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Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator is offering free studio space! Pitches due Sept 21

September 18, 2017

Futureworks and Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator are collaborating to sponsor six months of studio space for two New York City wearable startups as part of the Futureworks Shops program. Find your home among a generous community of entrepreneurs and researchers in fashion design, product design and wearable technology. Studios are 100 square feet, and you’ll have access to advanced manufacturing machines, mentorship and a small-scale production lab.

The due date for video pitches is Thursday Sept 21. The space subsidy runs from Nov 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018. Winning companies will be notified on Oct 1 and publicly announced on Oct 17 at the Futureworks Incubator Finance Workshop at BF+DA.

BF+DA has supported more than 40 emerging ventures and collaborated with close to 200 organizations since launching in 2013. Check out the lineup of machinery here and join Futureworks on Instagram and Twitter.

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Video & 7 Lessons from Connecting to Manufacturers Workshop at A/D/O

August 31, 2017

Futureworks Incubator’s Connecting to Manufacturers Workshop at A/D/O from SecondMuse on Vimeo.

Futureworks Incubator’s recent workshop at A/D/O in Greenpoint focused on connecting to manufacturers, brokering deals and negotiating pricing. The Connecting to Manufacturing discussion was led by Voodoo Manufacturing Cofounder Jonathan Schwartz, Boyce Technologies’ Tom Powell, RockPaperRobot Founder Jessica Banks, PENSA Cofounder Marco Perry, PlayDate Founder Kevin Li and NYCEDC’s Stacey Weismiller.

One gem in particular: Work with manufacturers who are transparent about their limitations, lead times and production costs.

We’ve shared the most important takeaways here, a video of the workshop as well as photos from the event. A big thank you to our facilitators and to A/D/O’s Ben Scheim. Futureworks Incubator is an NYCEDC initiative that’s designed and run by collaboration agency SecondMuse. Sign up for future workshops here, and join Futureworks on Instagram and Twitter.

Seven lessons on connecting to manufacturers

  1. Always know who the point person will be for quality assurance, and always have one person who is overseeing each step of the production process. This will make it easier to troubleshoot when things inevitably break down. – Marco Perry
  2. Consider your supply chain early in the design process. Design your product knowing who will be able to own each step of production, and what their lead times will be. This will make operations strategy and troubleshooting easier in the long run – Kevin Li
  3. Work with manufacturers who are willing to be transparent about their limitations, lead times, and production costs. You also want someone who is accessible, who can be reached during an emergency – Jessica Banks
  4. Be resourceful when searching for suppliers. When I would visit manufacturers, I used to write down and Google the names of the suppliers whose vehicles were in the parking lot. Flip a chair (or any other object) upside down, and often you’ll learn who made it – Stacey Weismiller
  5. Find a manufacturer whose’ production capabilities best fit your product design, but also be willing to adapt your design to the production capabilities of the manufacturer. Good partnership with a manufacturer begins with flexibility and proactive problem solving. – Tom Powell
  6. A sign of a good manufacturing partner is when they ask many thoughtful questions. This demonstrates that they understand and are interested in what you are trying to accomplish. Many manufacturers will over promise, telling you what you want to hear – Jonathan Schwartz
  7. Someone that is pushing towards a product and towards success looks better to manufacturers than someone with their hand out. – Tom

Favorite Resources:
Trade Shows
Society for Mechanical Engineers
Fab Tech
MD&M East

Supplier Sourcing
Thomasnet.com
MFG.com
Makers Row

Large Suppliers
JABIL
TATA
Foxconn

Customs Data
Piers
Import Genius
DataMyne

Finding Manufacturers
How to Find a Factory to Manufacture Your Product (with quote from Marco Perry!)

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Video & 9 Lessons from Understanding Users: Testing Products & Prototyping Workshop at BF+DA

Futureworks Incubator’s Understanding Users Workshop at BF+DA from SecondMuse on Vimeo.

Futureworks Incubator’s recent workshop at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator focused on understanding users, testing products and prototyping. Led by Anna Mancusi of the New York Times, Brynna Tucker of Brooklyn Public Library, Leigh Christie of Misty West and Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson of Incubator company Raceya, the workshop produced great lessons and resources.

