, I was impressed with Prestero’s analogy of the NeoNurture to the “concept car”. All too often young designers in school are only exposed to those “concept car” award winning design stories and designers rather than learning to do what designers are expected to do: design for the real world. Maybe this is because designing for the real world is extremely challenging as Prestero himself found out. With the NeoNurture, Prestero wanted the design to inspire. He imagined that a beautiful product would convince manufacturers to take the idea and grow it, but he quickly found that simply trying to create changes through inspiration in the medical industry isn’t the most applicable solution. After learning from NeoNurture’s recognition and failure, Prestero’s next project, the FireFly, was designed with the intention of generating outcomes and not inspiration. Rather than making a product too beautiful for its own good, he made sure to focus on all the stakeholders. He kept manufacturing and distribution involved through the process, addressing the “looks like” dilemma, and kept the “correct way of use” at the forefront during the design process. With attention to detail in each of those areas Prestero was able to avoid another “concept car” and arrive at a viable real world solution for the problem at hand. At the same time he was rewarded with seemingly the same, if not more, recognition. There is, after all, so much more than just pleasing the eye.
Here is the link to the You Tube clip
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