Upcoming PDMA Event in Cary on 18 Apr — Systematic Innovation


I thought this might interest many of you. The event is taught by the Brand Manager of Lenovo. You can sign up at http://pdma2.eventbrite.com. More information about the event is available at www.pdma.org/carolinas. Detailed information about the event follows.



We take networking seriously and innovation is a lot of fun, so what could be better than combining the two?

Join us for an evening of networking and innovation. The evening will begin with beer, pizza, and business card exchange, then we will get an introduction to Systematic Innovation, and then we will split into teams and have some fun innovating some products. Those who have most fun will even win a prize!

About Systematic Innovation (SI): some call it innovation by templates and there is some truth to that even though on the surface the notions of templates and creativity appear to be an oxymoron. However, when you think about it, we may subconsciously use learned templates in our creative thinking anyway. SI techniques attempt to come up with such templates and they can be quite effective tools in stimulating creative thinking that result in innovative solutions. A most visible SI technique is TRIZ, a technique used by companies such as Ford, Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly, 3M, and Samsung.

This session will be led by Stacey Baer from Lenovo and Shimon Shmueli from Touch360.
See bios below.

Who Should Attend Product managers, engineers, designers, and marketing managers.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007



Stacey Baer, Ph.D., Lenovo

Currently the corporate Brand Manager of the international PC manufacturer Lenovo, Staceys primary responsibilities are to manage the Lenovo and ThinkPad brands. Her responsibilities also include branding strategies, product & brand naming, and trademark management.

Stacey received a BA in Psychology in 1986 from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, and then went on to get a Masters of Science (1989) and Doctoral degree (1996) in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Kentucky.

Stacey was hired by the PC division of IBM in 1992 as the lead Human Factors engineer for IBMs PC brands. Her product responsibilities over the next few years included the PS/2, Aptiva and then the ThinkPad brands.

In 1998, Stacey became the first Customer Experience Strategist for the IBM company. She had world-wide responsibility for defining end-to-end customer experience strategies, first for all ThinkPad products and then later for all the PC Divisions customer-facing device brands.

In 2003, Stacey received an Executive MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She became the WW Brand Manager of IBMs PC Division, and then the Corporate Brand Manager for Lenovo after the PC Division was sold to Lenovo in 2005.


Shimon Shmueli, Touch360

Shimon is the founder of Touch360 where he leads product development, innovation and design, and technology and business strategies.

Before founding Touch360, Shimon was with IBM, where he held various leadership positions, among them as worldwide marketing segment manager for PC products, worldwide product manager for the ThinkPad line of consumer notebooks and accessories, and leading the development of new mobile platforms.

Shimon was a co-founder and CTO at KeyNetica, a company that pioneered the use of the USB Flash Drive as a mobile platform. He also served as a marketing and business strategy consultant and as adjunct professor at George Mason University where he taught graduate marketing classes.

Shimon holds an engineering degree from the Technion in Israel; an MSEE/CS degree from Polytechnic in New York; and an MBA from Wake Forest University. Always a student, he is currently pursuing graduate studies in industrial design at North Carolina State University.

Shimon has been a speaker and mentor in various forums, including Taiwan Design Center, Johns Hopkins University, and Virginia Tech School of Architecture & Design. He is a professional member of IDSA, IEEE, HFES, DMI, and PDMA.

PDMA Event on 22 Feb in RTP, NC on Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property – The Top 10 Things You Need to be Aware of When Developing and Bringing a New Product to Market

The Carolinas Chapter of the Product Development and Management Association invites you to kick off its 2007 professional program and tackle the important issue of intellectual property with Tracy-Gene Durkin, Director of renowned Washington-DC IP law firm Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox.

Using case studies, Tracy will highlight the problems that arise when intellectual property issues are not considered in advance and fully integrated in the product development process. She will cover topics including joint development, protecting product configuration, and protecting IP internally, critical dates to keep in mind in the patent process, and proper documentation of invention dates, among others.

