On Christmas Day 1965, a Michigan man named Sherman Poppen delighted his young daughters by fashioning a pair of Kmart skis into a crude board they could use to "surf" the snow-covered dunes behind the family home. The device proved a hit at home and with a local toy manufacturer, writes David Sturt, showing the importance of designing new products with specific individuals in mind. "[C]hances are good when one person loves your innovation, a whole lot of others might too," Sturt writes.

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