Since its inception earlier this May, Design For Good (DFG) has been intensively improvising on its first collection with the Krafters’. An exciting and ambitious venture, the Krafters’ feature a group of 20 Smile Village residents who used to be slum-dwellers who scavenged litter for a living.
Coming in as a platform, Design For Good strives to help them develop existing skills into sustainable businesses of their own.
Here are 3 key insights we’ve learnt in our journey of ideating, designing, sourcing and experimenting to develop the extensive product range that we have today.
Listen to your community-in-need
DFG exists to transform the receivers into givers. As our focus is set on helping these individuals to grow their skills into sustainable businesses, it is natural for us to prioritise their needs, skills and context into the process of product development.
Throughout these 7 months, our team went to understand the Krafters’ story, talents, skills and lifestyle. The machines that they use, the marketplaces where they bought the raw materials and their typical day at work matter in the process of developing products that they are able and willing to make.
A few of our products were first ideated by the Krafters themselves, like the powerhouse weekday totes. While we were at the village, we suggested producing the thick totes together with the thinner versions that have been popular with students in Singapore.
Listen to your customer
This can never get over-emphasised. The art of listening is arguably the most crucial in understanding how your product will fit into the market. With numerous brands fighting against shortening attention spans, a great product will find its way to be an integral part of people’s lives. For us, the rugs featured in our Christmas collection were weaved thinner and larger after feedback from our loyal supporters.
What are some of the existing gaps or sentiments in the market? How is the consumer behaviour like? What are the things that our products can better than everyone else? When does the user experience begin and end?
Other than the planning, we also keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to receive feedback from our existing customers. What are some of their concerns after purchasing our products? How can we show our appreciation for their support and make helping the communities a collaborative effort?
Listen to your team
Other than facilitating communication between the customers and community-in-need, it is also essential for us to take the time and listen to our own team.
As what many HR experts opine, it is important to assemble a good mix of team members to create an innovative group of problem-solvers. The diversity of thought helps stem a variety of approaches and chemistry to an issue at hand, fostering a conducive environment that is forward-looking and nimble.
The other consideration is third party-integration: how can we become the platform that our partners can benefit from? What’s in it for them, and how can we make collaboration easy?
Great listeners produce great products
All in all, the marketplace calls for more listeners than speakers today. Contrary to first impressions, product development is a precious journey that requires soft skills to make the right changes at the right time.
The facilitation of deep, meaningful and consistent engagement between the teams will help create convenience and trust for existing and future customers.