By Hugh Musick, Associate Dean & Director of Education, IIT Institute of Design
Advances in technology enable today’s digital startups to conceive, create, and launch products and services at unprecedented rates. 1871 and its 165+ startups are a true testament to this. However, having this new capability doesn’t mean users necessarily want or see value in what is being put out into the marketplace. Lasting innovations succeed because they address core user needs.
Beginning this month, 1871 will be hosting a series of monthly lectures on user-centered design for startups presented by the faculty of the IIT Institute of Design (ID). This collaboration, titled the 1871-ID series, reflects IIT’s commitment to supporting 1871 and Chicago’s startup community. The one-hour talks aim to help startups understand the design process and how they can use it to further the development of their products and services. The series kicks off on September 19th with a presentation by Guillermo Krovblit, co-founder of the award winning digital educational products company, Peapod Labs. Krovblit will tell the story of how he and fellow students from the Institute of Design employ user-centered methods to create award-winning products that bring together children and parents through learning.
Putting users at the center of strategic decisions about what to make is the heart of user-centered design. Spending time looking at the daily lives of people to understand what matters them, or where they want to go, and what they want to do, can be a source of valuable information about unmet needs and potential opportunity. A startup that leads with addressing a need stands a far better chance of succeeding than one that simply puts something out into the marketplace.
User-centered design brings clarity to the process of figuring out what a startup should produce and why it makes sense to do so. Design methods offer a structured, repeatable way for planning where you want to take your company. Through this partnership between ID and 1871, we hope to inspire entrepreneurs to embrace design principles when building their businesses by addressing user and market needs in a competitive and sustainable way.
IIT Institute of Design is a graduate school of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Learn more about IIT Institute of Design by visiting www.id.iit.edu/.