KSafe – Motivation through Product Design

Kitchen Safe is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund their tool for goal setting and motivation building.

Nick Tseng and his team at The Kitchen Safe did a lot of research before launching their product to understand how people are motivated by their goals. The most compelling ideas were that short term, concrete rewards are the best way to stay motivated. The idea of pre-commitment and committing to a smart choice early when you know the bad choice will be much more appealing later.

Their solution to short concrete goal motivation is the kSafe, currently running a very successful campaign on Kickstarter. Users place their temptation into the safe and use an app to set and track a goal before the safe will open. The idea is simple but the research, design and engineering that have gone into the product are deep.

The app controlling the safe is open source and the company encourages users to add their own functions and options to the programming. Goals for activities, times and locations can currently be set.


After the Kitchen Safe was featured on Shark Tank a complete redesign was done to the body to make the safe look more like a display piece and less like a flour canister that might sit on their coffee table holding a remote. The new design came with several packaging and manufacturing concerns.

Several design decisions had to be made to get the best possible product with a low cost, high quality and dependable functionality. The gear motors for the safe lock were narrowed down to a small expensive motor and a larger cheaper motor. The larger motor was chosen after extensive packaging analysis was completed and a custom transmission was built to accommodate the size.

The injection mold tooling also had some growing pains to create the curved shape of the safe. The streamlined form of the kSafe was important but came with heavy cost penalties required for additional slides in the mold. A compromise was made and the base of the product is now two pieces attached by sonic welding.

kSafe has blown by its $50,000 funding goal required to start the initial production tools and startup costs. The project has $74,000 as of April 3, 2015 and will be funded on May 8. Units are expected to ship in November 2015.