LearnIdea Week – Building a product in one week

Ryan Carson
writes on December 3, 2007

Today was the first day of Idea Week here at Carsonified and we had a great time!

Gill and I felt that everyone was working extremely hard and needed a creative break so we decided to turn off our email, activate the auto-responders, and ‘close’ the office for one week.


(Ryan writing down product name ideas)

Everyone is still coming in to the office, but instead of working on our current projects, we’re creating something brand new. The only rule for the week is that by 6PM on Thursday, we have to complete the project. It doesn’t have to make us any money and it doesn’t need to fit into anything we currently do. It just needs to be fun and creative.

The first thing we asked everyone to do was bring in an item that brought them joy – hopefully sparking some ideas while also allowing us to get to know each other more. It was basically like Show-and-Tell from when we were kids and it was really fun and interesting to see what everyone showed. I brought in a copy of Trouble for Trumpets, a book that I got when I was nine (and is still one of my favorites).

After that we randomly assigned the following tasks:

  1. * Ask three random people “What are you most looking forward to today?”
  2. * Take photos of three book covers that you really like
  3. * Take photos of three shop fronts that interest you
  4. * Ask three shop owners to name their best selling product
  5. * Listen to three interesting conversations and take notes

After everyone completed their task, we met up for lunch to discuss our findings.

It was really interesting because we discovered that a lot of our findings pointed to the fact that others (and us) really long for hand-made items. Living in a mass-produced, extremely efficient and largely digital world, we seem to crave a personal touch. Something that doesn’t fit into the constant pressure to Get Things Done.

We started leaning towards creating a hand-made, limited edition product. One idea was to produce a journal with some of our thoughts on the events of 2007.

So after Lunch, we went to Starbucks to talk some more and brainstorm a few more ideas.

We decided to put the ‘news journal’ idea aside and go another direction. Everyone was really keen on hand-crafting a physical, limited edition item, so we explored a few more ideas. I don’t know who came up with our new favorite idea, but it caught on like wild fire! We all started getting really excited about it and the ideas started flowing thick and fast.

I’m not going to reveal what our idea is yet, so stay tuned. All I can share is that it’s going to be very limited edition (less than 10 items), hand-crafted and free. To get one, you’ll just need to let us know why you’d really love to receive it 🙂 Elliot is going to craft a beautiful site to show it off, which will launch this Thursday at 6PM GMT.

It’s wonderful setting aside all your current work and focusing on a quick creative project. I already feel injected with creativity and enthusiasm. Can’t wait to get rockin tomorrow!

23 Responses to “Idea Week – Building a product in one week”

  1. I can’t wait to have one of the handicrafts. I am from Africa and I know what it means to put down all the tech and work on something creative right from your hands – you might put in a few tools, but the end product is always great. So I say again I can’t wait to have one of these handicrafts.

  2. This is something cool, I cant wait to read the full story. I am for sure doing something list this in my company. I guess this is a great diversion from work.

    Anand
    Dining Aid

  3. Fantastic.

    Love the Framed Macbook cover. I’d like to own it.

    Perhaps you should sell some!

    Phil

  4. I love the idea. Perfect around the holidays to keep things low-key, but still have the creative energy flowing.

    Look forward to the next blog posts!

  5. You exactly hit my nerve *again* as since last FOWA I chew around on what etsy.com really means to people.

    Why am I so fascinated about handmade stuff when I at the same time so much looove my slick but cold MacBook? I guess it’s about the warm feelings you have when thinking back at your live as a child tinkering something for the xmas tree with mom, dad and your sisters and brothers. And it’s about passion to raise an exception in time to sit back and do something totally separate from your normal work to teach the rushing world wrong. It’s about drawing a picture where buying something would be so easy to get away with. Whatever you produce, it is only meaningful for those who understand the passion it needed to let you create it.

    So coming back to my MacBook, it is not the dead thing itself I’m in love with, but the community that drives that device or that brand just the same as the Linux, Rails, PHP whatever movement.

    Thanks for interrupting me again: I stop now and search for the paint brushes of my children… 🙂

  6. After reading your email update you have got me really interested now. I heard of this ‘Idea Week’ through Elliots tweets by txt yesterday. I would love to get one of these limited edition hand-crafted things please. I’m a fan of Carsonified and the products you guys do and produce especially Elliots designs!!!

    Sean

    p.s how come you changed the layout here?

  7. the above: * sounds like a really cool way

  8. Wow, an idea week sound really cool way to stimulate creativity! a small number of handcrafted items? can’t wait to see what they are 🙂

  9. TomDeleu on December 4, 2007 at 8:32 am said:

    I’m curious. And more and more, i seem to get the idea that Carsonified really is a nice & healthy place to work at by seeing initiatives like this! respect 🙂

  10. Thanks for the inspiration, it looks like you’re all having a wonderful week! I too would like to come work for you 🙂 but I think I’ll stay here in Copenhagen… and maybe produce some more hand-made limited edition stuff.

    I will stay tuned for your next news.

  11. We did something like this a while ago, but in a day – we had a pre-existing idea, and broke for lunch to check we were still working to the same targets. Looking forward to the result!

  12. @Peter Рd̩cor looks very All Bar One! (have I spent too much time in them!?)

    @Ryan – wow man, I love this stuff. When can I come work for you!?!

  13. Sorry for irrelevancy, so feel free to e-mail the answer and delete this comment, but where’s the place in the first photo? Looks cosy and I like to look of the seating arrangement.

  14. @Matt – Stay tuned 🙂 Will be fun to see how it develops.

  15. Oh Man, I am curious now. This should be interesting for sure!

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