Inside the Integrated Design Lab: “One for the product, two for the gala, three to get selling, and four to profit!” – IDM Cohort beats sales targets by leaps and bounds

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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of three news features that invite the reader inside IDM’s core class—the Integrated Design Lab. In this series, contributor Melissa Ackermann details the students’ second project from start to finish.

After many sleepless nights filled with coffee as well as music and movies to aid in keeping the students alert, the moment of truth arrived—the December 10th sales gala. Without a doubt, this day came at lightning speed and brought bittersweet emotions. Although students were dismayed as they reached the deadline, they also were relieved that the end was in sight. All products were completed to the best of their ability given the various constraints each team faced. Now it was simply a matter of powering through the final stage of the project. Students would finally be able to reap the fruits of their labor, pushing through any sleep deprivation as they functioned purely off the surge of adrenaline that rushed through their veins.

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Chacha Durazo goes for the soft sell with Warren Seering, IDM engineering faculty co-director.

As the students filed into MIT Sloan School of Management to begin setting up for the event, they had extra pep in their step along with a contagious amount of excitement. Pride in their craftsmanship was evident through the care and attention to detail they put into their product booth displays. With hardly any time to spare, food and libations started flowing—and so did prospective customers. IDM Director Matt Kressy grinned from ear to ear, in awe of both the impressive work the students accomplished and the sizeable crowd they pulled in. “It is so incredibly rewarding for this day to have arrived and to not only experience seeing the students engaging with customers about their innovative products, but also selling out of them at quite decent profit margins!” Kressy commented.

While the students buzzed around catering to prospective buyers, the customers chattered among themselves, elated with the unique creativity of their new purchases. As the students engaged with their newly found supporters, they shared their stories (depicted below) of how their ideas came to fruition and the grueling obstacles they had to navigate around. Steve Eppinger, faculty co-director of IDM, visited each of the teams, listening intently to their stories and proudly acknowledging their performance. When the gala eventually wound down, students sighed a breath of relief to have successfully pulled off their projects and realized a return on their investment! While some were ready to celebrate their achievement with their classmates, others passed out from pure exhaustion. At the end of the day, it was a grand finale for all!

 

Team 1: Root 16IMG_0758

Needs that drove “D”esirability

  • Lack of counter space as well as 
unused angular areas and wall surfaces
  • Aesthetics
  • Modularity and flexibility
  • Visibility and segregation

Greatest “F”easibility challenges faced and lessons learned

  • Scrapping the original product late in the process and pivoting on opportunity
  • Finding a good balance between functionality and design
  • Forecasting adequate time management throughout the process

Project finale determining “V”iability

  • # of units made – 50
  • # of units sold – 34
  • # of units to break-even – 30

 

Team 2: MUGger Life mugger.crop

Needs driving “D”esirability

  • Form
  • Ergonomics
  • Vessel function
  • Heat function

Greatest “F”easibility challenges faced and lessons learned

  • Thinking they had a firm grasp of the ceramic manufacturing process
  • Locating adequate space to facilitate production
  • Attempting numerous times to create a durable form due to continuous breakage

Project finale determining “V”iability

  • # of units made – 52
  • # of units sold – 48
  • # of units to break-even – 16

 

Team 3: Perch perch2

Needs driving “D”esirability

  • Ability to use a phone more easily while working in the kitchen
  • Freeing up of counter space
  • Easily moveable to different areas

Greatest “F”easibility challenges faced and lessons learned

  • Shipping issues with getting parts on time
  • Logistic problems slowed down the manufacturing process
  • Inability to incorporate more features due to the compressed project timeframe

Project finale determining “V”iability

  • # of units made – 80
  • # of units sold – 80
  • # of units to break-even – 27

 

Team 4: brielliant SIDE_VIEW

Needs driving “D”esirability

  • High aesthetic appeal
  • Source of pride for the user
  • Ability to separate hard from soft cheeses
  • Placement for cheese knives

Greatest “F”easibility challenges faced and lessons learned

  • Identifying the best wood to use
  • Anticipating product viability, running out of stock, and placing backorders

Project finale determining “V”iability

  • # of units made – 56
  • # of units sold – 56
  • #of units to break-even – 25

 

Team 5: Living Flavors Photo_Dec_02__6_08_26_PM

Needs driving “D”esirability

  • Garnish dining experiences with fresh herbs
  • Maintain plants with limited skill and effort
  • Curate dining table centerpieces that look modern and fashionable

Greatest “F”easibility challenges faced and lessons learned

  • Understanding how plants grow to choose the best ones for utilizing the product
  • Having to wait two weeks for the plants to grow
  • Shutting down of the laser cutter impeded the manufacturing process

Project finale determining “V”iability

  • # of units made – 75
  • # of units sold – 75
  • # of units to break-even – 35

 

Team 6: SUSHIGAMI sushigami

Needs driving “D”esirability

  • Produce fully enclosed sushi
  • Details proper amount of rice and ingredients
  • Ability to center the ingredients between rice

Greatest “F”easibility challenges faced and lessons learned

  • Underestimating the time needed for small parts of the project such as lamination
  • Sourcing an FDA-approved food-safe paint
  • Experiencing long lead time with the delivery of parts

Project finale determining “V”iability

  • # of units made – 52
  • # of units sold – 52
  • # of units to break-even – 16

Thanks for joining us for the fall series of Inside the Integrated Design Lab. Please be sure to check back in soon to explore the latest developments in the students’ spring semester coursework.