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Kevin Bailey

Founder & CEODesign 1st

Ottawa, ON, Canada

Member Since June 2022


Concept to Execution
Product Development
Product Design


A passionate product designer and business executive, Kevin Bailey helps guide CEO’s, start-ups and established companies through the maze of hardware product development. Spending over 35 years in the detailed designing of hardware products, Kevin is now an expert at assessing risk and opportunity when making the hundreds of decisions required to move from a vision to a physical product that customers find useful and businesses can manufacture. Since the early 1980’s Kevin has been on the ground floor of global hardware product innovation, cutting his teeth with National Research Council, General Motors, Shell, Bell Northern Research Labs and Nortel Networks where he worked on the first global smartphone development in 1994. After founding Design 1st in 1996, Kevin has emerged as one of the leaders at stickhandling hardware product development from concept to design including mechanical engineering and go-to-market manufacturing set-up. As CEO and president of Design 1st, clients and staff rely on Kevin’s strategic thinking to guide the full suite of development and manufacturing oriented product decisions. The company’s results with new product development speaks for itself. More than 1,000 start-ups and global enterprise corporations—such as Motorola, Acer, Stanley Tools, Ericsson and Christie Digital—have brought hardware product ideas to life under Kevin’s guidance. Kevin and his team of thirty creative experts bring up to 70 projects to market for a diversity of clients each year. Kevin is a Mechanical Engineer graduating top of class in 1984 from the University of Waterloo and has been a registered member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario since 1985. Kevin is also a VC and Angel Investor and one of Canada’s leading experts at bringing innovative new hardware product designs to market.

Published content

Navigating business challenges: Lessons from product development


Understanding the pitfalls in product development can also provide valuable insights into navigating early-stage development of a business operation.

How generative AI is streamlining the concept phase in new product development


With the capability to promote creativity and streamline conceptual design, generative AI promises to change our approaches to the entire development process for the better, and here’s how.

Trends shaping product design in 2023 and beyond


Multiple trends that have been gathering steam over the last decade—advancements in AI/machine learning, robotics, and the internet of things—are starting to converge in unexpected and frankly thrilling ways.

Trendspotting in global manufacturing: Why reshoring and localization of product development is here to stay


There has been an increased reversal toward reshoring—bringing back more control to parts manufacturing, assembly, and distribution with local geographic areas closer to the corporation’s home locations and their customers' point of need.

Beyond the metaverse: A product design perspective from the real world


The metaverse too, while far from being the all-encompassing future in my opinion, brings in personal and collected data to a wide platform of applications and opens exciting opportunities for real-world devices that improve virtual experiences and interactions.

Company details

Design 1st

Company bio

Design 1st is one of the most trusted full-service product design firms across North America, with a seasoned team consisting of diverse technical expertise, over 1,000 projects developed, and 130 client patents secured. From Startup to Enterprise, we enable companies to quickly scale capabilities throughout their new product development programs by leveraging our core competencies in industrial design, mechanical engineering, electronics engineering, embedded firmware, and manufacturing setup. Design 1st's plug-in experienced team has helped clients transform their physical ideas into commercialized hardware products across a variety of industries and influenced millions of people globally.


Creative design

Area of focus

Product Design

Company size

11 - 50