Almost there

Spring has hit Helsinki (and Otaniemi, Espoo: infamous home of the PDP). The spring is always a big game changer, therefore it’s time for a slightly different blog post this time. We have built our first real prototype heater-fan and gone through some rigorous testing. The wireless heat sensors are ready. A small recap of what’s been done, but that is not the main focus in this post (the proto and the sensors will be covered later in the blog). Our product development project is coming to a grande finale: the most important design desicions will be made in the next couple of days, those that will determine the outcome of this project. All that remains is the last big push: to wrap up everything we have learned and build a product. That’s what the whole project was aiming at, wasn’t it? Will our product be a success? I believe that is something every PDP team member in every single team is pondering.

A year is a short time for a product development process. When thinking about what it takes to create a product from scratch, it might feel overwhelming. And yet, we are on the brink of creating one. It doesn’t matter, how the outcome will turn out, the imporant thing is that we have gone through the process as a team. We have learned a lot, learned from our triumphs and especially from our mistakes, gained some great experinces and most importantly made friends. A product development project, and in our case a project designing a whole business, is a process that requires so much work on so many fields of expertise: we have done market resesearch, business models, computer simulations, prototyping, branding, circuit boards, posters, breakfast, sushi. You name it, we have done it during the project. A project like this is mostly executed by methods of trial and error, mostly error. But in the biggest mistakes lies the biggest fortunes. You can not learn and succeed, without failing miserably at first. Every PDP team should remember this.

So, the PDP is drawing to an end, but the biggest challengé lies still ahead. Whatever happens, this project has been a boom. No regrets.

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Soul searching

As we’ve gradually progressed towards a tangible product, the need for both business and design value has become more evident. To achieve a comprehensive final concept, not only we need an awesome product, but also a working business plan around it. And to support the business plan, we need visual guidelines which support the looks of the actual product and any graphic material such as logos, websites, posters, product manuals etc. To put it short, we need to start BRANDING!

So let the hard and highly scientific work of branding begin!

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To find out what we’re up against, we’ve done thorough research into the crazy world of pest control. Doing this we’ve aimed to find out what sort of customer promises they give both through their visual representation and company visions. This is highly important, because as a relatively small group we need to find a way for our concept to stand out in a world full of both huge pest control megacompanies and also small local entrepreneurs.

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For our advantage, most existing bed bug companies still work with fairly unsophisticated methods. Also, there seem to be many misbeliefs among both the pest control experts and the general public on how the bugs can be killed most efficiently. Hopefully, we can turn this into our benefit by spreading the gospel of proper bed bug killing.

And now, back to work as the due date for bed bugs is quickly approaching. Less than two months to the GALA buddies!

Going Sans wires.

Last week, the Electronics division of our project accomplished an important milestone in the development: The first wireless temperature sensor came online. Yes, you heard right, from now on we will be able to conduct our Bed Bug BBQ season without the hassle from the wires. If things continue this way, by the middle of this week, our excellent team of experts lead by Freddu will have the rest of these babies out n’ rollin’!

As we prepare for the final sprint towards the gala, we are making sure our prototype will be ready to fight that battle against the nasty creatures. Things are coming together between completed tests, the renewed sensor bundle pack and a soon to be added insulation and airflow system.

Got to thank Tommi, who last Saturday presented what will soon become our new web interface with the people who has had to endure the bites while touring the world. This is an upgrade on the previously presented (And quite good looking) Market Research poster in which we asked you to share your experiences with our buggy comrades. Here’s a sneak peek into the survey.

Guess Mexicans should start fearing “El Bedbug!”

On the other hand, Martim has had an epiphany on what seems will take our endeavours to the 2.0 era on the Bedbug bizz. This was presented to the team on the extraordinary meeting held last saturday. We are beggining to explore new technological horizons and soon will be able to present our findings and final confrontations between technologies. The idea is to bring the people a greener, safer, bulletproof product.

So stay tunned! Things will get more and more interesting during the Spring!

