NY/NJ PDMA & Cosmetic Chemist 2016 Symposium Was a Success in Both Collaboration and Content

    By: Elizabeth Conner on Mar 16, 2016

    By Prashant Shah, VP of Programming, NY/NJ Chapter of the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA)

    The full day “Professional Development Symposium - 2016” on January 26, 2016 was a joint effort between the NY/NJ PDMA Chapter and the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC). The weekend before the event, a blizzard brought the New York/New Jersey region to standstill with flooding, hurricane-strength winds and near-record snowfall.  Despite that, over 100 participants turned out for speakers and panels on many innovation topics in addition to robust networking.

    Rey Ordiales, President of NYSCC, reached out to Leon Fraser, President of NY/NJ PDMA Chapter, with an interesting proposal in Fall 2015. Our members, Rey said, are scientists, product managers, and suppliers in the cosmetic industry.  He said, if NY/NJ PDMA can pull together a full day of compelling content on cutting edge product development issues, NYSCC will underwrite the cost.  Leon, seeing a great opportunity to broaden the reach of PDMA, agreed.

    PDMA NY/NJ VP of Marketing Anastasia Conlon and Nadine Dewdney and Mavis Dennis from the Board of NYSCC were the planning committee co-chairs.  When I joined the first few joint conference in October, the hope was for 100+ registrations. I thought that number goal was a little far-fetched.  In the past few years, I have not been involved in any chapter event where registration went into triple digits. Clearly, this was going to be a challenge.

    In order to get top speakers, the PDMA NY/NJ Board looked at topics presented at the PDMA national conferences, did a literature search on hot topics in cosmetic industry marketing, and brainstormed about experts in our network.  We came up with a list of speakers that NYSCC was happy with.  We informed all speakers that it was required to have engaging and audience interactive elements in their presentations. We felt this would bring greater value to the participants than just speeches.

    On January 26, when I arrived at The Grand Summit Hotel at Summit, New Jersey; I learned that we had 136 registered attendees – 115 from NYSCC and 21 from PDMA NY/NJ. The achievement of our registration target proved that our speaker selection, venue location, and pricing (Members $35, Non-Members $70) were very attractive.

    At the entrance of the event, attendees were greeted at the registration table. Each attendee was given a name tag and a bag containing the NYSCC newsletter, NYSCC diary/pen, post-event survey form, and copy of each speakers PowerPoint presentation. The NYSCC newsletter, Cosmetiscope, gave attendees information on the planning committee co-chairs, the day’s agenda, and the speakers’ background.

    Before the program start, a continental breakfast was served. There was plenty of networking opportunity during breakfast, lunch, breaks, and even an open bar after the conclusion of the event.

    Opening remarks were made by session co-chairs – Mavis Dennis and Nadine Dewdney of NYSCC.  Both are with Colgate-Palmolive Company. The moderator for the day was Anastasia Conlon of NY/NJ PDMA who works for Thermo Fisher Scientific.

    Dr. Sharon Kennedy, Senior Technical Associate at Colgate-Palmolive Company, spoke on “Customer Focused Product Development: Designing the Right Product”. She had an interactive presentation which showed video clip of a TED talk – the Marshmallow Challenge. She engaged everyone for the group activity of designing lipstick. She talked about rapid prototyping and the importance of getting out of lab to talk customers. The audience focused on the global market was asking her how to develop a product to accommodate global taste.

    Sandra Diaz, President of DIAZ & Co., addressed the topic “Multicultural Considerations for NPD”. She pointed out that the US multicultural buying power is $3.4 Trillion, the size of Germany’s economy. She gave great examples of how to design items to support local needs, including examples of jeans for Latino women and wireless data plan for Telco customers.

    Stephen Birtsas, Senior Manager, Kalypso focused on how not to fall into the trap of “Launch ‘em and Leave ‘em”. He asked one of the attendees to make paper plane in 20 seconds and then throw it, without defining what is considered success. His point was that many products meet the first year target, but not the target for next couple of years. His idea was to do MAA: Measure, Analyze, and Act. The key is to hold the team accountable for 2-3 years out with the right incentives

    Steven Haines is an authority in product management and spoke to the topic “The Business of Products – Linking Customers, Strategy, Ideas, and People.” He is the CEO of Sequent Learning Networks, a training and consulting firm. A few of his signed books, such as the Product Manager’s Survival Guide,  were given out to audience as raffle, at the beginning of his presentation. He was moving around the room and engaging the audience for a group project “Customer Journey Map”.  He pointed out a few important attributes of successful product: brand royalty, repurchase/repeat rate (without coupons), makes money, benefit society, and meets customer needs. He pointed out that it is important to have clear roles and responsibility defined for the functional team (i.e. product manager, sales, marketing, and legal).

    Dr. Bill Braunlin, whose background is in biotechnology, is Chief Scientific Officer of IP Prediqtus, LLC and a replacement for Dr. DJ Nag, CEO, at the last moment. The topic was “Filling your pipeline through Open Innovation: Intellectual Property Strategy for Today's Business”.  He talked about ways to improve patent quality, including predictive analysis on patents. He mentioned that there are three primary sources of innovations: end-users/consumers, technical experts (private, public, non-profit), and manufacturing.  He engaged the audience towards the end of his talk by asking – whether the cosmetic industry supports open innovation.

    The last speaker, Peter Duggan, Senior Vice President for Client at Computershare, addressed “Idea Generation - The Foundation of Product Development”.  Hefocused mainly on feedback from endusers. He discussed the process of idea selection, portfolio management and project management including reporting for the project.

    Closing remarks for the event were given by NYSCC president, Rey Ordiales, and PDMA NY/NJ President, Leon Fraser. Periodic raffles, including one at the conclusion of the program, and open bar helped most of the attendees to stay until the end of the event.

    As NY/NJ VP of Programming, I designed and collected survey an event participant survey.

    My analysis showed the average rating of the event overall to be 4.47, with 5 being the highest possible rating. That proves that venue selection, lunch, speaker selection, interactive and engaging talks, books and items raffle, and time management were greatly appreciated.

    The survey results for speakers proved that it was a great selection of speakers; with all having rating of more than 4 in each category, except the speaker who was last minute replacement for his CEO.  However, we were very grateful to have a speaker, otherwise we would potentially have had a gap in the program on the day of the event.

    Overall, the event was a great success with many comments on the survey forms saying that similar joint NYSCC/PDMA events should be offered more than once a year.  NY/NJ PDMA looks forward to a continued partnership and to inform a broader spectrum of people about the work and challenges of product developers and product managers.

    Released: March 16, 2016, 6:25 am
    Keywords: PDMA News


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