By Jennifer Hegelein, MsID Student
Each January, the Jefferson Industrial Design Program holds the annual ID Sprint Project. During the span of a week, teams of students from all levels of the program collaborate on a design project with an industry-leading company. The Sprint project is an excellent way to practice teamwork, navigate the design process, and integrate professional feedback. This year’s company was the industry-leading home goods company Shark Ninja and this is the story of Team 10: Freshman Jesse Velez, Sophomore Simon Scott, Junior Morgan Wakefield (Manager), Senior Jane Won, and Master’s Student Jennifer Hegelein.
One of the questions that Ninja asked the student design teams to address was: How can we improve the food and drink experience within the context of a daily commute to work? In order to design a product that makes a real difference, it’s critical to understand the user. Defining that market demographic helps designers identify gaps and pain points in the user’s day-to-day experience. We then developed specific user personas to help in generating concepts for solutions that directly address their needs.
On Day 3 of the Sprint, each team created a board of their research and concepts to present to alumni, faculty and Shark Ninja for feedback and direction. Using that input, our team decided to move forward with a reusable travel cup concept. For the next couple of days, we worked as a team to detail out a solution that met the user’s needs and fit within the form language of current Ninja products.
The last day of the Sprint Project concluded with a tradeshow-style presentation of our team’s final design. Each team across the program presented to a group of judges that included industrial design professionals, alumni, faculty and most importantly our client, Ninja. It was paramount to have clear visuals and a well-rehearsed presentation in order to make the best use of the ten-minute time limit and get as much feedback from the judges as possible.
Our travel cup is called “Infusi” and is specifically designed for commuting workers. From our research, we discovered that many users already bring a travel cup with them to work, but when the “mid-afternoon crash” hits, they want another beverage. Currently, they have to spend time and money buying another one. Infusi stores swappable pods for tea, ground coffee, or even fruit for infused water. It also has a place for milk or creamer. With Infusi, users can have another cup of their favorite drink when they want it, how they like it. The judges awarded us with second place overall and highlighted the strengths of the project in regard to brand identity, successful user journey insights and overall presentation. They also gave us feedback to use for our next iteration, which included further detailing of the lid and touch points on the drinking spout and base.
The Sprint Project was a great experience for our group — not only did we develop an industry-based project to use in our portfolios, we also surprised ourselves with how much we grew as designers and learned from each other!