Cultivating Serendipity

Watercolors flowing through a sheet of paper to create this adorable puffin. Charvi’s first watercolor painting!

Serendipity —1754, coined by a Persian fairy tale about three princes from the Isle of Serendip who possess superpowers of observation.

“As their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.”

It may seem like things that have fallen in place for KNOX through luck. I think it’s more likely that we’re cultivating the art of finding what we’re not seeking.

In selecting the shape of Aeris, for instance, we decided to place these 3D printed shapes into the hands of kids, and see which ones they would hold. No solid conclusion was drawn. There was no unanimous decision.

Some of the original explorations for the shape of Aeris. Our current design was inspired by the top left prototype! Taken from my iPhone 6S.

So, we placed our form prototypes on our desk as we sat undecided. Every Friday during our time at IndieBio, Arvind (former Design Director at IDEO) swiveled on his chair next to our desks, as each company shared their progress during the week. Unconsciously, Arvind grabbed the top left shape and played with it in his hands as he provided his honest feedback to each team. We noticed this action repeated, for several weeks.

Thus, the shape of Aeris had been selected.

My beautiful sketches of the original hot air balloon concept for the Aeris game.

Originally, I visited an after school program at Beach Elementary school showing kids the concept of a hoverboard game. You navigate a hoverboard with your breath and need to dodge skyscrapers and clouds above to reach the next level. One kid asked me, “But what if I run out of breath?”

Later, I learned that the kid who asked me that has asthma, which is why he was concerned. So, I drew another concept that didn’t involve forceful breathing with an idea that our team discussed several days earlier. You collect coins at chance as you brush against the grass below (sometimes you get nothing), and fly up to the sky to keep it in your basket.

The only way to get to your next destination is through blasting out into the atmosphere. This is when two kids demonstrated, “You mean like this?” as they exhaled as hard and as long they possibly could.

That is how we moved forward with the concept of soaring through the skies on a hot air balloon, which can take you to a new destination everyday.

Think it’s a coincidence that the Aeris device looks like a hot air balloon?

As we refined the shape of the Aeris device, we noticed that there was an opportunity to unify the hardware and app through the concept of a hot air balloon.

Everything we do at KNOX has an intention and reason behind it. When we recognize an opportunity in front of us, we seize it.


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