29 Jul

Designing a good gadget…

What is a good gadget? And why is it so hard to answer that simple question. We should be experts on gadgets, right? We are very obsessed with gadgets now-a-days. I am guilty of this trend as well. I hoard all kinds of stuff, all things that you could broadly classify as “gadget”.

But last week something happened for me: I moved flats. So it was time to clean up, weigh every item’s worth, if it makes the cut or gets throw out. And to tell you the truth; little to none of those must have gadgets made the cut. OUT!

So I got to wonder: What is a good gadget? What is a valuable gadget, and how would I design something that would not get cut quickly and without regret? Because I believe that is something people will be drawn to. A product!

Looking back

I know, I know, looking back is not something fashionable right now, it’s all about the next thing, right? But I strongly believe that we will find the answer what a good gadget is, by looking back and seeing which gadgets of its time made the cut and are still around even today. Gadgets hipsters buy and possibly “reinvent”.

  • Washing machine: nobody, I repeat NOBODY, is still washing regular clothes by hand. Period. It’s just too easy and you can worry about other things until it beeps.
  • Dishwasher: No need to get your hands dirty and wash one dish after another.
  • Dryer: Who still has a good old-fashioned washing line? Putting up a basket of wash is just too time consuming.
  • Refrigerator: No need to buy fresh every single day. Do bulk shopping once a week. Done.
  • Central heating: No need to plan ahead in the summer, chop and stack wood or light and maintain a fire. Just flick a switch and your house gets warm and cozy.

I hope you do agree: those gadgets can be found in any modern household. I for one would refuse to move into a flat without dishwasher. Fact!

Comparing that to today’s “must haves”

And I didn’t. My new household has all of the above mentioned gadgets. But the move left some behind. Like the TV. Gone. Like my collection of micro helicopters. Given away. Just like the rest of all kinds of electronic or mechanical bells and whistles. Stuff I haven’t looked at, used or played with for ages.

Why? Because I am too busy and those gadgets simply had one purpose: Capture my time.

So, what is a good gadget?

After realizing what kind of gadget I threw away, it was just all too clear to me: Good gadgets free time. Bad gadgets steal time. It’s just that simple. We today live in a time period where new gadgets actually take time away from you. They often are more of a distraction than a real helper. And here is the worst part: most new gadgets my friends buy will not just waste their time, but my time as well.

So for me, I want to find a product that will help me be more efficient. That helps me have more “spare” time. And I will pay for it, no doubt.

Time is today’s most vital asset. Let’s invent gadgets and apps that honor that!
What was the last one you found most helpful in that matter?

image source: wikicommons

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