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An Open Call for Design Case Study Candidates

Looking for a designer (or a design firm) that believes in open product development.

Looking for a designer (or a design firm) that believes in open product development.

I’m looking for a few brave souls!

Your mission — should you chose to accept it — is to let me periodically take a peek at an ongoing design project (that’s “ongoing” as in “still in development”) so I can share your progress, setbacks, surprises, headaches, and heartburn with the design community at large.

In my experience, most designers and their clients have no problem sharing the outcome of completed projects. I’ve written quite a number of case studies. The standard procedure is, I spend a few hours interviewing the designer about his or her creation, the inspiration behind it, and the CAD or PLM (project lifecycle management) software involved. Then I file a 1,200-1,500 article, along with a few rendered images showing the design in cool, ambient lights.

With your help, I’d like to completely rewrite this existing formula for case studies.

I’d like to track a project as it is happening. I’d like to start, quite literally, from the napkin drawing, then follow the iterations throughout thier 2D, 3D, digital prototype, and physical prototype stages, all the way to the eve of production. Along the way, I’ll bombard you with questions: What is your reason for dropping or adding a feature? Why do you pick one material over the other? What do the FEA results show? What is the feedback from the manufacturer and the client?

Such a treatment, I believe, will be of tremendous value to other designers. It’ll also give blog readers the option to weigh in on your concepts, suggest alternatives, or help you troubleshoot. Perhaps this could serve as a pioneering attempt at open product development and crowdsourcing* (see notes at end of post).

In other words, this is intended to be a living case study, not a postmortem. I imagine this as a series of blog posts over time, reinforced with audiovisuals. (How’s that for “long form journalism”?)

In the near future, I’ll be setting up a home page for this blog in a social networking site (my first choice is Facebook); I intend to prominently feature the living case studies on this page. So please check with your client to see if they’re comfortable with the idea and the level of openness it demands (I don’t want you to lose your contract on account of my blog).

If you’d like to be considered for this idea, leave me a comment or shoot me an email. If you think this is a terrible idea, tell me anyway. I look forward to your input. (I believe crowdsourcing is applicable not just to my topics but my writing as well.)

Feel free to repost this or forward this to others.

[*Note: In pcmag.com’s online encyclopedia, crowdsourcing is defined as “Using the general public to do research or other work, which may or may not be paid.” For more, read Wired magazine’s “Is Crowdsourcing Evil?” and BusinessWeek‘s “Crowdsourcing: Consumers as Creators.“]

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.


  1. I am industrial designer in India. Dare to join this Brave designer team. Having a courage and having a brave soul too. 🙂


  2. Koushik: I’d like to know more about your projects. Please email me directly with more details at Kennethwongsf [at] earthlink.net.

  3. Hi,

    Sorry for late reply. I head about you over the net. And it is pleasure interacting with you. I don’t know I have sent you a reply or not. But thought to touch the ground again. I am an industrial design and working on many projects like packaging, Automobile, home appliances, medical devices, industrial design etc.
    Well, with reference to your message posted to join the Brave designer team. 🙂 Well, will I be a suitabel candidate to join this team. Please let me know.
    Thanx and Regards

  4. I was wondering what is up with that weird gravatar??? I know 5am is early and also I’m not looking my finest at that hour, but I hope I don’t look just like this! I may however make that face if I’m asked to do 100 pushups. lol

  5. good stuff. Do you have a RSS feed? And would it be cool if I added in your feed to a website of mine? I have a blog which pulls content from RSS feeds through a number of sites and I’d like to include yours, a lot of folks do not mind given that I link back and everything but I like to get authorization 1st. Anyhow let me know if you could, thank you.

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