Scott Wilson is the founder of MINIMAL (MNML), a hybrid design studio with a growing blue chip client roster, numerous self-manufactured products and joint ventures in development. An accomplished designer and former Global Creative Director at Nike, his work has received wide recognition around the globe and collected over 40 international design awards in the past 7 years.
Scott and his team are on the cusp of launching TikTok and LunaTik, a new line of products which turn Apple’s iPod nano into a cool multi-touch watch. While both products are cool in and of themselves, Scott’s unconventional approach to the design and launch of his products provide valuable lessons for anyone building a culture of continuous improvement.
Build on the ideas of others – Watch makers have been trying to figure out how to design a touch watch for years. Instead of doing all the heavy lifting and trying to create their own watch, Scott spent his time designing products which leveraged the work already done at Apple. The result is new beautifully engineered watch bands which integrate the existing technology of the Nano.
Details matter – To design a product worthy the Nano, Scott and his team considered every detail when it came to the look, feel and functionality. Made from aerospace-grade aluminum and built to easily integrate headphones and plug-ins, the LunaTik is a great example of designing with the user experience in mind.
Selling your idea is critical – No matter how good your idea is, if you want it to be adopted and implemented, you need to sell it to others. To sell their idea and connect potential consumers with their product and design process, Scott created a brilliant short video which became a virtual sensation, spreading his message like wildfire.
Follow your own path – rather than take a conventional route to funding, Scott used the Kickstarter network to introduce his products and take pre-orders to fund the development and launch. Unlike other funding mechanisms, Kickstarter allows the creators to keep 100% ownership and control over the work and offers products for pledges in an all or nothing format. If a project reaches its funding goal before time runs out, it proceeds…if not, no money changes hands. Scott hoped to raise $15,000. However, armed with a great idea, elegant designs and a video that went viral, MNML broke all previous Kickstarter launch records by raising $941,718 from 13,512 people in a matter of weeks.
So what can a LunaTik teach you about leading change?
First, you don’t always have to be the one with a revolutionary idea to develop great ideas. It is often more productive to build on the ideas of others than reinvent the wheel in an attempt to be brilliant. As improv actors will tell you, the secret to developing great scenes is to “accept all offers” and build on the brilliance of others. Second, when designing a system of continuous improvement, details matter. While experimentation is a must and mistakes are steps in the learning process, it is still important to consider how both the improvement process you create and the management system you install to support it will work together to drive team member engagement and aligned implementation. Finally, in the words of Robert Frost “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” When it comes to change, don’t be afraid to reject convention and blaze your own path. If you are connected to your customer and engage your people, there are many ways to get to a productive end.