MAGNET Ideation Sessions Help Manufacturers Define, Discover, Develop and Deliver

By Jim Rundo, Senior Business Consultant, MAGNET

  • “If only we had a way to solve this problem…”
  • “Our company has to introduce some new products soon…”
  • “We are losing business to new competitors…”

Most manufacturers have asked one or more of these questions at one time or another.  It’s a normal part of business to face these types of challenges.  The good news is there is a solution available to assist Northern Ohio manufacturers:  The MAGNET Ideation process.

This process is part of MAGNET’s proven “4-D”approach (Define, Discover, Develop, Deploy) and can be tailored to handle company-specific issues, such as overcoming a design challenge, or support a company’s growth plans by facilitating the discovery of new product ideas.  The key to the ideation process is that it quickly vets outs the best ideas, since for every successful innovative idea there usually are several others that fail to make the cut.

Companies looking for a solution to a well-defined, specific challenge can opt for a MAGNET “lunchtime” ideation session.  This brief, focused engagement brings MAGNET resources together with a client who is seeking a solution for a single issue.  Often held during an extended lunchtime period, the session yields several ideas, generated in rapid-fire succession by the participants, targeted towards solving the challenge.

On the other end of the spectrum, clients come to MAGNET seeking ideas for new products or product enhancements.  In many instances, these companies are in mature market segments which are under pressure by new offerings from competitive sources.  For these type of engagements, MAGNET sits down with the client to learn more about the company and its products, the markets they are in, and the needs of its marketplace.

More importantly, MAGNET seeks to identify key differentiators which would make a new product offering meaningfully unique to consumers, giving them a reason to believe, and thus a reason to select the new product.  The information learned during this preparatory meeting serves as the framework for the ideation session that follows, where MAGNET and the client work together to generate ideas based on the key differentiators.  The resulting ideas are then scored against this criteria, until the best two or three are identified.

These “best of breed” ideas can then be conceptually modeled, vetted out, developed, and then transferred to manufacturing.  The beauty of this type of ideation is that it can be completed in as little as two sessions, each a half day long, plus a preparatory and closing meeting.

No matter what the challenge, Northern Ohio manufacturers have a partner in MAGNET ready to help them come up with new ideas in the discovery of new products or solutions to existing challenges.


Learn how a MAGNET Ideation Project helped Sauder Woodworking Co., based in Archbold, OH, develop a new product line: it’s WoodTrac Ceiling System. While the WoodTrac product line is still in the early development stage, Dan Sauder says the company is pleased that it has hit all its targets so far. The company has exceeded $110,000 in annual sales, and is selling WoodTrac in 13 Midwest states. Learn more.

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