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  • Writer's pictureTyler Valiquette

For a product to succeed, it must get M.A.D.E.


M.A.D.E.

If a product is going to succeed, it needs to be made. That seems obvious, and it is. However, I would argue that for a product to succeed in any social impact sense it also needs to be M.A.D.E.

What do I mean by that? Simply put, if a product or services is going to help people significantly impact the problem it is meant to address it needs to have the four following attributes:


Meaningful:

The product fits into the lives of the people who will use it and helps them meet a need they currently have, in a significant way.


Example: I don’t have any lighting built into my home but I still need a way to light my living space after dark. A solar-powered, portable lamp that could light my home would be meaningful – it has a utility I can easily understand and apply to my life.


Accessible:

People can afford, purchase, understand, maintain/repair, and use the product.


Example: If that lamp was priced so that I could afford it; if it was available in my local shop; if I could intuitively grasp how to both charge it and turn it on/off; if I could buy replacement bulbs when the originals burnt out; and, if I was able to consistently light my home, then the lamp would be accessible – I am able to get my hands on one and make use of it.


Desirable:

People want the product and are willing to go out of their way, and make sacrifices, to get one.


Example: I really like that lamp. It’s size/shape/color/utility really appeal to me. In my community it would certainly not be an embarrassment to own one and it might even be a status symbol. That lamp is desirable – I want one.


Effective:

The product does what it was intended to do.


Example: My lamp works great. It fills my home with light, recharges with the solar panel provided, lasts as long as I expected on a charge, and generally solves my lighting problem. This product is effective – it helps me meet my needs and I am happy.



While this perspective might be a bit simplistic, it can still be immensely helpful when we are thinking about developing a product for social impact. So keep this in mind: before you proceed too far down the path of introducing a product into the world, make certain it very clearly and positively meet these requirements – otherwise it will never get M.A.D.E.


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Note: This post was originally published on Catapult Design's blog (here).


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