Blog posts tagged with Innovation

What does manufacturing look like in the final frontier?

May 28, 2016 by Liz Fox

In the not-so-distant past, there were times when much of the technology we embrace today was written off as science fiction. Smartwatches, tablets, and VR headsets are now part of everyday reality, the additive manufacturing sector is constantly buzzing with new ideas, products, techniques, and machinery that help improve and enhance businesses as well as general quality of life. But what happens when 3D printing is literally taken to new heights? Just ask Made In Space, a group of entrepreneurs, scientists, and developers who helped NASA launch the first 3D printer into space earlier this year. “Manufacturing in space has been something that has been a given in science fiction since time immemorial,” said Made In Space President Andrew Rush in a recent interview with TCT. “By having a manufacturing facility stationed in space, we can save thousands of dollars and cut the time significantly.” Founded in 2010, the company strives to “enable humanity’s future in space” by developing new technologies designed to operate in microgravity environments. AMF, an elaborate and permanent 3D printing system used on the International Space Station, is already making a splash with projected improvements in costs and lead times. But why is important to have

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Success Through Ideation: Mar-Bal Inc.

February 23, 2016 by Liz Fox

  Ideation sessions play a crucial role in the innovation process and lead to the culmination of new products, processes, and a sense of collaboration within the business. MAGNET often utilizes these techniques to help companies achieve growth through creativity, and a recent engagement with plastic molding company Mar-Bal Inc. was no exception. Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Chagrin Falls, Mar-Bal manufactures BMC Thermoset composite products and customized materials. The company wanted to understand more about the ideation process as well as the overarching theme of driving innovation throughout their business, which resulted in the first Mar-Bal Innovation Summit. Held at the MAGNET facility in downtown Cleveland, the two-day workshop featured MAGNET growth advisors and engineers engaging with key members of the Mar-Bal team, helping them foster ideas that could potentially streamline operations and bring large-scale improvements to the company. “There has to be a process,” said Ron Pauff, Mar-Bal’s Director of Global Marketing. “This ideation summit allowed us the opportunity to step back from our daily lives and come to an environment where we could spend time understanding the needs of the customers.” “It’s kind of a blend of structure and free flowing imagination. There are rules, and there

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So You've Had An Ideation Session... What's Next?

February 17, 2016 by Liz Fox

“Ideation without execution is mere delusion” – Robin Sharma, author Your team has just come from a productive ideation session. Jazzed about their new ideas, they walk out with a sense of accomplishment and growth. But while everyone is buzzing with newfound concepts, two lingering questions remain: what happens after an ideation session, and how can you bring these ideas to life? More often than not, the enthusiastic abstraction found in a typical session can lead to the harsh reality of applying these concepts in a practical and plausible manner. Structure is crucial, and the potential pitfalls of ideation without execution loom on the horizon. However, there are several steps you can take to excel during this process and ultimately bring your concepts from your head to your hands. Methods vary from business to business, and companies as varied as Mastercard and LG have created custom strategies for ideation. But organization is a mainstay of most action plans, and the following steps can take you to the next level of success through innovation. Immediately capture ideas Regrouping is essential to any strategy, and ideation sessions are no different. A day or two prompts fuzziness on details, which can lead to

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Start Your Journey from Concept to Completion with Ideation

January 20, 2016 by Liz Fox

The term “ideation” is often thrown around in several industries, but what does it really mean to “ideate”? Generally defined as “the process of generating and communicating new ideas,” the semantic meanings of ideation often vary by purpose and field. Everything from engineering to marketing has its own definition of ideation, but one theme transcends industry: for people who crave innovation, there is nothing better than brainstorming. In manufacturing, ideation sessions are primarily viewed as a way to improve existing products or create new ones through problem solving. Engineers, designers, consultants, and other professionals come together to share concepts with one goal in mind: to solve challenges while utilizing different viewpoints and harnessing the full power of the creative process. But what makes for a fun, energetic, and productive ideation session? Diversity – An eclectic mix of backgrounds, professions, and work styles creates an environment where existing issues can be looked at from all sides and perspectives. While a creative individual may look at aesthetics, an engineer may view a product from a purely mechanical or functional perspective. An environment that encourages these different views allows ideas to blossom, and a diverse workgroup usually has a better chance of finding

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Ideation: A Beginner's Manual

May 18, 2015 by MAGNET Ohio

You have a company that’s experienced some success, but you feel you need more. You want to excel in innovation, but lack the resources to do so or have trouble determining a starting point. We understand these challenges firsthand - and we can assist you in reaching your goals of gain and growth. Before settling into the ideation process, a company must examine its potential in three categories: growth market, mature market, and declining market. These phases determine what can be done to enhance product leadership, customer relations, and existing products. Innovation in these core areas can maximize profits in both the top and bottom line, which is important for all manufacturers, regardless of size. At a recent MAGNET event, many companies voiced struggles in these areas, expressing challenges in increasing profits, improving client relationships, and modifying existing products. If you have experienced such challenges, MAGNET is here to provide you with the strategic tools necessary for achieving newfound growth. One of these is ideation, a systematic approach to the creation and use of new concepts and ideas. As part of the lengthy process of innovation engineering, ideation serves as a structure for solving conflicts in the realms of design,

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In Manufacturing, Emphasize the "Why"

