I know I have been teasing all of you about a strategic design project that I have been and am still working on. It is now time for the big reveal with its official launch at 9am this morning PST, about an hour ago. I am super excited and very honored to be part of a team of clever and dedicated professionals.

Check out our new baby called CKIE; a crowdfunding platform created especially for funding product ideas. CKIE is an acronym that has been derived from a formula for Creativity. It goes something like this. C=f(K,I,E), which is creativity (C) is function of knowledge (K), imagination (I), and evaluation (E). I’m not sure where this formula came from but it sounds pretty good eh?

Created by my friends from Yanko Design, my role was supporting them in design and business strategy, profiling personas and identifying possible usage scenarios. These activities finally led to the fine-tuning of the user experience of the website and platform. I also brought to the table my extensive experience in managing the process of industrial design and product development activities and how these processes can be merged or applied onto this new Internet platform. Currently the platform is not 100% perfect and there is still much to be done, but we decided to launch it once it was stable and will continue to refine the site in the spirit of iterative software design.

I do know that there are similar crowdfunding or micro financing platforms out there. Furthermore I don’t often recommend businesses to adopt strategies that actually follow other strategies, but in this case the product we have been working on is quite different.

There are 4 main differences.

Firstly CKIE is focused on funding product ideas only. No books, movies, shows, art etc., just products. This means that 100% of people visiting the site are only interested in checking the latest industrial design, product ideas or concepts.

Secondly, CKIE is an international platform. We are open to designers, creators, entrepreneurs and people interested in backing or supporting ideas from all around the world. Why limited your ideas and customers to one geographic location when the world is your oyster?

Next. We have created a platform that is supported by experienced designers and design managers such as myself. Designers, entrepreneurs or anyone with an interesting idea can come on board and be able to speak to a person for help or advice and not be left on their own. We identified that industrial design and product development is such a long and difficult process that it can be daunting to many people, especially those that are in it the first time. Even experienced designers often have some difficulty navigating the tides of the realization process. At CKIE, there are experience design managers who will be able to support and help people get the best out of their design, the development process and the platform.

Finally, as part of our strategic profiling activities, we identified that most designers are good at the design and creation part but actually poor or clueless about the marketing and promotion of their ideas or design. Considering this insight added with how other crowd-sourcing platforms actually rely on participating designers to be responsible for their own marketing activities, the entire experience becomes a challenging and uncomfortable one. No longer. CKIE will leverage on its sister site, Yanko Design’s 2 million unique visitors a month to help market and profile the products that are going to be funded. This means that by putting your designs on CKIE, there will be a much better chance of getting your product seen, funded and eventually sold.

Well there you go. This is just an example of the range of exciting strategic design projects Design Sojourn has been engaged to work on. Check it out, and do let me know what you think? Even better, let me know if you are interested to join CKIE and I can help get you started. Enjoy!

View more presentations from David Sherwin

David Sherwin, a Senior Interaction Designer at Frog Design, has complied a list of the top 10 mistakes design businesses make. This presentation is a must read for anyone who runs or owns a design business of any kind, as well as those thinking of starting out on their own entrepreneurship venture.

As this presentation is angled towards running a design consulting business, advertising or creative account managers would also find this presentation, especially the section on price negotiation, very useful. For example, rather than give a discount to your client, look at areas where you can reduce the scope of work you will do. This technique is something I myself have used frequently as a means to manage costs as well as expectations for my business partners.

This one is a keeper!

What a roller coaster ride it was in 2010? Just as we thought we were getting out the global economic crisis started in 2009 by the Lehman Brothers crash, we were dropped right into a troubled Euro dollar and European Union.

On that economic backdrop, I have to admit that mine was a pretty eventful year. Inspired by Seth Godin’s post encouraging all of us to take stock of what we did in 2010, I’ve decided to share with you some of my more important highlights.

1) Led the team that developed a range of new designs for the 2010 Philips Home Cinema Sound product portfolio. I also helped secure the design direction for the 2011 range as well.

2) Designed, developed and produced the Spaces for Ideas brand of stationary with the iconic Expandable Sketchbook as the brand’s first product. The Expandable Sketchbook has been well received on the Internet covered by sites such as Yanko Design, WFDJ, Not Cot etc., and on publications such as Epicurious and Home & Decor magazines in Asia.

3) The Spaces for Ideas: 2nd Collection was an even bigger roller coaster ride. Unfortunately it has been put on hold indefinitely, but my learning experience after the whole process was worth its weight in gold.

4) Left Philips Design at the end of September 2010 to start Design Sojourn Consulting, a boutique design agency that delivers great design strategies, easy to understand design lectures, and cutting edge industrial design services.

5) Reignited my passion for teaching, by working with professionals and students on design and design thinking. Notable lectures include “Designing Designers” for the Feng Zhu School of Design, “Design Thinking is Killing Creativity” for the Design and Technology teachers from the Ministry of Education, and “What is the value of Design?” organized by the Singapore Government for small/medium business owners.


Going forward I like to share some of my goals for Design Sojourn in 2011. I’ve split them up in to my lines of business.

Design Sojourn Consulting

1) Find 5-10 really good clients to work with throughout the year. I hope to build a strong working relationship with my clients based on trust, good work ethic, and great communication. I believe it is from such working relationships that the best designs can be created.

2) Continue to build strong partnerships with other designers and build a collaborative work culture. Look out for two exciting announcement in the coming months based on 2 collaborative projects I have been working on!

