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What we’ve learned from hundreds of customers when it comes to designing success

This post is part of a series where our co-founder Steven Korner will be talking about a range of topics – from design, to what it’s like to engineer a product in the sustainability space.

When India and I started Method, we could never have dreamed that we would be selling our products on a global scale. We can’t believe we’ve been lucky enough to take our little idea to the world, trying to help make it a better place.

But more than luck, we believe that Method’s success has come from hard work and an understanding that we can never sit still. We’ve learnt that we have to continue improving what we are able to do in order to reach our goals. This means having the best processes in place, the best team working for us, and to always be thinking of new ways to make office recycling more effective – by designing new products.

As product designers first and foremost, we have golden rules for this: trust the process of design, do the research and have a clear understanding of customer value to come up with the ideas that we can then build.

Product innovation in our eyes is 1% light bulb moment and 99% of perseverance.

Taking the insights from our customers and turning it into something that will enhance their experience is a challenging feat which, if pulled off, gives the greatest reward.

Product innovation in our eyes is 1% light bulb moment and 99% of perseverance.

Our new HD Connector was designed to perform in high-use environments, due to wisdom from our large facility customers. The HD Connector provides a robust connection between the bins ensuring they are always in perfect alignment and in sequenced order, with flexibility of arrangement (allowing our bins to be positioned back-to-back, with multiple station sizes, or to be mounted on a wall.)

We wanted something which seemed seamless to the existing product design and maintained an ease of use. This established goal provided clear boundaries for the design but also gave clear constraints, which in turn gave us focus.

To begin with, we had over 50 ideas and prototyped 15 different ideas; the design was a real evolution and the prototyping process was critical in the design evolving. Having something physical which you can touch, assemble and test is so important. Great products are always best designed with prototypes before you touch a computer, as this allows learnings to be made quickly and the feedback loop to be a short as possible to refine the design quickly.

Great products are always best designed with prototypes before you touch a computer.

We’re really proud of our HD Connector and its smart design – it can be attached to a Method Recycling Station of any size without any need for modification of the original product.

My key takeaways from creating our new product have been:

  1. Always embrace the process, no matter how long it takes
  2. Utilise prototypes that you can run that allow you to learn quickly without huge expense
  3. Most importantly, listen to your customers for insights. This is the most important and effective way to design your success.
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