Friday, August 27, 2010

Carolina Student Design Competition

How do aspiring product designers in the Carolinas win acclaim as innovative designers, not to mention prize money? By winning the first Carolinas Student Design Competition, sponsored by Carolinas PDMA. More details coming soon, but the contest winners will present their designs at the Innovate Carolina 2011 conference in Charlotte on April 15.

The Innovate Carolinas 2010 in April of this year at the UNC Kenan Flager School of Business was attended by over 120 professional product designers, product managers, executives, and university faculty. That's a pretty good audience for a winning college design team.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Build me a widget...

Developers get a lot of requests from business people that sound like this: "Build me a widget (or a framework, or a proof of concept, etc.) that I can play with. It has to be flexible so I can tweak it myself and change stuff and maybe even show it to a customer." Implied but not stated, the request is also to go away but remain available if the business person needs significant changes. Business people don't realize that, from the developer's point of view, this is a very low-value request. They're asking the developer to do a great deal of work without having thought through the business case for the request. If the developer is experienced, he or she will have seen a lot of this sort of work just sit on a shelf unused.

If you're a developer, what kind of project would you rather work on? A project to build a product that could impress customers and generate a lot of revenue and gain you some recognition, or a project to build a big toy for a business person who may or may not figure out what to do with it at some unspecified future date? Business people could help themselves a great deal if they would do their part to think through a request for technology, and then engage developers early in the concept formation stage of product development.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

10 most innovative business school courses published a list of the 10 most innovative business school courses. Any list like this is going to be a little arbitrary, but I was happy to see NCSU's Product Innovation Lab class listed as one of the ten. I finished that class in December, and it was the most effortful and unique class I've ever taken. (That's saying a lot, because I've been through three grad school programs.)

The article also mentioned the project my team completed, a video conferencing system for PT patients. It was based on Microsoft's Natal technology. It was a killer project, if I do say so myself.