Multi-cultural experience in one cookie mold
This project challenges students to combine design, engineering, and business skillsets and strategically weigh the desirability, feasibility, and viability.
Each team was required to design and manufacture a holiday gift from scratch and sell them out on a sales gala.
Besides making a physical product, we focused on delivering user experience that could bring family members together and create joy, memories between generations.
A cookie mold with multi-cultural patterns met the end.
Our team was remarkable:
We made 69 units (more than is required) in total in six weeks;
We sold out all items in less than 1 hour on the 2-hour Sales Gala and
Won the Team with the Highest Profit Margin Award!
Coursework | Team Project
Duration | Nov.-Dec. 2021, 6 weeks
Team | Alex Crease, Chen Huang, Nadine Zaza, Gabriela Torres
Role | Analysis, Ideation, Manufacturing, Brand Design
* This video is for demonstrating the coursework outcome only.
Design & Prototyping & Iteration
Branding & Promotion
Offline Sales Plan
1.Research & Analysis
The Pandemic has changed a lot.
It had made such tiny and ordinary conventions as changing holiday gifts into a luxury.
People during the Pandemic didn’t travel and experience other cultures… and in that, empathy for others.
Intergenerational families were not being able to experience each other during the pandemic.
But what remains unchanged is people's hope and best wishes for reunion and experiencing the cultures, charm and wonders around the globe.
" 60% of Americans didn’t travel for the holidays in 2020. "
How might we create a holiday gift that brings people
multicultural experience and reunion?
A Multicultural Cookie Mold!
We analyzed and weighed different options of holiday gifts before we reached consensus on the idea of a cookie mold.
It is the most desirable among the four options timewise, the most feasible in manufacturing and engineering, and the richest in its several folds of meanings. More than anything, the cookie mold offers all-year round experience of making exotic cookies.
Based on the following criteria, the final version of cookie mold won the other ten options:
It saves the most costs for wood;
It requires smaller and easier packaging so that the buyers would not have logistic problems after the Sales Gala;
It is easier to carry by hand; and
It offers additional facets (i.e., the back and the handle if it is hanged) to showcase its delicacy.
As to the cookie patterns, each of us thought about the most unique elements of our own culture:
The speculoos pattern is marked by the windmill, the iconic element from the Netherlands where it is mainly enjoyed;
The mooncake pattern represents a fish, meaning abundance and accumulation of fortunes in Chinese;
The Mamool pattern connotes the stars, a traditional artisanal element in Ancient Arabic culture; and
The Alfajores pattern depicts a monkey featured in Nazca stripes from Peruvian culture.
3.Design & Prototyping
3.1 Cookie Pattern Design & Prototyping
Easier to get out of the mold with petals on the side
Thicker stripes to ensure better patterns after baking
Hard to get out from the mold
Contour stripes did not come out well
Mooncake - BEFORE
Mooncake - AFTER
Alfajores - BEFORE
Alfajores - AFTER
Better to be smaller
incohesive with the other cookie patterns
3.2 Cookie Recipe Design & Prototyping
We tested each mold to measure the amount of ingredients each cookie mold should have. The other three turned out to be perfect with their ingredients respectively, while the mooncake missed the mark:
the egg yolk exploded several times during the baking, and the height was not ideal for egg yolk stuff to be shaped;
Accordingly, the amount of ingredients of a mooncake should be a bit more than was expected, so that the mooncake could well fit into the mold, be shaped without even pressing.
Very good prototypes
Egg yolk was too big;
Not enough amount to fill the mold
The second prototype was much better
3.3 Cookie Mold Design & Prototyping
Accordingly, there were several major iterations on the cookie mold:
The mooncake mold was made shallower and a bit smaller, stripes thicker, and the contour was modified with petals;
The alfajores pattern was re-designed into to round one instead of a circle to reduce ingredients consumption and ease the pressure around the joint neck of the mold;
The speculoos pattern was rotated 90 degree clockwise for better recognition;
The overall patterns were moved a bit closer in the direction to the handle, so that users would more space to hit the mold around the head.
3.4 Cookie Mold Back Design & Prototyping
The key functions of the back design are:
1) to help users locate the cookies when they turn around the hit the cookie mold; 2) For decoration.
The final version before manufacturing：
The major manufacturing processes of making a cookie mold are:
1) CNC Modeling; 2) Edge Clean-Up; 3) Hole Drilling; 4) Laser Cutting; 5) Sanding; 6) Oil Coating; 7) Loop Tie and 8) Recipe Book Binding.
Some moments of manufacturing in teamwork
5.Branding & Promotion
Before the sales gala, we made a series of financial analyses and anticipated several sales scenarios:
As to branding & sales, we leveraged online social media branding tools and offline sales gala, and finished selling all 69 (more than the minimum requirement 50 units) units in less one hour during the two-hour sales gala. Our strategy made it a point that:
By social media, the audience could have access to all materials, such as the E-Pdf recipe books, video-based instructions, or fun facts behind the scenes;
On the spot of the Sales Gala, the audience could have in-person, more immersive experience of making cookies with our products and taste the "byproducts" of our product.
The outcomes were remarkable:
We achieved a project margin up to 80% as to the costs;
Our "experience" strategy worked very well that people on the scene felt engaged with our demonstrations of making cookies and our tasty, multi-cultural cookies!
BakeTheWorld team is one of the most wonderful ones I have ever been in.
Mind & Hand,
Mind & More Hand
We fulfilled MIT motto. Each member was hands-on, failed fast and learned fast. Having a mindset of design sprint and iteration is crucial to a time-driven project.
Better Team Ethic
Without leaders though, everyone was reliable to each other, responsible to his/her parts and spending untiring efforts. Always being ready to minimize the burdens of each other made us a more united, approachable and self-motivated team!
Never Too Late to Learn,
Learn Out of the Box
Each of us fully leveraged and showcased our expertise in our own fields and grasped fundamentals of cross-disciplinary knowledge. Time permitting, it might be better for everyone to take up a new role out of his/her comfort zone, so that all of us would be nudged more, and exposed to more challenges and learn better.
Thanks for reaching here!