We will have in-house perspective as well from a Durham-based organization that helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Please join us to exchange points of views and build relationships with your peers as well as gain insights from our speaker:

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin, is a director in and heads the Mechanical Patent and Trademark Group of Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox. She has over twenty years of experience obtaining and enforcing worldwide intellectual property rights, including utility and design patents, trademarks and copyrights. Ms. Durkins client counseling experience includes helping clear new products and trademarks for use in the marketplace, selecting appropriate IP protection, and enforcing such protection through mediation, litigation and licensing. Ms. Durkin has spoken internationally on topics such as design patents, IP audits, mediation, IP protection on the Internet, and trademark co-branding and licensing for non profit organizations. She is Chair of the Industrial Design Committee for the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) and a member of the Industrial Designs Committee of the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

Who Should Attend

Product managers, engineers, designers, and business managers. This event qualifies as 2 Professional Development Hours toward PDMAs NPDP recertification.

Date Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Time Networking & Registration 6-6:45 pm; Presentation and Q&A 6:45 8:00 pm; Pizza and drinks.

Location MNMC Auditorium, 3021 Cornwallis Rd, Research Triangle Park (Durham), NC 27709.

Fees $20 members, $35 non-members, $10 students and volunteers. $10 additional for walk-in. Cash or check only. Fees include handouts.

Registration Online at http://pdma.eventbrite.com

Follow Up to “Camping as a Product”

Hiking on Mount Mitchell

View from the Gap Trail on Mount Mitchell in North Carolina


This podcast is in response to some of the e-mails that I received about the earlier podcast about “Camping From The Viewpoint Of A Product Designer. Both of the audio segments below address learning points from the discourse on camping as a product. The audio was recorded in two different days. My plan was to make one long podcast. However, the two different recordings took two different directions, so I decided to make two podcasts from them. If you havent listened to the earlier podcast on camping, you might want to do that before diving into these.

Have a great Monday!

Montie Roland

President – Montie Design (www.montie.com)
President, Carolinas Chapter of the PDMA (www.pdma.org/carolinas)
Home of the NC Product Design Directory

Balancing Vision and Process

Process may be king in our industry, but vision is the treasury behind the throne room. Product developers can find detailed processes in books, or even from internal ISO procedures. Executing that process is one of the difficult parts of managing product development.

Vision, is almost a dirty word at times. Vision can blind you. Vision can guide you. Vision can lead you to the most successful product your organization has ever had.

Balancing vision and process is extremely important for long term success. The attached podcast (17 minutes, 9 seconds in length) discusses this issue. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. You can leave them here, or send an email to montie@montie.com.

Have a Great Day!

Montie Roland

President – Montie Design (www.montie.com)
President, Carolinas Chapter of the PDMA (www.pdma.org/carolinas)
Home of the NC Product Design Directory

Three Consumer Trends


I received an e-mail last night from a fellow product developer. He is Taiwan giving a talk about “Design for Experience” and designing electronics for the American consumer market. He posed the following question:

Can you identify, from your own intuition or knowledge, top 2-3 customer behavior or cultural trends that affect the US consumer when buying electronic products? Just as an example, are Americans becoming less brand-loyal because they have more comparison data available to them?

Responding to his e-mail resulted in the following thoughts about trends and the American consumer:

Dissatisfaction with Overly Complex Products

These are products that arent well designed. They have difficult interfaces; probably where some engineer demanded a whole bunch of extra features at the expense of usability. They may also be products where the designers and engineers didnt have a vision for an easy-to-use product, i.e. they didnt design for experience.

ABC News reported that “complexity causes 50% of product returns”. They went on to say:

The average consumer in the United States will struggle for 20 minutes to get a device working, before giving up, the study found.

Product developers, brought in to witness the struggles of average consumers, were astounded by the havoc they created.

She also gave new products to a group of managers from consumer electronics company Philips, asking them to use them over the weekend. The managers returned frustrated because they could not get the devices to work properly.

Most of the flaws found their origin in the first phase of the design process: product definition, Den Ouden found.

The entire article can be read at:


When this happens, products get returned (which is horribly expense to the manufacturer and the reseller). When a customer returns a difficult to use product, it is likely they will try a less expense model (with less features / complexity).

