Making Experiences at the Hardware Innovation Workshop

Making Experiences at the Hardware Innovation Workshop
Bre Pettis at HIW: “If you just listen, and iterate, you move forward faster.”

It’s amazing how hundreds of people can come together from all over the world for a single day — and common themes emerge.

One of those themes, at today’s Hardware Innovation Workshop, was iteration — how products benefit from the ability to make new versions quickly.

Another theme that’s emerging is the importance of experience — how the real product in many hardware devices is the human experience of it. Carla Diana, founder, of the Smart Interaction Lab, talked about how smart objects can deliver not just data, but knowledge.

The two speakers from the home security device Canary, James Krause and Jon Troutman, hit the “experience” theme hard, advising hardware entrepreneurs to sell the vision and the experience first, not the features.

Later, Sean Petterson, president and CEO, Strong Arm Technologies, and Bre Pettis, of MakerBot, returned to the idea of iteration. The vest Petterson invented to help people lift safely turned out nothing like his early prototypes. The idea gelled only after his tested it, and tested it, and tested it.

“Get your end user to design your product for you,” he advised.

Pettis showed how his line of 3D printer products have evolved through frequent iteration.

“If you just listen, and iterate,” he said, “You move forward faster.”

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DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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