Skip to content

How MAGNET is Making Innovation Happen

I walked through our workshop the other day and some of our engineers were hanging upside down off a strange looking wall. Turns out they were helping a manufacturing start-up test and develop a portable rock-climbing wall.

That’s one of my favorite things about MAGNET’s new Manufacturing Innovation, Technology & Jobs Center. We have 10,000 square feet of workshops, labs and demonstration space dedicated to helping manufacturers innovate – and you never know what we’re going to be doing in there.

Some other cool recent projects…

Creating a remote-enabled one button release training belt that connects to resistance-based gym equipment. The belt specifically targets and trains the fast twitch muscles that generate power and explosive movements to make an athlete faster.

Working with local physical therapists to develop a new product for people who need compression socks but can’t get them on without a caregiver.

Helping a product distributor in the food service industry explore the development of their own patented product.

Developing physical products like these is, hands down, the most difficult type of innovation. Creating multiple rounds of prototypes is labor and cash intensive – much more so than digital technology innovation. Plus, the failure rate of physical product start-ups is very high.

No wonder companies don’t want to take the innovation leap. Our most recent survey found that 75% of Northeast Ohio manufacturers have deprioritized innovation – believing it risky and expensive. That’s why MAGNET started its New Ventures program – to help manufacturers de-risk innovation across the whole spectrum. Startups just getting off the ground. Established manufacturers seeking to iterate and extend their products and services. New spin-offs launching through intrapreneurship (incubating new innovations inside the safety of an established company).

Our startup advisors and engineers specialize in turning ideas into products, dreams into reality. And we do that by using a special framework called the Value Proposition Matrix. We developed it after helping thousands of manufacturers innovate, including Fortune 500 companies, major hospital systems, world-class cultural institutions, top universities and professional sports teams.

The Value Proposition Matrix helps innovators clearly define the value they’re creating and the problem they’re solving for customers. The methodology uses four critical questions to help entrepreneurs zero in on the right innovation strategy:

1. Are you solving a burning problem?
2. Is your unique solution solving the problem?
3. Can you deliver the solution?
4. Will anyone buy this product?

If you get any one of these four things wrong, your innovation is doomed to fail. So, MAGNET’s team first determines whether you have a winning innovation idea. Once we’ve defined the Value Proposition Matrix and know the potential is real, we formulate a strategy, roll up our sleeves and get to work. MAGNET’s engineers and startup advisors help develop prototypes, do testing, help create minimum viable products, and assist with go-to-market strategies and launch. We even created a $2 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund that’s actively making investments in manufacturing start-ups to help stimulate the innovation economy.

That’s because we truly believe that innovation is a critical growth engine for the future of our regional industry. We see the power and potential of it every single day in the brilliant ideas that local manufacturers bring to our team to explore. And we know that if we continue to create a strong ecosystem of support and funding for entrepreneurs in the region, we can take more of these ideas from the drawing board to the production line.

For more inspiration, watch this video. It tells two amazing stories of life-saving medical inventions created in Northeast Ohio – one because of a chance phone call and another because an intern at a lighting company had a brilliant idea.

Connect with us today.