New is Better Mentality

This a potential trap is a trap for product designers and manufacturers. If you are a manufacturer and you assume that your product will have a usable lifetime of two years, then you will have some percentage of products that just plain wear out before then. This leads customers to believe that it was a crappy product and they may look for another manufacturers product when they replace the item. This is a trend that I believe is hurting Apple in the MP3 market. This is a very competitive market where word about their product failures (not many, but enough) has given them a black eye at the time when some people (new is better folks) are considering upgrading their players. Apple has a great product, but their product failures (less than 2% of products) are widely known. These failures are often an excuse for teenagers who want to move to the “new is better” (i.e. the Zune).

Culture of the Online Review is Here

There a now many websites that allow consumers to review the products that they purchase. However, this open environment can be a double-edged sword. Apple actually allows product reviews and discussions on the www.apple.com website. If you dont embrace your user group, then it is likely that some ambitious webmaster will (and you lose the ability to do it on your own in a meaningful way). The internet is here, online reviews are here to stay. Here are some ways that you can make the most of the opportunities:

A) Allow negative remarks

Every so often, Clark Howard (a radio personality at www.clarkhoward.com) reads some of the negative remarks from his forums on the radio. Many of his listeners are extremely loyal. This type of transparent behavior, on his part, only substantiates the philosophy of customer service and company tranparency (when it comes to customers) that he preaches.

B) Respond to criticism with product improvements

If you make design changes (of the next round of products) based on on-line feedback, then tell your online users what you did. Thank them for the input. A note from a company president on the relevant forum, thanking someone for their feedback just created customers for life and probably evangelical ones at that.

C) Dont blow off your online reviewers as “kooks”

Granted there is always some “dissatifed at life individual” whom no one can please, but other online reviewers pick up on that an discount most of those opinions. Look for two things in the online reviews.
Identify real issues that the users face in operating your product. Most importantly look for work arounds that users develop for product definciencies. Customer work arounds are your customers doing your creative work for you. Evaluate each customer work around very carefully. They are a potential gold mine of product improvements. Some work arounds may lead to you design new accessories (which represent the potential for follow on income and extended product sales life). Other work arounds may lead you to significant, or minor, product design changes.

D) Never, no never, lash out at online reviewers

The truth is the truth no matter who states it, or how it is stated. Many people get rude and overly critical when posting online. They say things they would never say in person. Look for the truth, understanding that most online reviews will be negative.

E) Understand lurking

Only of a small percentage of online viewers will ever actually post in the forums. This is called lurking. Lurking is where you look, but never post. If you are doing well 1-3% of your visitors will post. Any percentage higher than 3% should be considered as a huge success. Low lurking percentage means that you have a highly involved user community.

F) Be bold and consistent over the long run!

Lets say a customer is complaining the product needs some easily added feature (easily added if you are designing from scratch). Maybe you could even implement this feature with a change in firmware. Once you make the firmware change you have to test, distribute etc. Making this change requires resources that you are currently using on the next generation product. If you make this change, you potentially slow down the release of the next generation of product.

To make it worse, in a meeting a couple of years ago, someone suggested this feature. However, it was deemed more important to spend time on other features. So now you are faced with a decision. Do I slow down the new product to implement a “customer relations” change, or do I just keep going and forget about the potential improvement. If you go on with the new product, getting to market quickly is important. However, adding the feature to the current represents a potential win amoung the user / customer base.

It is much easier to sell to an existing customer than find new ones. Jay Conrad Levinson talks about this in the book “Guerilla Marketing”. You can find out where to purchase the book at www.gmarketing.com. As we all know, because of the customer, marketing and product design are intimately related. Why have to spend all the money to find new customers, when the existing customers are already there. Promoting on-line reviews can help sell the next round of products as well as sell products today. Promoting this type of activity helps marketing and sales, but should be driven by the product managers and designers for maximum value (i.e. return of investment).
If you implement the new feature in the current product, then do it quickly. This type of response is appreciated by the person suggesting the improvement. In these days of “customer diservice” other readers will be amazed at how responsive the manufacturer is to their opinons and suggestions. Maybe your programmers would appreciate the opportunity to directly impact customers by being responsive to customer feedback. Maybe this responsiveness is part of a company-wide attitude of excellence.

