Design Engineering
Showcase 2021

Enterprise-X

Tags
Entrepreneurship
Product Design
Product Development

Project Details

Student
Kerim Taşkın
Team
Project-X
Supervisor
Dr Eva-Maria Kirchberger
Role
Design engineer, Business developer
Sector
Retail and Consumer Goods
Links
Email
LinkedIn

Enterprise-X is a new initiative run by the Marie Curie award winner Dr. Eva Maria who I had the opportunity to be mentored by to bring a project of passion to life. Enterprise-X internship consisted of research methods, human centred design techniques and enterprise methods that pushed me out of my comfort zone to gain the relevant insight to write a complete business plan. During the internship, I aimed to improve in 13 major areas. I have grown through the placement as I have found myself becoming comfortable with what I wasn’t and creating a validated complete business plan.

Enterprise-X

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

The project I wanted to commercialise during project-X was the Swayer. I came up with the Swayer during exam season at Imperial college. This was a time of stress where I really needed ways to relax. Going on daily morning jogs became a daily habit but seeking a quicker way to feel that sense of calm after a long jog is what motivated me to design the Swayer. The Swayer is a like a cross between a trike and a Tron-bike. It is a novel transportation method that helps its users feel highly engaged when they are using it. The Swayer is an inclusive design as it caters for the needs of an ordinary thrill seeker as well as a thrill seeker who is in a wheelchair as it can be used with hands alone. The Swayer design is aimed to boost people’s mental health by encouraging them to explore the outdoor natural world and get in touch with their body’s by providing an immersive sensual experience. The product was designed from scratch by me through an iterative design process with parts being repeatedly designed and improved multiple times to achieve the simplest and most elegant form the Swayer could be feasible with. Each stage of design was prototyped using a 3D printer both on a smaller scale and later, on a larger scale. I used carbon fibre layering techniques to increase the strength of parts that needed extra toughness and durability.

The three main areas of focus during the internship period can be seen as the product, the business plan and the end user. I was directed to adopt human centred design techniques to link all three of these by seeking user feedback and responses and then analysing these responses to feed them into the product and the business plan. I have learnt the importance of creating personas representative of the end user groups in order to design the product and business plan to serve the end users needs. I then translated the personas into measurable market segments from which I created an effective business strategy. I also created a business model canvas to summarise the businesses main elements. I tested the business strategy directly by cold calling the top 9 businesses in the target group.

One of the five personas that was created
A visualisation comparing value and adoptability of the Swayer to determine the main industries to first target
Triangle illustrating the primary, secondary and tertiary adopters of the product
Design process showing the iterative stages of the design

Role and Contributions

As the initiator of the idea, my responsibility during the internship was to create a solid foundation for the business in mind (Sweren) by creating a business plan that is based upon real evidence and user feedback and developing the existing products of Sweren and bringing them to the market.

During the internship period, I have designed and brought to the market two different products with the main one being the Swayer. I designed the Swayer from scratch (now Sweren’s signature product) with the help of conducting an extensive market research and analysis. I also made two different works-like prototypes for testing and development purposes.

I conducted 10 in depth interviews with the help of the prototypes with random people in Brighton, collected 42 survey responses online and contacted over 30 businesses to gain an in depth understanding of the use cases for the Swayer and the main value that it could offer to organisations and people. Through this market research I have also developed a highly detailed business plan for how the Swayer can be rolled out into the market. I concluded that the best way to do so would be to first target the businesses and charities through which customers can easily see and test the Swayer and buy one for themselves if they desired to do so. Due to the novelty of the Swayer, it was important to identify who the primary adopters of such a new piece of equipment would be. I identified these organisations by comparing the value the Swayer could bring to each company and how easily the Swayer may be adopted by them. The graph from this analysis is shown below.

I tested the theories developed through the researching phase by contacting businesses that may be interested in the Swayer and have initiated the sales of the Swayer through a charity in Scotland called Ability Shetland. The head of the Sports and Development team, Charis at Ability Shetland expressed a very strong interest in taking on the Swayer for their visitors with disabilities with an agreed price point of £1800 for one Swayer currently being made.

I created and launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Swayer which introduced the Swayer to over 1000 people. I also applied to the creative industries grant run by the government which was an excellent learning experience that helped the company understand and summarise the Swayer project and its goals.

I lead a team of people whom I recruited to shoot high quality professional photos and videos of Sweren products to increase the brands image. I also directed a new graduate to create 3D graphical animation for one of the products (the Swallet) in action.

Furthermore, I used Instagram techniques and marketing to increase Sweren’s followers from just 240 people to over 1000 people. I spent around £200 in total for direct advertising for the desired target market and attracted new traffic to Sweren’s new website which I also designed and made using Wix platform. The results from this marketing effort are shown on the right.

I contacted manufacturers from China and found new manufacturers in India to produce the Swallet (Sweren’s card holder) which they have sent to the U.K. I have made an initiation for the sales of the mahogany Sweren card holder by selling two, one for £160 and the smaller one for £80.

I have bought a hobby level CNC machine to start learning how to operate CNC machines and to be able to produce all of Sweren’s products in house and reduce the total cost of Sweren’s products by cutting out the middlemen.

The Swayer is a novel transportation method I designed to help me feel more in touch with myself and thus boost mental health. However, through the internship and extensive research, I realised that the Swayer can be a lot more than what I initially imagined.

Summary

Project-X for me was about shifting from a designer-engineer mindset to an entrepreneur mindset. As an entrepreneur I found it was important to have a good balance between your emotional attachment and passion for the project and your strategic thinking regarding your project by considering where the design can be used, who these people are and what are they willing to pay. It is imperative to seek answers to critical questions like these early on to make informed choices.

Prototypes being tested by myself and others for user feedback