Design Sojourn Brands

1) Continue to develop the Spaces for Ideas Brand by leveraging from its flagship product, the Expandable Sketchbook. I hope to sell out my entire inventory by July 2011 and then work on an improved version 2 before the end of the year.

2) Look at redoing the Brand’s 2nd collection of products (Storybook and Iteration Book), but this effort will need to start from scratch. At this time, I have a few new ideas that I will be working on with something to show soon.

Design Sojourn Publishing

1) Continue to develop the Design Sojourn blog as an important “home base” for all Design Sojourn related activities.

2) Double my readership by the middle of the year, and double it again by the end of the year. To help facilitate this, I am planning a blog redesign and consolidating a number of blog activities to improve simplicity and focus.

3) With so much diversity in the design blogosphere to compete with, I decided to simplify and center the blog’s activities on its new refined and simplified tagline: “Strategies for Good Industrial Design“. I think this new tagline sums up all my activities in the last 5 years and probably one of the few blogs that is willing to deal with the can of worms that comes from articulating what good design is all about. This direction also aligns well with all 3 of my lines of business.

4) I am hoping to get selected by a great Ad network like The Deck, CarbonAds or Fusion Ads etc. so that I can get more help to pay the bills. This will also allow me to keep blogging while focusing on my consulting side of my business.


So what about you? What are your plans, goals and targets for yourself or your business in 2011? I would love to hear about them, and I hope this post will inspires you to share. Finally, I would like to thank you dear reader for allowing me to share my design sojourn with you!

Happy New Year everyone, and may your 2011 be your best year yet!

This give away is officially over! Winners will be contacted directly.

Finlandia iPhone 4 Accessory

Christmas comes early for all Design Sojourn readers! It is indeed the season of giving, but more on that later… (heh-heh)

Avid Design Sojourn reader and multidisciplinary industrial designer Juho Viitasalo was very kind to send over finished samples of his design work for Tunewear. Called Finlandia, they are a range of iPhone / iPad covers inspired by nature with a Nordic twist. The iPhone 4 version was recently launched in September 2010.

With Kickstarter fever still going strong, and my own Spaces for Ideas Collection 2, design entrepreneurship is probably at the top of every designer’s mind.

Therefore, I thought you would be interested in an interview with a designer that took that chance and chased his dream of designing and realizing his own product. I had planned to interview Juho but he beat me to it with a nice email introduction about himself and his work.

I’m born in Finland. I’ve lived and worked in Japan for five years this time. I’ve also lived here before. So, I can speak, read and write Japanese. Right now I’m in Osaka where I work at a company called Propex.

I studied industrial design in Lund (Sweden) and Copenhagen (DK). Lund University and Danmarks Designskole. I also speak Swedish. Besides Finnish and English.

Previously I have been involved with design at NASA and Finnair among other places.

Finlandia series was born when the owner of Tunewear (Hideki Francis Onda) and I decided to do something together. Tunewear already produced iPhone accessories and our idea was to create a new product family to compliment their other products. With a Nordic twist.

I came up with a concept of iPhone cases with colorful patterns that are created using only one single graphical element. These patterns could be made into various other Apple accessories too.

I also created the stories behind the patterns. All are tied to Finnish design tradition and culture.

I am intrigued by the interchange of physical form and graphical elements. This series is a good example of that interchange.

Finlandia Series is a family under Tunewear’s eggshell brand. The patterns are now on iPhone 3GS and 4 and iPad cases. They are sold in about 10 countries with Finland being the latest addition!

I have a lot of ideas in the pipeline that involve the physical form and graphics.

I guess I should add that I worked together with a package designer in Tokyo and Tunewear’s staff in Hong Kong to make the products become reality.

Also I must mention that the white cable winder is not my design. It is a standard Tunewear item they wanted to add into the package. The 3GS cases did not have the cable winder and that made the packages slimmer.

You can find Juho on his website and also on Twitter too.

I would now like to turn this interview into an open discussion to include all Design Sojourn readers. One of the most important things for a design entrepreneur is good constructive feedback for his work. So please do leave a comment or question below for Juho? He will stop by from time to time to answer your questions.

Here comes the fun part. To encourage your feedback, I have 5 of Juho’s Finlandia iPhone 4 cases to give away! Here is how you can score one:

1) I’ll be randomly selecting one comment to this article and giving that author/reader a Finlandia case! This selection will happen on the 8th of December and again on the 15th of December. So if you leave a comment here you have 2 chances to win. By the way, every comment counts so come back frequently to chat?

2) Leave a comment on this article on Design Sojourn’s Facebook page. The winner will be randomly selected on the 8th of December. You have 1 chance to win and don’t forget to “Like” us?

3) Commenting and/or retweeting this post on Twitter with a #finlandia hashtag. The winner will be randomly selected on the 15th of December. You will have 1 chance to win.

4) Finally I need some feedback too, help! Don’t you guys have anything to say about my new Spaces for Ideas prototypes? I’ll be randomly selecting a winner on my Spaces for Ideas Collection 2 article on the 8th of December. You will have 1 chance to win.

To be fair to everyone, there can be only 1 winner. You can increase your chances of winning by commenting at all 4 places. I will be contacting and announcing all winners as soon as the selection is done. I will also be randomly selecting the covers for you and shipping them to you for free. That all folks, don’t wait and start commenting away now!

Edit: Strange. Either you guys don’t like to leave comments or don’t want the covers!!! No matter, I’ll just select a few DS readers randomly from all my previous articles for the give away. Will be contacting you directly so do stay tuned! These includes the re-tweeters as well.

This give away is officially over! Winners will be contacted directly.

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