Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This place has become a dismal place of death like silence.

I just read that on another blog I like and follow. I do not want this place to be like that. So today I write.

A really neat thing happened in the last couple of months.

We have a new product being introduced this fall. It is a series of Origami titles. Now, origami kits have been around forever. I never really did them because I thought the activity was difficult and the instructions impossible to decifer. But we came up with some neat incremental innovations that really improved the experience of making the pieces.

Among other things:
We rewrote the instructions with the novice in mind.
We added little dash marks on the paper indicating where to fold and crease the paper.
We printed on the paper so that when you are finished, the flower (or dolphin, or horse, or fish or whatever) looks like the object.
We used paper that was meant to be folded and creased.
We included a background that stood up in front of your origami projects.

The item is really nice.

A few weeks before we went into our first printing, Cora in our office suggested we do video instructions too. I loved the idea, but worried about our ability to execute. In my head video instructions meant writing scripts, renting film studios, hiring actors, editing and more. We have over 20 different designs in our first run and that sounded like a lot of work. And expensive. Mostly I thought the idea sounded expensive. I made the executive decision not to include anything about video instructions on our packaging until the videos were done.

I did this assuming that it would take months and months to make the videos (if we ever got to doing them).

Then I forgot about video instructions.

Until a few weeks later when Cora and her team e-mail me some links to videos on YouTube.

The videos were up. And they were really good. I mean REALLY REALLY good.

The joke is that they were filmed in our conference room. And they were filmed using a cell phone camera. The script was Cora or Vivian or Sujata just making the piece. They had written the instructions and had made the items a ton of times, so they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew the confusing parts and how to explain them clearly.

Take a look at this link to the LPF YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LPFPuzzle

What I really love about this project is that Cora and the team knew how good these would be and went ahead and did it. The cost was mimimal. All our other projects are moving along right on schedule. I worried about costs and execution. They worried about just making a great video. And it worked.

I am mad at myself that I did not make a bigger deal about the video instructions on our first packaging. I should have trusted the team when they said the instructions would be easy and cheap. I have learned my lesson. We are redoing the packaging right now to catch our next manufacturing run.

And here is a little insiders tip. Check out the Horse Origami video. Around the 6:25 mark there is a neat little trick you can do with the horse.


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