Which is the best baby product brand
MAM - InteractIve learning tools for babies and toddlers
Winter semester 2012/2013
MAM is an international baby product manufacturer based in Vienna and is one of the largest and most successful in this branch. The main products include pacifiers and teethers. MAM is particularly characterized by design and innovation.
With the plan to open up a new business area, MAM was able to determine in preliminary research that around 200 trillion synapses will be developed by the age of three. That is twice as many as for an adult. These synapses contribute to the fact that people are particularly capable of learning in the first years of life.
The aim of the project was to use this knowledge to develop a prototype of a learning tool that can use the potential described in the initial situation to support children between the ages of 0 and 24 months as well as possible. The learning tool should enable development-promoting interaction between the caregiver and the baby.
It was important for the project partner to be able to offer the learning tool within a product range. Another requirement was to be able to use sales and distribution channels that had already been developed. For this, the product should not exceed a certain size.
Approach and methodology
In order to be able to achieve this goal, the "Design Thinking" method (Stanford University, IDEO) was used, which focuses on interdisciplinarity. Students from various university disciplines (e.g. industrial design, business law, biomedical engineering and business administration) worked together on the project. The semester is divided into two phases:
In the first phase, information on the needs and sensory development of babies was obtained through interviews (n = 40). Mainly parents were interviewed, but experts (medical specialists and educators) were also included. Secondary sources (n> 50) such as studies, articles and the Internet were also used. Self-tests and observations took place as part of mystery shopping. Key insights were derived from the needs, which were ranked on the basis of their relevance, the fit with the project and the frequency mentioned. The senses were also classified based on their suitability for a learning tool and the parents' sense of importance.
In the research phase, three particularly relevant needs could be identified: the baby's feedback to the parents, the high importance of quality time and the integration into everyday life. In terms of sensory development, the sense of touch has been identified as the most appropriate approach for a learning tool. Here, too, the parents' willingness to promote this through a learning tool was greatest.
Ideation & Prototype Phase
The findings of the research phase were used in the prototype phase. Numerous ideas were generated through the use of various creativity techniques. The evaluation criteria of parent feedback, feasibility, development support, legal framework and fit with MAM led to a specific concept idea. This was further developed into a physical prototype with the help of 3D printing. Feedback was largely obtained from parents. Testing on babies was only possible to a limited extent due to the strict legal regulations for baby products.
A learning tool was developed from numerous ideas that pursues two approaches:
The baby promotes its motor skills through employment opportunities implemented in the product.
By converting it into a baby massage tool and using it, the development of the skin's senses is also supported and interaction between parents and child is promoted.
The tool can be combined with everyday objects and stimulates creativity through various possible uses and combinations. The parents' need for feedback on the child's current developmental phase was also taken into account in the final prototype.
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