Union Made: fostering entrepreneurial opportunities
This research explores how product design graduates can use products they have designed as a vehicle to become more entrepreneurial, with particular reference to barriers and opportunities experienced by ‘designer-maker’ product designers in New Zealand. Inspiration and ideation can dominate focus for product design graduates, with little support for design implementation. Attempting to implement a product designed during post-graduate study the researcher discovered barriers as he pursued opportunities to implement the product. In order to better explore these barriers and opportunities faced during implementation, a case study involving entrepreneurial activities was pursued and documented by the researcher, a post-graduate product designer in New Zealand. Along with the case study, a group of New Zealand Product Design professionals were interviewed in order to analyse their journey from study to the product design profession. The insights are described and brought together with the insights from the case study in order to explore the opportunities and barriers faced by product design graduates. Important themes include personal values, guiding principles and ideals as well as established relationships, collaboration and the ability to use whatever means available to implement a design. Alongside the design of a business and range of furniture these themes have been designed into two further outcomes, a guide and a proposal for a collaborative workspace in order to help the opportunities and barriers found. The two extra outcomes include a simplified booklet for post graduate students thinking about pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity and a proposal for a test space to better aid product designer-maker students with workshop resources.