Senior industrial design student Mitchell Harris recently underwent a crash course in entrepreneurship and came out of it with a product to, quite literally, smile about. Over the course of a month, Harris and mentor Nathan Latka designed, manufactured, and brought to market a product that they hope will revolutionize the way selfies are taken. The final product is the Selfie Case, an iPhone case with LED bulbs on its sides to enhance the quality of selfies. “The project itself was a whirlwind, but I couldn’t have asked for better hands-on experience,” said Harris.
Although the project has since calmed down, it has only further fueled his passion for entrepreneurship, an interest he first became “hooked on” in an entrepreneurship class his Professional Practice and Entrepreneurship class, a requirement for all industrial design students. “I’ve definitely learned a lot in the class room about the process of innovation, but I think it’s also necessary to explore and take advantage of the entrepreneurial ecosystem as well. The relationships I’ve built through organizations like E-Club have been just as important as the lessons learned in the classroom.” Harris is an active member of the E-Club where he leads weekly workshops on design thinking and practice.
Harris’ latest project is the focus of his senior design thesis: a minimalist watch that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional and durable as well. “The idea came about like most ideas do. I have a watch that I’m just not happy with. I started think of ways I could improve it,” said Harris. Harris hopes to bring his idea to life before the end of the semester and pursue his entrepreneurial passions full-time after graduation.
After having experienced what it’s like to build momentum and excitement around a product with the Selfie Case, Harris feels more motivated than ever to provide a solution to the next great need. “I think it’s critical to care about the problem you’re solving. When it gets to the point where you have to grind through and make progress, it’s the passion for solving this need for people that’s going to keep you moving forward.” In the coming years, Harris hopes to launch an entire product line of durable goods that can live with you and survive the journey.