Communicate the addition of th new feature to the customer(s) who suggested it. Maybe make him, or her, a celebrity amoung the other users. Maybe put him in the next commercial. Maybe let him send out a mailer, or e-mail, (under your supervision) to all of the registered users.

This type of boldness isnt tolerated in many companies, so you may not be able to pull this off in your organization. Many users would be thrilled with smaller gestures (less risky) from the manufacturer. Assigning a product manager the collateral duty of just responding to customer comments could make a huge difference in how your product is perceived in the broader market. This is especially true with the rise in popularity, and credibility, of the blogosphere. At the same time, that product manager has his finger on the pulse of a portion of the user community. That can translate to design wins on future products.

Whatever you do, make sure that you do it consistently and continue the user relations campaign for an extended period of time. Starting a user relations campaign up and suddenly going silent may do more damage than doing nothing. You can read more about public relations consistentcy on Frank Williams (Pioneer Strategies) blog at
http://www.pioneerstrategies.com/newsltr_oct04.htm and http://www.pioneerstrategies.com/newsltr_may04.htm.

Consistentcy, longevity, and a passion to be an advocate for the customer are the keys to making the most of these opportunities.

As always, you comments and suggestions are welcome. Please dont hesitate to leave a comment here, or send an e-mail to montie@montie.com.

Best Regards,
Montie Roland
President – Montie Design (www.montie.com)
President, Carolinas Chapter of the PDMA (www.pdma.org/carolinas)
Home of the NC Product Design Directory

Providing Customer Value Every Day

Yesterday, Dec 1st, I had the opportunity of attending a quarterly leadship forum sponsored by Pioneer Strategies in Raleigh, NC. The speaker, Bob Luddy, is a regional business success story. Some of what I took away from the conference is in the podcast below.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. You can post your comments here, or send an e-mail to montie@montie.com.

Best Regards,
Montie Roland
President, Montie Design
President, Carolinas Chapter PDMA

Wii vs. PlayStation3 – What We Can Learn from the Game Console War

The last four weeks have contained much dinner time discussion about my step-son ditching the Xbox 360 (all of six weeks old, which he bought with money that he earned) to buy the new, cool PlayStation3. You may be asking what does this have to do with product design management. Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony are competing over the console space. A game console is a thinly-disguised computer that hooks up to your TV to play games. When I was growing up the console space was brand new and was dominated by Atari. Later generations of game consoles boiled down to a console war between Nintendo and Sega. Sega lost. The latest consoles are the Sony Playstation3 (Sony), Xbox 360 (Microsoft), and the Wii (Nintendo).

The Sony Playstation3 has cutting-edge graphics and physics powered by the IBM cell processor. The XBox 360 is a year old now and doesnt quite have the graphics horsepower that the Playstation has. However, it does have a very successful on-line component called Xbox Live. The Sony costs from $500-600. The Xbox costs from $400-500. The Wii costs from $200-300 and doesnt have the graphics (or physics) horsepower of either of its competitors.

The Wii does have a very innovative controller that was designed to make game play easier. Both the Playstation3 and the XBox controllers are button farms. They can be difficult to use. The other Wii advantage is its emphasis on ease-of-play. The system was designed to make game play easy. Making it easier makes it more attractive to a wider audience, and not just hard-core gamers. Nintendos plan is to design a better experience for a broader audience.

My step-son (age 16) test played the Wii last night. When he got home, he was raving about how great the Wii was. When I asked how it could be that great he said; “I like the way it played”. This goes back to exactly what Shimon (www.Touch360.com) has been saying about designing for experience: https://montie.com/PDMA/2006_sept_event.

