PDMA Utah Explores the Internet of Things at Successful Summer Event

    By: Robert B Male, PhD, P.E. on Sep 15, 2016

    PDMA Utah Explores the Internet of Things at Successful Summer Event

    2222.jpgThe PDMA Utah Chapter meeting was called to order the evening of August 31 after Tibetian food from Shambalya Café was served buffet style. MannMade Innovations, a Woods Cross, Utah, design company specializing in firmware/software and CCA development for products attached to the Internet of Things (IOT), sponsored the meal and introduce their capabilities to the PDMA members and guests in attendance.

    The event drew 44 attendees, including the featured speaker Robert Workman and his wife. Robert Workman, a local entrepreneur and product developer, presented “Making Products That Matter.” Workman’s presentation drew from his vast experience:

    • Developer of the Cricut electronic cutting machine (Provo Craft), which sold for $56 million
    • Founder of TIFIE (Teaching Individuals and Families Independence through Enterprise)
    • Started Goal Zero, a systems approach to portable power, which sold to a large energy firm
    • Founder of Barebones, a new line of simple yet durable shelters and cast iron cooking implements that competes with Lodge

     Workman spoke of his life journey as a product developer and some of his key learnings along the way, such as:

    • Engage. Don’t sit on the sidelines, and remember the famous quote: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
    • Things happen for a reason. There’s a purpose to every circumstance. For example, he planned to help Chinese citizens through his TIFIE group. However, he ended up in the Congo due to a chance personal encounter with a group of people.
    • Relearn. When in the Congo, he expended $5 million with no success, trying to force his model, ethics and customs on others. He learned to refocus his efforts on their fundamental needs instead of his worldview.
    • Don’t try to reteach, look for the needs of people. Seek to understand your customers and their real needs.

    Workman also had a number of design “Rules of 3” that he follows when working through the “messy middle” of turning an idea into a real, sellable product:

    3 Ts: All products need to have proper emphasis in the following areas

    • Tool – The function of the product need to do all it can do.
    • Texture – The look and feel has to welcome people; the finished product should be a compelling product presentation, not a “prototype feel.
    • Treat – This refers to the differentiators, or what makes your product better or special compared to the competition.

    3 Gs – How you validate that your product is ready to go.

    • Take your product to three girls and ask if they will buy it – even if it is a product for men. If so, you’ve done a good job with your product and presentation.

    3 Rs – How you approach your design thinking when you miss the 3 Gs.

    • Rethink. What dogma did you hold that is constraining your real need?
    • Recreate. Identify other ways to solve the problem
    • Redesign. Avoid the BAND-AID approach.

    Workman’s authenticity and inspiration gave a boost of confidence to all product developers in the room, encouraging them to pursue a higher cause in their product development efforts.

    Save the Date: PDMA Utah Chapter Upcoming Meeting

    Date: Oct. 4, 2016

    Time: 6 p.m.

    Featured Speaker: Jeremy Andrus, CEO of Traeger Company (Wood Pellet Stoves)

    Jeremy Andrus was a principal in the SkullCandy organization prior to his current role in Traeger. Contact Robert Male, Utah Chapter President, for more details at robtmale@netscape.net.



    Released: September 15, 2016, 8:17 am | Updated: September 15, 2016, 8:18 am
    Keywords: PDMA Blog

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