Guided Human Centered Product Design
for the New England Innovation Academy


Every year the New England Innovation Academy (NEIA) hosts a school wide Sales Gala to end the year. This Gala consists of teams of students working in groups of 2-4 selling products they designed and created to the general public. This acts not only as a capstone for the year, but as the final project students undergo as part of Innovation Studio. As a designer in residence and instructor in the Innovation Studio, I guided each team of students through a human centered design (HCD) process for designing each of their products. Each grade at NEIA is tasked at designing around a theme.

  • 6th & 7th Fashion and Fashion Accessories
  • 8th Lighting 
  • 9th Kitchen Tools and Utensils
  • 10 Sports and Outdoors
  • 11 Individual Passion Projects

HCD Process

The HCD process that each group went through consists of multiple iterative phases that students went through multiple times in order to create their designs. These consist of the Explore Phase in which students ideate and conduct user research to come up with ideas that they think users might want. The Express Phase in which they are communicating their insights and finding and creating needs for their designs. The Create Phase in which they are prototyping their designs. The Test Phase in which they test their designs with their users. Finally, the Implement Phase in which they are mass producing their designs after multiple rounds of creating and testing. 

DFV Framework

As part of the explore phase, each group was tasked with generating as many ideas as possible relating to their classes' theme. They then filtered those ideas and down selected them by assessing them with a DVF framework. D is the potential that the resulting product will be desirable by their users. F is the potential that the resulting product will be technically possible to create using their skills and the tools available to them at NEIA. V is the potential that the resulting product will be financially viable and they will be able to make a profit on their product. 

Student Creation Process

NEIA Students make use of the school's maker space called The Hive to prototype and mass produce their designs. This was the final step of “implementation” in the HCD product design process. A few images of students' finished designs can be seen below.