The Wii, it doesnt have the sheer computing power of the PlayStation 3, but it does have a well-designed experience. We, as product designers and managers, should strive for similar forms of design excellence. It isnt always about additional features and more performance. Elegance can be difficult to achieve, but the result is usually worth the effort especially if you are the end user.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Montie Roland
President – Montie Design (ww.montie.com)
President – Carolinas PDMA (www.pdma.org/carolinas)

Camping from the Viewpoint of a Product Designer

Camping is an activity that transcends the standard social and economic assumptions. Camping is an extremely popular activity that attacts hundreds of thousands of participants each year. We come to see and experience locations and activities like:

Hiking in the Appalachian Mountains
Hiking on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

Hiking on Mount Mitchell in North Carolina

Sliding Down a Gigantic Rocks into 56 Degree Water at Sliding Rock

The modern camping trip is a buffet of products designed to help improve the camping experience. We bring, use and make icons, and artifacts, like:

The Venerable Coleman Camping Stove

Everyone Loves a Campfire Followed by SMores

When the Tents Leak, The Pop-Up Shelters Come Out

PVC Helps this Camper Accommodate for Missing Product Features

The podcast (below) discusses the camping experience and how we could redesign that experience to make camping more universally acceptable. Hopefully this exercise will give you ideas on how-to evaluate the experience associated with your products. Evaluating the experience associated with an existing product can be an excellent way to define new product experiences. These experience models lead to developing new, or derivative, products that make these new experiences possible.

As always, your comments, and suggestions, are welcome. Please send them to me at montie@montie.com. Have a great day!

Montie Roland

25 Oct 06 — Joint PDMA / ASME / TEC Meeting

“Integrating Consultants into a Well-Managed Design Process”
A Joint PDMA / TEC / ASME Event

Date: 25 Oct 06

Time: 6:00 PM – Pizza / Networking
6:30 PM – Keynote Speaker
7:00-8:30 PM – Roundtable Discussion with Audience Participation

Location: Lord Corp., 111 Lord Drive, Cary, NC 27511-7923 (e-mail montie@montie.com for directions)

Cost: $10 Members, $25 Non-members, Free for Students

Please RSVP by Oct. 20th to asme.rsvp@yahoo.com

Keynote Speaker: Charles Lord, Triangle Advanced Design and Automation, LLC

Consultant Roundtable Members

Project Management — Sean Ahr
Mechanical / Industrial Product Design — Anthony Anibale
Computer Modeling and Performance Prediction — Michael Hiller
Dealing with Electronic Emissions — David Guzman
Software Development — Michael Izquierdo
Role of Marketing in NPD — David Chapman
Embedded Systems / Safety Issues — Coleman Moore
Balancing Available Capital and Product Development — Thomas Vass

Thanks to Our Sponsor: JMC Machine & Tool, Apex, NC

More About the Roundtable Members

Sean Ahr, Director of Engineering
Porticos, Inc.
Morrisville, NC

At Portico,s Sean is responsible for providing our customers with innovative and effective solutions that exceed their expectations. With over 10 years experience in both consumer products and aviation design and development, Sean works to ensure that our customers projects are managed with excellence. Prior to his service at Porticos, Sean worked in both mechanical design and project leadership roles in multiple divisions of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, The New Piper Aircraft Company, and Northrup-Grumman Aerospace. He holds and has contributed to several design and utility patents, and has been instrumental in gaining compliance to regulations of federal agencies such as the FAA and FCC. Sean holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University, and has advanced training in engineering management and organizational behavior.

Anthony Annibale, Partner
Insight Product Development
Raleigh, NC

Anthony Annibale is a partner and managing director for Insight Product Development in Raleigh, North Carolina. Insight has offices in Chicago, Boston and Raleigh, and 90 professionals on staff, and is one of the largest product development firms in the United States. Anthony manages all aspects of the business for Insights Raleigh office as well as running many of the major client programs. He also shares the responsibility of managing the firm in corporate development, client strategies, and new business ventures. Anthony has more than 15 years of engineering experience in product design, manufacturing, product innovation planning and product line management. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University of Norfolk, Virginia.

Fredrick D. Buggie, President
Strategic Innovations Intl.

Frederick D. Buggie has over 20 years experience directing Programs that apply the group-creativity by teams of selected experts in diverse fields (prepared in advance) to generate innovative concepts for leading companies in the US and Europe, in virtually every industry, to achieve their business growth objectives … including: 1) Identification of new product development opportunities, that fit the companys particular technologies and production capabilities; 2) Fully commercializing a newly-developed, versatile product or process, by uncovering all of its promising market applications. Author of the widely acclaimed business book, New Product Development Strategies, and more than 50 articles published in trade & professional journals, including “The Four Phases of Innovation” (Journal of Business Strategy), Mr. Buggie also conducts Executive Seminars & Workshops on Innovation in Business. He is an Elected Fellow of The Institute of Directors in London, and served as President of The New York Chapter of The Association for Corporate Growth.