May 08, 2015 by MAGNET Ohio

Innovation can be defined several ways. It’s the cornerstone of developing top and bottom lines; it’s the process of doing new and inventive things through market, workforce, and more. There’s room for innovation in every aspect of your organization - and it is your responsibility to use this vital tool for growth. True innovation requires more than standard problem solving. It is inherently proactive, a habitual practice that should be incorporated into your company’s core value system. Leaders should urge their employees to set aside time for brainstorming and developing ideas, thereby harnessing creativity to enhance the workplace. Investing in innovation is investing in organizational growth. For those who don’t know how to start the journey to innovation, begin with "why". Why do you do what you do, and what purpose does your organization have? If you went out of business tomorrow, what would happen to your industry? The importance of these questions cannot be understated, as they provide employees with a common goal and inspire commitment to success in the workplace. At a recent event, MAGNET asked manufacturers how well they thought their organization’s "why" was articulated, the driving force behind their actions and decisions. The numbers blew us

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Alfe, Jergens, and Animal Oralectrics Find Success in Innovation and Ideation

May 01, 2015 by MAGNET Ohio

Ideation and innovation are more than buzzwords- they are core concepts that are integral to organizational growth. As such, they are tools we utilize every day at MAGNET. As a strategic approach to solving problems, ideation is more than just brainstorming. In fact, our engineers, growth advisors, and experts at MAGNET use a strategic four-step process: define, discover, develop, and deliver. A company must begin with the "define" stage, where it clearly states needs, product audience, organizational strengths and other relevant factors. A research based phase, the define phase is used primarily to solve root problems before development begins. The discovery and ideation stages play an essential role in seeing a product from concept to completion. Initial designs and mechanics are generated, risk analyses are performed, and stimulus mining takes place, leading to a developed idea. This idea can then be guided through industrial design and development as well as rapid prototyping, market testing/feedback, quality systems, and supply chain. After necessary touches have been added and all logistics have been finalized, the product is ready to be delivered. Much of the work during this stage is reflective of sales needs, launch capacity, and promotional channels, all of which are determined

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5 Things Obama Learned About Product Innovation That Inspired Him

April 10, 2015 by MAGNET Ohio

In his recent visit to Cleveland this past March, President Barack Obama stopped by the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) facilities to see what products were being created and developed by local manufacturers in Northeast Ohio. Obama was pleasantly surprised to see how these start-ups were creating innovations in a wide variety of fields, from medicine to aviation, right in the heart of Ohio. Here’s what Obama learned in his visit: Whiskey is being made faster than ever     Obama spoke with Tom Lix, CEO of Cleveland Whiskey and creator of a method that combines temperature and pressure control to make bourbon within six months (rather than the usual eight to 12 year period) that tastes just as good as the competition. "I love Kentucky bourbon, but apparently this gets made a lot quicker," Obama noted about Lix’s product. He couldn’t taste test Cleveland Whiskey then as he had a speech to deliver later that day, but he made sure to get his own bottle to take home.     The human skull can be repaired via prosthesis It isn’t typical for the U.S. President to handle a human skull, but in this case Obama was shown how

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MAGNET and Lincoln Electric Present the Process to Product Ownership

August 03, 2014 by MAGNET Ohio

MAGNET recently visited the Lincoln Electric corporate headquarters to host a fun and informative day of presentations and networking, all themed around the journey from being a contract manufacturer to becoming a product owner. Ethan Karp, VP of  Client Services and Marketing for MAGNET and the director of MAGNET’s Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers (PRISM) program, opened the event by touching on the four D’s of the product process: Define, Discover, Develop and Deliver. Karp then introduced three presentations from three manufacturers who shared their stories of successful innovation. Larry Jutte, president of Ernie Green Industries, Inc., spoke of his company’s medical device subsidiary eNNOVEA life and pushing a product vision completely forward. Jutte noted that there are great opportunities when "ideas are sitting on the shelf" by having a focal point for a product innovation and determining partnership relations to fill in any gaps. Chris Carroll, president of Flavorseal, told how he and his wife Colleen began as Carroll Manufacturing and Sales, manufacturing netting for food processing. Over time, the Carrolls increased their facility sizes, customer base and margin through determination and innovation in the food packaging industry. With unique flavor packaging for meats and other foods now available from Flavorseal, Carroll noted that "innovation can

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How to Promote Innovation on Your Website

May 28, 2014 by MAGNET Ohio

Innovation is the backbone of every successful manufacturing company. It helps your business stand out from the competition, as well as continue to grow and prosper. If your company has a culture of innovation, it’s time to tell the world what you’re doing. Your website is a great way to promote the innovative projects you’ve worked on, as well as the innovative solutions you provide. Case Studies Case studies are a tried and true way for manufacturing companies to show what they’ve done. Sharing success stories in the form of case studies on your website can prove to potential customers that you have the ability to solve challenges like theirs. In addition, these case studies highlight the innovative solutions you provide in order to solve these challenges. Testimonials Think about your most successful and innovative projects and reach out to those happy customers. Testimonials don’t need to be paragraphs long. Just a brief sentence or two will work. And if you find that you have difficulty getting testimonials from customers, consider offering them an incentive for providing a testimonial or write the testimonial for them and let them edit it to their liking. Custom Projects Custom project work is a

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