One gem in particular: A study by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers found that 50% of programming time is preventable with better research, and that product fixes are 100% more expensive after launch than when it is still in development.

We’ve shared the most important takeaways here, a video from the workshop as well as photos from the event. A big thank you to our facilitators and to BF+DA Director Deb Johnson. Futureworks Incubator is an NYCEDC initiative that’s designed and run by collaboration agency SecondMuse. Sign up for future workshops here, and join Futureworks on Instagram and Twitter.

Nine lessons on testing your product

  1. Your product is about your user. Suspend all of your own assumptions, and meet them in their context.
  2. The entry point to understanding users is understanding their culture. From there you’ll learn what their needs are and you’ll be able to create a product that is accessible and intuitive to them. – Abigail Edgecliff-Johnson
  3. When interviewing a user, let the conversation flow. Ask them open-ended questions, allow them to go on tangents, and see where they land. It’s all about what they’re saying, not what you say. You should be listening more than you are talking. – Brynna Tucker
  4. Make sure your prototype is interactive and test-friendly. The more realistic your prototype, the more accurately you can observe user behaviour during testing – Anna Mancusi
  5. Be willing to let your product go. Let users get their hands on it, let them break it! Put your product in front of as many people as possible, as early as possible. Especially target people who don’t care what you think. They’ll give you the most honest feedback. – Abigail
  6. Get feedback early so you can make key interactions or pivots before you go to market. This will save you precious time and money in the long run. A study by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers found that 50% of programming time is preventable with better research, and that product fixes are 100% more expensive after launch than when it is still in development. – Anna
  7. User feedback doesn’t go away when you have a hit product, in fact it becomes more important. You begin to understand how many different user groups there are and all the different features they want. – Leigh Christie
  8. Be extremely focused on user retention. Don’t abandon a profitable user group. If your user core group loves your product, change it slowly and subtly if it all. If you have another group of users that is interested in seeing major product changes, just create a new product for them. – Leigh
  9. Create loving feedback loops. Cherish and reward loyal users. Give the opportunities to tell their story or talk about why they love your product via social media. –  Leigh

Additional Resources:
Frameworks for Understanding Users
Circular Design Guide by Ellen MacArthur Foundation and IDEO
The Decision Making Unit by Bill Autlet at MIT

Empathy Mapping
Three Creativity Challenges by IDEO
How to Run an Empathy Mapping Workshop by Harry Brignull
Net Promoter Score to measure a company’s willingness to promote your product

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Apply Now! A/D/O’s four-month Futureworks Workspace Membership offers New York City startups free space, mentorship and access to advanced production

August 24, 2017

Futureworks and A/D/O are collaborating to sponsor four months of workshop membership at the Greenpoint space dedicated to exploring the boundaries of design. This opportunity is open to New York City-based hardware startups, advanced manufacturers and industrial designers. It’s part of the NYCEDC Futureworks Shops program, which networks nine production spaces together across the city. Apply today.

Applications are due August 31 and the four-month studio membership kicks off between Sept 15 and Oct 1. The winner will be announced Sept 8. There is space for two residents and companies must be based in, and manufacture or prototype in, New York City. Apply today.

Part laboratory, part coworking space, part design collective, the Workspace at A/D/O is a place where members explore new possibilities in design, products, objects, and fabrication. Members have access to a full suite of fabrication tools, the support from the Workspace team and access to the full calendar of A/D/O design programming. Tools include a Shopbot CNC, Trotec Laser Cutter, Hot Wire Foam Cutter, Lulzbot 3D printers, AVL Compu Digital Loom and Singer sewing machines. You’ll also get to sell products at A/D/O’s concept store and have the opportunity to present your work to the A/D/O and broader design community.

A/D/O is one of nine Futureworks Shops alongside Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator in Bed-Stuy, Bronx Innovation Factory in Fordham Heights, Collab in Hudson Square, Craftsman Ave in Gowanus, NEW INC in NoLiTa, NYDesigns in Long Island City, Voodoo Manufacturing in Bushwick and Zahn Innovation Center in Hamilton Heights. Futureworks Shops is sponsored by New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Futureworks NYC is a key component of the City’s Industrial Action Plan to help emerging and existing manufacturers promote, adopt, and create advanced technologies and increase local production. To ensure these technologies are made accessible to all New Yorkers, NYCEDC created Futureworks NYC as a platform of shared resources from educational programming to access to equipment and space, and connections within the growing community. Futureworks Shops is designed and run by innovation agency SecondMuse whose New York office is based in Chelsea. Join Futureworks on Instagram, Twitter and sign up for our mailer.

