By Dave Crain, Director of Entrepreneurial Services, MAGNET [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200"] Mycestro™ is a 3D mouse that fits on the index finger and allows you to control your computer with hand gestures and mouse functions.[/caption] A year or so ago, I met Nick Mastandrea, who had invented a "wearable, wireless, 3D mouse". Even though I’m sure he cringed whenever I said it, I called it the finger mouse. Allowing for control of computer software and hardware from up to 30 feet away, the product seemed to be an obvious solution for any number of problems. It also allowed for some very interesting future technical scenarios, from controlling aircraft with a glove to "Minority Report"-style information control. Nick, like many entrepreneurs, had trouble lining up sufficient capital to move forward into early commercial production. While there are a number of early-stage loan and grant programs around the region, sadly there simply isn’t enough money to fund everyone. With the recent passage of the Jumpstart America bill however, these are interesting times and a number of crowdfunding sites have sprung up around the Internet. In a display of just how effective such sites can be for early stage entrepreneurs, Nick’s Kickstarter
By Fatima Weathers, Executive Vice President, MAGNET At a recent conference I attended in Washington, D.C., panelists from industry, academia, and labor gathered to discuss Manufacturing’s Next Step. Several panelists described the current manufacturing environment as being on the edge of a new era that is being driven by widespread and affordable access to 3-D printing and cloud computing. Only mentioned in passing were the usual barriers to growth like unfair trade, taxes, labor costs and access to capital. Indeed, much of the discussion focused on the debate surrounding immigration laws. Many attendees and panelists agreed that access to highly skilled talent is the factor that will tip the scales for gaining the competitive edge in the U.S. One panelist challenged manufacturers by describing the current environment as our "Sputnik Moment"—either grasp this fleeting window of opportunity to lead through innovation and talent or forever miss the moment to be the global leader in manufacturing. What do you think? Is this our "Sputnik Moment?" What do you think is the most important factor manufacturers face right now? Respond below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
By Michael R. Morgenstern, Chief Development Officer, MAGNET The next time you stop by MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC), I hope you will take a minute to linger in our lobby and view our new Donor Wall acknowledging the many partners and supporters that make MAGNET’s work possible. This floor-to-ceiling display recognizes the dozens of organizations and individuals who have helped bring manufacturing success to Northeast Ohio by supporting MAGNET in many ways over the years. See the complete list on MAGNET’s web site. The new Donor Wall in MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation Center lobby recognizes the dozens of organizations and individuals who have contributed to fulfilling the vision of Manufacturing Success for our region. As I reviewed the many entities listed on the wall, the phrase "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" came to mind. I wondered where the phrase originally came from. The phrase’s etymology goes back to Aristotle, has been incorporated into Gestalt theory, and is even used as a fundamental assumption of Buckminster Fuller’s "Synergetics" theory about geometry and design. "Greater than the sum of its parts," perfectly describes the way MAGNET and its economic development partners work together. Our joint innovation efforts
On February 2, MAGNET partnered up with the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (CVCC) for a fun and informative day learning about the different careers in the manufacturing and engineering fields. This interactive event held at the CVCC provided information, resources, and demonstrations from engineering and manufacturing professionals, current students, and college representatives.
By Robert Schmidt, Growth & Innovation Advisor, MAGNET We need to be innovative—you know, try new things! Building on those that seem to work and quickly eliminating those that don’t work out as we had envisioned. The proven method I use in this case would be the "Fail Fast, Fail Cheap" (FFFC) method. How do we go about this? Simply stop spending time and money on developing new processes, products, or marketing messages without trying it out. You want to find out if your concept is a good one? Find out in a fast, easy, and inexpensive way. Bottom line is: The key to fail fast fail cheap is to spend minimum resources to get the concept off the paper (or your mind) and into the application so you can tell if it needs to be changed, destroyed, or finalized. FFFC follows Demings "Plan, Do, Study, Act" model. In a rapid succesion of learning cycles you try out your idea, learn from that experience, modify and try again- all on a shoestring budget. Fast trumps elegant early on. An example would be to develop a look-alike or "Frankenstein" prototype made from on-hand or commercially available materials. The Frankenstein prototype gathers critical feedback from potential
By Dan Berry, President & CEO, MAGNET On February 6, 2013, MAGNET held its Annual Meeting and formally welcomed three new members to its Board of Directors: John Brandt, CEO, MPI Group Christopher Mapes (effective 7/9/13), President & CEO of Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. Alan Woll, President & CEO, Network Polymers In addition, the organization expressed its appreciation to four board members who are departing the Board this year: Peter Accorti, President, Talan Products, Inc. Timothy D. Dixon, Ohio Region President, Citizens Bank John W. Harley, President, FirstPower Group LLC Scott Levin, CFO & Chief Admin. Vice President, GOJO MAGNET’s Board of Directors sets priorities and guides the work of MAGNET’s professional staff. Their collective deep experience and intimate knowledge of the manufacturing industry is a critical factor in MAGNET’s success helping Northeast Ohio manufacturers innovate and thrive in a global economy. The full list of MAGNET’s 2013 Board of Directors is available on the MAGNET web site.