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Here’s the latest post in our Stumbling on the Job series, where we talk about ways StumbleUpon can not only be entertaining, but also useful, even for your day job. For a chance to be featured here, email with your story about using StumbleUpon for work. Include any specific steps you take or sites you’ve discovered.

Think about all the products you touch every day, even in the first few minutes after you wake up. When you head to the kitchen for breakfast, maybe you pour coffee grounds into your coffeemaker and flip a switch to brew your cup of Joe. Perhaps you take out a clean cereal bowl from your quiet and low-water-use dishwasher. After breakfast, you head to the bathroom and brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush.

Behind the products we take for granted are product designers like Dan Wolstenholme, who first come up with a concept for how to make a device efficient, sleek, and maybe even fun to use every day. Dan wrote to us about how StumbleUpon gives his design projects much-needed inspiration and research:

“When I get given a brief I have to research that particular area and also gain insight into state of the art products that relate to it. This is where StumbleUpon comes in. By using the [stumble by tag] feature within StumbleUpon, I am able to browse websites for hours finding valuable information that could have taken me months to find with a well-known search engine. StumbleUpon is also ideal when I am lacking any enthusiasm at all within my line of work, and I can stumble current and past products to get inspiration and give me that little bit extra of a push. Stumble goes with me everywhere I go, and the majority of my work colleagues all use StumbleUpon as well.

Stumbler Dan Wolstenholme uses StumbleUpon to research what other product designers have tried with everyday products before sketching his own designs, like this Senseo coffee machine.

 

 

“The terms that I use to search for items can vary; for example, if a new project is undertaken into the redesign of a certain product – let’s say, a dishwasher – I will then have to find out every little bit of detail I can for current dishwashers. If [the key purpose of the redesign] would be to cut down of the use of water within the machine, I would pick certain ‘buzz’ words to search, such as ‘sustainable water use’ or ‘water waste.’ StumbleUpon would then throw back at me pages containing information [relating] to these search terms, which then may help me understand how to cut down the use of water, or new ideas that may already exist that may benefit…the proposed design.

“Another key aspect of using Stumble is that I have been able to find detailed information on manufacturing processes and materials. The books I own with this information are brilliant to use; however, due to advancements in technology, new methods and new materials are constantly being created….I had to create a document containing all the key advantages and disadvantages of rapid prototyping, and then I had to compare this to the advantages and disadvantages of design for direct manufacture. Luckily, I bookmarked some pages I used to find me this information, all from using StumbleUpon:

Rapid Manufacturing Overview
“Rapid Manufacturing Set to Go Mainstream”
“Which Rapid Protyping Process is Right for Your Job?”
RepRap Wiki
“On the Job: Technology Makes More Time for the Human Touch”
“Hybrid Prototyping Process Combines Casting & Machining”

Thanks, Dan, for all the great tips on Stumbling for product designers!

- Posted By Katie Gray, Marketing Communications Manager

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