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Craftsman Ave launches series of product-launch workshops, Sept 4

August 3, 2017

Sept 4, Craftsman Ave launches a series of consulting workshops to help hardware brands set the stage for a successful launch. Every Monday evening, Founder Taras Kravtchouk will work with you to refine your branding, positioning, prototyping plan, visual identity and packaging. The workshops are part of Futureworks Shops. Craftsman is located in Gowanus and is part of a network of bespoke wood and metal shops.

Sign up here for a limited seat. Passcode: MakerMind

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Video: Futureworks Incubator Product to Market Summit at Kickstarter

July 27, 2017

NYCEDC Futureworks Incubator Product to Market Summit at Kickstarter on Vimeo.

As part of the Futureworks Incubator, we hosted more than 30 startups at Kickstarter for an all-day summit. After breakfast, our early-stage companies presented to Mentors in a rapid succession of two-minute pitches. Then, they went round-robin to gain deeper insight from Mentors into how to improve their product-to-market journey. The summit closed out with Kickstarter’s Zach Dunham and industrial-design consultant Spencer Wright sharing best practices for running a crowdfunding campaign. Dunham and Wright’s The Public Radio went 4.5x over their goal with the support of more than 1,000 backers.

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Voodoo Manufacturing’s factory tour & Craftsman Ave’s product workshop recap

July 26, 2017

Earlier this month, 40 New York entrepreneurs and startups came out for a pair of Futureworks Shops events in Brooklyn. As part of the Futureworks program, production spaces across the city are opening their doors to lead tours, host workshops and share insight into building a hardware business. Sign up for events (they’re free!) and learn more about the spaces (they’re local!).  

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Futureworks Shops gets smart with wearables at BF+DA

July 12, 2017

Friday, we collaborated with Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator to present TEK-TILES, an all-day wearables workshop in Brooklyn. BF+DA is pioneering connected fashion and smart fabrics and with 10% of clothing expected to be connected to apps or the Internet in the next ten years, it’s important work. Facilitators from eight universities worked with entrepreneurs to explore technical materials like conductive yarns, thermoreactive threads, color-changing filaments, AR knitting and optic fibers. Check out photos below, explore more events and join us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Futureworks Shops invites you to jam out with wearables at BF+DA, perfect your product plan at Craftsman Ave and win free 3D printing credits at Voodoo Manufacturing

June 26, 2017

Last month, we launched Futureworks Shops, a network of nine advanced production spaces who are opening their doors to you. In July, we’re inviting you to a series of free events that will help you hone your product and grow your business. The lineup starts July 7 at the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA) in Bed-Stuy with an intensive workshop on wearable technology. You’ll learn about conductive yarns and fabrics, thermoreactive threads and color-changing filaments. On July 11, head to Voodoo Manufacturing to tour their Bushwick 3D-printing factory; you’ll also get a chance to win up to $600 in printing credits. Then on July 12, Craftsman Ave in Gowanus hosts an evening workshop that’ll take you through the core elements of positioning and branding your business. Check out the events and RSVP below. Space is limited.

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VIDEO: Futureworks Incubator manufacturing discussion at Futureworks Shops A/D/O in Greenpoint

June 8, 2017

NYCEDC Futureworks Incubator Manufacturing Discussion at A/D/O from SecondMuse on Vimeo.

Futureworks Incubator supports and champions the growth of 45 startups, and we’ll welcome another 30 entrepreneurs later this summer. We’re passionate about sharing all the resources we create and capture with the wider community. As part of that mission, we’ve shared the panel discussion from the Futureworks Incubator launch at Futureworks Shop A/D/O. Listen as RockPaperRobot, Thimble, WearWorks, StrongArm, Dog Parker and BotFactory share their experiences and most valuable lessons from starting a manufacturing company in New York City. All of our panelists are alumni of New York’s Next Top Makers, the predecessor of Futureworks Incubator. Also, learn more about Futureworks Shops and join us on Twitter and Instagram.

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