David Guzman
Raleigh, NC

David Guzman has been an independent consultant for 5 years and operates in the area of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and RF circuit design. Previous to starting his business, David held engineering positions in several companies including Square D Company, Nortel Networks, RF Microdevices and Solectron. David has spent almost 20 years working in the areas of new product development in industrial controls, RF circuit design and the design and test of circuits and systems for Electromagnetic Compatibility compliance. David holds a BS from the University of Rhode Island , an MSc. form the University of Nebraska and an MSEE from North Carolina State University .

Michael Hiller
Cary, NC

Michael Hiller earned his BSME and MSME from North Carolina State University, and he is active in ENC ASME. His consultancy focuses on finite element analysis simulation & optimization using Multiphysics ANSYS software. This best-in-class software integrates linear and non-linear structural, thermal, magnetic, and fluid/air flow & cooling phenomenas. His organization provides FEA services to designers, manufacturers, and inventors, and he also helps companies develop in-house FEA competencies if desired. He has simulated everything from snap fits, to integrated circuits, to telecom enclosures, to superconducting magnets, to bridges, to 500 marine structures (and everything in-between). Mike has worked in the manufacturing sector as well as the CAD/FEA (ProE & ANSYS) software sales channel – – his clients benefit from his unique combination of practical experience as well as software industry “insider” expertise.

Creed Huddleston, VP
Omnisys Corporation
Raleigh, NC

Creed Huddleston is the Vice President of Omnisys Corporation, a Raleigh-based company that specializes in the development of real-time control and communication systems for OEM customers. In his 11 years with Omnisys, Creed has participated in the creation of products that are deployed globally to thousands of end-users such as Daimler-Chrysler, Becton, Dickinson, and Company, and Imation Corporation. The company is an authorized consultant for Microchip, Lattice Semiconductor, and Trolltech, and it is also a member of the Freescale Design Alliance Program. In addition to his duties with Omnisys, Creed serves on the technical advisory board for Quickfilter Technologies, Inc., a Dallas-based startup producing mixed-signal integrated circuits that provide high-speed analog signal conditioning and digital signal processing in a single package. His book Implementing Intelligent Sensors Using the Microchip dsPIC will be published by Newnes in December of 2006.

Mike Izquierdo, Software Development Manager
Kidde Aerospace & Defense
Wilson, NC

Mike Izquierdo currently is the Software Development Manager for Kidde Aerospace & Defense, a Hamilton Sunstrand Company. He manages the development of safety critical software for the aerospace industry in overheat detection and fire detection/suppression systems for both military and commercial aircrafts. He developed software for the Airbus A380 Overheat Detection System and managed the A380, Boeing B787 Dreamliner, C17 Overheat Detection System and the Joint Strike Fighter. He is currently a member of the SC-205 subcommittee working on DO-178C. Hes been in the engineering field for over 20 years and has worked in the fields of ASIC and FPGA design and PCI board design of Audio/Video Codecs. He was with IBM for 15 years, received his PhD from NC State in 1997 and has been an IEEE member for 27 years.

David Chapman, CEO
919 Marketing Co.
Holly Springs, NC

David Chapman has over 20 years of senior-level marketing and business development management experience. He has served on the American Marketing Associations Best New Products Awards Panel and is a member of the National Association of Certified Consultants. Davids career path combines corporate and consulting roles, and includes stints as CEO of a national professional services firm, VP Marketing for the market leader in workforce technology training, and global Account Director for the largest global advertising agency network.

Coleman Moore
CDA Design Group

Coleman Moore is an experienced consultant and engineer, with over 25 years
of experience in the embedded systems, product design and safety systems
industries. Coleman has worked with many clients and corporations across
the U.S. and Europe. Coleman specializes in electronics product design and
in getting products to market quickly and effectively.

