119: Planning for the Unexpected in Product Design | Product Startup Podcast | MAKO Design + Invent

119: Planning for the Unexpected in Product Design

March 23, 2022

With Kelly Schmutte, Lecturer at Stanford d.School

119: Planning for the Unexpected in Product Design

Kelly Schmutte is a dual degree graduate and a lecturer at Stanford University at d.School. She has also worked at IDEO and on product development of many hardware products, including designing and running her own product called PerfectFit, one of the world’s leading professional dance shoes, and is the co-author of the design book Navigating Ambiguity. Today Kelly is going to share some valuable knowledge on how inventors, startups, and small manufacturers can understand ambiguity and unexpected circumstances within the product development journey, and how to maximize the value of your product through prototyping and testing before going into manufacturing.

Today you will hear us talk about:

  • Defining ambiguity – The quality of being open to more than one interpretation
  • How does it apply to hardware product design
  • Framing the problem, then asking why that problem is important
  • How do you then go about solving the problem.
  • What is some of the academic research around ambiguity in design
  • How do you use this in hardware design
  • The importance prototyping
  • Prototype to learn at first, then prototype to figure it out, then prototype to perfect it and validate it.


Kelly Schmutte / Navigating Ambiguity Links:

The Product Startup Podcast Links:

Mako Design Links:

Kevin Mako Links:

Thanks for tuning in! See you next time.

About: 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 designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, 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. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!