Typical day at Design Factory

A typical day at Design Factory for our Bed Bug team…

Fredu and Johannes have had a busy week turning their sensor system plan into a real product. After hours of studying, component searching and soldering, the circuit board is now almost finished. Then it needs a casing and Voilà! We have our first wireless temperature sensor ready! Now only ten more of these to go…

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Anna and Aki have been busy with testing and building mock ups. Aki helped with setting up the insulation test and between testing Aki made an air deflector for our centrifugal fan. The mock up turned out to be quite a beauty!  We are super excited to find out how the air deflector works with this fan.

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Anna has been testing insulation materials at the Design Factory’s Fatboy room. As the view is rather bizarre, testing phase raised rather a lot of interest from the other students and from staff as well. After hours of heat treatment we all agreed that we can be 100 percent sure that there are no bed bugs left in the Fatboy room. Now, this room is one bed bug free zone without a doubt!

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This was one busy Bed Bug team day at Design Factory. With this amount of building, testing and studying we will surely have an excellent product to present at the Final Gala!

Towards products!

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Kanban continues and products are getting closer. Ebm-pabst -partnership has continued by experimenting how their fans work with different voltages, so far proven result is that 400V fans are not compatible with 230V fuses. Also at the Design Factory it has been common to see Team Bed Bug with various different insulation systems leaving everyone wondering what on earth is going on in the meeting rooms as the prototyping phase gets closer.

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Even more visibility brings the magnificent Bed Bug Market Research Poster, thanks to Design Agency Nikkola & Sarimaa. This is the poster after one minute, now it starts to be crowded with responses. If you haven’t left yours, run to DeFa and write what you know!

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Because Biltema is not enough, some tweaks are required from time to time. Aki took the screwdriver and welding pipe to his engineer hands and created these bases for our testing. Approaching the big stuff!

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Fredu has also been extremely busy planning his state of the art sensor system! The circuit board design is beautiful and will make miracles happen once all the code and stuff find their places!

With this material, it can be said that we are indeed proceeding well! 

Kanban continues

Last week was all about continuing the kanban processes and the week was topped off with a chill out evening on Saturday.

Wake up call

Wake up call

On Friday morning we had our usual meeting, where we go through what has been happening during the week. So far all our individual tasks have been started and some of them even completed. I’ve been most active in initial testing, which has produced some good and useful results during the tests. More tests will be completed next week in order to have as much concrete info before the middle of the month, so that we can start prototyping.

During our meeting we also had an airflow expert visiting and giving us insights in our project and what the company he represented could do for us. That was very useful, but took out more time than expected and our “morning” meeting turned out to be also a lunch meeting. This also meant, that we didn’t have time to catch up on all the different kanban steps and that has to bee done during this week before Friday.

Usual morning meeting on Friday

Usual morning meeting on Friday

Saturday night it was time to relax for a bit and get together as a team. Because of the Kanban philosophy, we decided a Japanese style dinner would be nice. Basically that meant we managed to make sushi. Otherwise the evening was more or less a traditional Finnish get-together with booze and sauna 🙂 The booze also resulted in a less active Sunday, but that didn’t matter since some rest was necessary before the Super Bowl. Congrats to Seattle!

Sushi preparations

Sushi preparations

More stuff to follow next week. Stay tuned!

かんばん!!! (Kanban)

After the Gold Mine Concept lab and the PDP halfway show, Team Bed Bug is ready to start the next phase of the project by going full steam ahead. We held two meetings last week, and our PM Martim, having gathered some ancient wisdom during his travels in Asia, introduced our team to the Japanese Kanban scheduling system to keep ourselves on track with the project.

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Martim bestowing some serious ancient Japanese wisdom upon the team.

We are now focusing on different tasks, each task having a person responsible for executing it. The person responsible for executing the task can choose the way he/she sees best for doing so, but is also expected to show results. We will have checkup meetings every week to see how we are doing.

The main themes our team is tackling right now are: Testing how much power is really needed to heat up a room,  simulating airflows within a room, planning room insulations, wireless sensor systems and further market research regarding customers and also alternative power solutions.

Things are getting exciting and I’m sure everyone on our team can feel that during the following weeks we will be doing stuff that is going to be more and more concrete, as real potential customers are contacted and actual heating tests conducted in our new testing room deep within the mysterious installation of Urban Mill.

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The war on bed bugs will continue behind these doors. What secrets lie within? Stay tuned.