The Magic Bike Company

Where do Good Products Come From

There are three great design themes: making something beautiful, making something easier, and making something possible. The best designs accomplish all three at once. A successful product and business will continually improve customers’ lives. As customers use your product to make their lives better, they will face new challenges and desire new goals and outcomes.
This video presents IDEO's process for understanding people problems and discovering solutions grounded in human centered design.


This video presents using emphathy to get to new solutions for solving people problems.


It was during American occupation of Japan (1945- 1952) when GHQ (offices of the Allied occupation) placed an order of vacuum tubes to Toshiba. Nishibori recalled the American officers wanted to see a 'control chart' from the manufacturing process being used to produce their order. No one at Toshiba knew what it was. “You don't know a control chart? How do you plan to manage quality?” Nishibori remembers replying, “If we, engineers at Toshiba, don't know it, most likely no one in Japan knows.” retrieved from QFD Institute Deming Influence on Post-war Japanese Quality Development
No compromise with quality for profit and search for perfection are the two most important factors behind the success of LEGO
I think that part of their success was because of the dedication and commitment to quality, they truly believed that their customers deserved the best so they focused so much in the details and at the end that resulted in more sales. I have also read articles that today, Lego actually holds their manufacturing greater than Six-Sigma (closer to 8 or 9 sigma). That is quite impressive for a toy company. “ The bricks are so meticulously made that the company claims that out of every 1 million elements made, just 18 will be declared defective and removed from the set.”


I ask my students to watch this video and comment on the Lego Company. The students inevitability comment on the empathy shown by the owner towards his workers and the willingness to take risks. In addition there are comments on the quality of the companies products. Students sometime relate Statistical Process Control to quality. In the case of Lego blocks the dimensional tolerance on the blocks have to be met. There is no other option. Out of the box the parts need to fit or they will be deemed useless.
lego blocks
This applies not only to parts that are contained in an assembly but also to processes involved in safety. For example the fueling process for SpaceX Falcon rocket launches.
SpaceX Falcon Rocket
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket relies on a combination of liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene propellant, which has less mass than conventional rocket fuel. This lets them pack more fuel into their rockets, and to be able to place larger payloads into orbit. However, this method requires that the rocket be immediately fueled before launch so that the fuel does not have time to warm up and expand. There is no room for error in this process. Read more at:
“Disruptive technologies are dismissed as toys because when they are first launched they “undershoot” user needs. The first telephone could only carry voices a mile or two. The leading telco of the time, Western Union, passed on acquiring the phone because they didn’t see how it could possibly be useful to businesses and railroads – their primary customers.” Chris Dixon, gp at a16z. Learn more on how to recognize disruptive innovative products at Andrew Chen's Blog posting.
A made-to-measure item is a standard one customized at the factory in certain measurements and details. Bespoke is made from scratch to your specifications. In order to automate anything, you need to standardize the outputs (the results, what you want to happen) and you need to standardize the inputs (the work you’ll be doing). To standardize outputs, you need to sit down and determine what levels of quality and performance you want out of your work/outcomes. This means clearing a few hours from your calendar, and sitting down writing out every outcome that could happen and picking which mix of outcomes are most profitable and desirable. You should standardize outputs, to some extent, before looking to standardize inputs. In other words, start with what quality levels and output you want. From there, you can work to pick the tools and work processes that are most reliable and inexpensive to get to that levels of performance. Start with an image in your head of what a perfect outcome would look like, but what does a an outcome you can live with look like? Begin your planning with an outcome in mind that’s good enough to get the job done. It might be helpful to compare your perfect outcome and your good enough outcome. But be aware that the resistence might be talking to you.
The process will be different if you are producing rocket ships or mass producing small plastic parts that need to snap together in small hands. The decision on quality has consquences on the finances of the organization. “If you take a very extreme case, purists in the tech industry kind of hated Steve Jobs because they’d look at Apple products and say, 'If you look at the objective measures of speed or process of power or whatever, they’re actually less impressive than you’ll get in this new LG Android phone or whatever.' Therefore, they kind of thought that Steve was a bit of a snake oil salesman. What Steve was doing was saying actually, 'Beyond a certain point, you hit the law of diminishing returns with all of the clock speed objective stuff. Actually, let’s focus the market on something like the loveliness of the interface and the joy that results from using it, and we’ll create psychological value rather than objective value.' ” retrieved from - 4 © 2017 FARNAM STREET MEDIA INC.
As the pace of innovation accelerates, human behavior, not technological restraints, will be the deciding factor of whether products are adopted or discarded. If new products and services are to positively impact our lives, they must find a gateway into our daily routines. The familiar done differently is the way to users’ minds and hearts — and sometimes their stomachs. Quaint but unnecessary representations of the familiar became a hallmark of Apple products. As Claire Evans wrote for Motherboard, “While under the direction of the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s design aesthetic tended heavily towards the skeuomorphic. The Apple desktop calendar, famously, is rendered with accents of rich Corinthian leather; its bookshelves gleam with wood veneers, its chrome always brushed, its pages stitched and torn, its tabletop felt green.” Read Nir Eyal's interview with Jon Ivey at — Nir & Far