Thomas Vass
Good Business Advice
Raleigh, NC

Thomas Vass is a registered investment advisor for small high tech companies and private individuals. He helps companies raise growth capital. He is also an author and economist, and writes about the relationship between product innovation and economic growth. His new book Predicting Technology: Identifying Future Market Opportunities and Disruptive Technologies, published by The Great American Business & Economics Press, Inc., is available at www.gabby-press.com

Hear Shimon’s (at Touch360.com) Presentation on How-to Design for Experience


As product designers, we often get hung up on features. Features are important, but they are only part of the experience that the user has when he interacts with the product. The user is concerned with the experience.

Follow Shimon (a Carolinas-PDMA chapter member) as he leads us through the process of designing for experience. The presentation came from the September Carolinas-PDMA chapter meeting. This is a great way to look at design from the users point of view.

The presentation (audio plus power point) from the September chapter event (Design for Experience) is available at:


The audio only version is available at:


As always, please send your suggestions and comments to montie@montie.com.

Have a great day!
Montie Roland
President, PDMA Carolinas

Go Here for Funds for Your NC Startup!

Afternoon All,

Here is your chance (press release below) to get a grant to help fund your start-up in NC.

Their website is www.ncidea.org.

Happy Hunting!


NC IDEA seeks grant applications from entrepreneurs and early-stage companies

RESEARCH TRAINGLE PARK, N.C. NC IDEA is seeking grant applications from North Carolina entrepreneurs and early-stage companies focused on information technology, medical devices or material sciences.

NC IDEA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to helping establish and develop early-stage companies through the commercialization of research innovation. NC IDEA plans to award $150,000 ?proof of concept? grants to help bridge the gap between innovative ideas and venture capital funding. The grants are designed to prepare companies for equity funding, accelerating the creation of new North Carolina companies and jobs.

NC IDEA is accepting online applications through its Web site (www.ncidea.org) beginning today, Aug. 21. Grants of up to $50,000 per company will be awarded in December.

The grants support business activities that validate potential markets, reduce business risks, and advance projects to the point at which they are suitable for consideration by private equity investors. Preference is given to companies that have not previously received equity financing. An entrepreneur who has not formed a company may apply, but company incorporation is required prior to the awarding of grant funding.

Bridging the Innovation Gap
Many new technologies are not successfully transferred out of universities and research institutions because of a funding gap between government and private equity support. Research funding typically does not include support for business development activities or development of product prototypes suitable for mass production. Yet, venture capital funds typically do not invest in companies until they have a product and are already generating revenues from customer sales.

The NC IDEA grant program provides a novel source of assistance to bridge this gap. Earlier this year, NC IDEA awarded $225,000 in grants to seven early-stage North Carolina companies.

“NC IDEAs grant program offers young pre-venture companies an opportunity that cant be found elsewhere,” said Josh Whiton, chief executive officer of TransLoc, which received an NC IDEA grant in the previous cycle earlier this year. Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam, a professor at Duke and project manager for previous grant recipient Illuminus, agreed. ?There are no other sources of early funding that can be sought to address these issues,? she said.

In addition to funding, NC IDEA and its strategic partners facilitate access to business and technology leaders who will mentor and guide entrepreneurs to help them overcome research, product development, sales and product adoption hurdles. NC IDEA collaborates with the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), The North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA), the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and Southeast TechInventures.

The initial ?pre-proposal? applications must be submitted online by Sept. 15. Approximately 12 to 15 companies submitting ?pre-proposal? submissions will be selected to participate in a subsequent full proposal submission and review period from Sept. 15 through Oct. 27. This process will include submission of a more in-depth proposal and prioritized budget for use of grant proceeds, and potentially a presentation from the company to a NC IDEA Grants Program advisory committee.

NC IDEA provides grants, loans and traditional venture capital to help young companies between seed funding and Series A financing. The non-profit company further supports these companies by leveraging strategic partnerships and alliances to help companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals. NC IDEA is committed to supporting North Carolinas economic development by ensuring young, innovative companies grow, create jobs and become contributing business leaders. For more information, visit www.ncidea.org. Media Contact: Scott Yates, Largemouth Communications (for NC IDEA), 919-649-6621, scott@largemouthpr.com.