A few months ago, we partnered with Google/Motorola Mobility to run a design competition to find a reception desk for their new facility in Fort Worth, Texas. In one week, with no real submission requirements and a very vague design brief, we received 29 submissions from designers all over the world. Eventually, we pared down all the great submissions down to 4 finalists and the eventual winner, Formwork by Adam Owens. Overall, we received a lot of positive feedback from designers, who strongly encouraged us to continue to offer design competitions.
We heard the feedback, and we are really excited to introduce our next design competition: The Storage Component of the Future. We will be releasing the full design brief to our website when the challenge releases on January 24th, but in the meantime, here’s the high-level overview:
“Papers, files, and folders are a thing of the past. Lateral filing cabinets no longer serve the needs of today’s office-goers. Design a personal storage component that responds to what people in the workplace need to store today and in the future.”
The details of the challenge will be made very public soon, so I’d rather not focus on the nitty-gritty, but rather highlight a few philosophical choices we made for this challenge:
- We are attacking an interesting problem: We aren’t convinced that the world needs just another piece of furniture. But the world does need the RIGHT piece of furniture. The best thing about furniture is that it’s not just aesthetic, but it functionally solves problems. We love that we have the opportunity to unleash the creativity of a huge community of amazingly talented designers to try to solve real-world emerging problems. We feel that this design brief is worthy of our community’s time and will bring back a lot of great ideas!
- We’re offering a substantial prize: The first prize of $4,000 and a royalty on all units that we sell is certainly one of the better purses you will see for a furniture design competition. We are a startup ourselves, without an endless bankroll. But we are sponsoring this entire challenge because we believe that our community can solve this real market problem with great solutions. And we feel that a prize of $4,000 will attract talented students and professionals alike. More than that, we are asking designers to do a lot of work, and we think it’s fair to not lowball or cheapen the skills that people are bringing to the table.
- The challenge will mimic our current process: We have a unique process that enables our community to help one another develop great products. So we are instituting that process into this design challenge. We will have a judging panel who will determine most of our finalists, offer critiques to help those finalists refine their ideas, and pick the eventual winner. However, we also will have a “Community Pick” finalist that will be chosen by our community. It’s important that the community always have a voice, so this is an opportunity for everyone to vote for their favorite design. After the submission deadline, all submissions will be made public and our community will be able to score their favorites. The top scored design will be our “Community Pick” and will become one of our finalists for the judges to evaluate. The finalists will then have an opportunity to improve their designs before final judging, mirroring our Scoring -> Refinement -> Production process, which we firmly believe is a great way to drive collaboration and innovation using the community.
So that’s the deal, guys. We are so excited to see what our awesome community comes up with! The challenge will launch on Friday January 24th. If you aren’t already a member of our community, go to www.unbrandeddesigns.com to sign up so you can hear the latest on this challenge and others in the future!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can always shoot me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org