PDMA Annual Conference
May and June Event Recaps
Future of Additive Manufacturing
Managing Diverse Teams
NPDP Certification Program Taken Abroad
Everyday Innovator Podcast
Connect via Social Media
Pittsburgh Chapter Newsletter
Feedback & Submissions
Please let us know what you think about the new Pittsburgh Chapter Newsletter and what you would like to see in future issues. Send your feedback, submissions and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Message from the Chapter President
Dear Members of the Pittsburgh PDMA Community,
The second and third quarters of the year were extremely productive for the Chapter, and we aren't slowing down. During the summer, we had a presentation on advocate marketing at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, held our summer social at the Mattress Factory, and hosted a panel discussion on the future of additive manufacturing at the facilities of Truefit. We kicked the fall program schedule off with a panel of experts teaching us how to build and manage diverse product development teams. For the second year in a row, we will be sponsoring a student innovation pitch competition on November 17th as a closing event for the Pitt Innovation Week and CMU Global Entrepreneur Week. We will end the year with another high caliber panel discussion on Innovation in Healthcare, which will be held on December 12th at the facilities of UPMC Enterprises. You'll find key highlights on the past events and more information on the upcoming programs as you read through this issue of the newsletter.
What I enjoy most about our events is seeing all the new faces intermingling with all the familiar faces. I'm so glad that so many people are finding value in our educational programs. We strive to provide topics and speakers that give practical and useful tips, tricks, and best practices that can help each of us do our jobs better. If you have suggestions for speakers or topics, please feel free to contact me.
We have some exciting programs in the works for the future. We are exploring half-day workshops and hope to bring a training series about the PDMA body of knowledge to Pittsburgh. I encourage you to consider attending the annual PDMA conference, which will be held November 11-15th in Chicago. As a loyal member of the Pittsburgh PDMA community, you can enjoy a 10% discount on the registration fee. Please email us at email@example.com for details.
As always, I need to extend a sincere thank you to all PDMA Pittsburgh sponsors and everyone that has attended any of our events. Your support and participation allow us to continue to bring meaningful programs to Pittsburgh product development community.
I hope to see everyone at the November 17th student pitch competition. Be sure to register early. Last year was a standing room only, sold out event, and I expect the same this year.
November Student Innovation Competition
PDMA Pittsburgh will help celebrate Pitt's Innovation Week and CMU's Global Entrepreneur Week by sponsoring an exciting student pitch competition.
On November 17th, eight teams - four graduate and four undergraduate teams from Pitt and CMU - will have 90 seconds to pitch their innovative ideas to an expert panel of judges to compete for great prizes. The winning teams will receive cash prizes as well as access to a variety of resources which are generously donated from local sponsoring companies. From mentoring on Intellectual Property (IP) to providing product development and manufacturing advice, the sponsors will be focused on helping these young entrepreneurs develop their products and services.
Join us to experience the energy and creativity of Pittsburgh's future innovators and entrepreneurs. We expect a full house, so be sure to register early. Click here to register.
December Innovation in Healthcare Panel Discussion
On December 12th, PDMA Pittsburgh will host a panel discussion on Innovation in Healthcare. This event will be held at UPMC Enterprises at Bakery Square. Be sure to mark your calendar. More details will be communicated via social media and email soon.
PDMA Competitive Edge Annual Conference
November 11 - 15, 2017
More than 500 product development and innovation professionals from a wide range of industries are expected to attend this year's PDMA Competitive Edge Conference in Chicago, Illinois, November 11 - 15.
During this year's event, you'll experience four and a half days filled with educational sessions, TED-style talks, and workshops that were created by product development professionals for product development professionals. There is also over 10 hours of power networking built into the event schedule where attendees can participate in conversation tables, speed networking, lunch discussions, and reception topics.
Log on to pdma.org to learn how you can engage in information sharing, group learning, and career-building networking in a dynamic educational environment at this year's annual conference.
May and June Event Recaps
May Advocate Marketing Event
During the May Innovation Forum, Barbara Thomas, a leading expert on advocate marketing, discussed strategies that companies can use to turn customers into willing public speakers for their products or services.
Barbara first explained that an engaged customer is a happy customer, and a happy customer can turn into an advocate. She shared some interesting Nielsen research statistics, including:
- Word-of-mouth recommendations drive 20% - 50% of all purchase decisions
- 33% of buyers trust messages from a brand, while 90% of customers trust product or service recommendations from their connections
- Once a company recognizes customer advocates, it's important to use them to the company's advantage.
Several strategies that Barbara discussed included: developing case studies and white papers; tweeting and blogging; conducting user group meetings; creating videos; developing thought leaders; and hosting site visits.
Summer Social Recap
This year's Summer Social event was held in June at the Mattress Factory in the North Side. More than 30 product development professionals and students from the area joined PDMA board members for a fun night at the museum. The evening was filled with great conversations between colleagues and friends, delicious food and drinks, and leisurely strolls around the museum. Everyone who explored the museum discovered cool and unique art around every corner, on every floor.
The Future of Additive Manufacturing
Over 70 people gathered at Truefit in Downtown Pittsburgh on August 22nd to learn about the future of Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, from five of the area's most experienced experts in the field.
The panelists included:
- Rodrigo Enriquez Gutierrez, Facility Engineer of the Innovation Factory at America Makes
- Dr. Kirk Rogers, Technical Leader of Additive Manufacturing at the GE Center for Additive Technology Advancement
- Dr. Jack Beuth, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at CMU
- Dan Pothala, Business Development and Partnering Manager at Covestro
- Dr. Kevin Creehan, Business Development Manager at Arconic
The discussion began with the panelists explaining their roles and responsibilities as it relates to Additive Manufacturing. The panelists were then asked to discuss the changes that they have seen in the last 12 months, the effect that Additive Manufacturing has had on supply chain, and what to expect in the future.
In the last year, there has been a mindset change, from hobbies to industrial applications. Additive Manufacturing has moved beyond trinkets into technologies in advanced industries, including automotive, aerospace, and medical devices. Three to six years ago, companies were just "kicking tires," but now they have strategic plans and are ready to make a move.
With more and more companies adopting the technology, the panel stressed that designers, developers, and engineers need to think differently. This is a very unique technology, and old design rules do not apply. Understanding the art of 3D printing is critical, and experimentation is very important.
The panel also explained how Additive Manufacturing is viewed as a disruptive technology. It not only causes a disruption at the technology level, but it also causes disruption to the business model, which ripples through the supply chain. Additive Manufacturing allows companies to combine functions and reduce part counts, which in turn reduces the number of suppliers needed, reduces failure rates, and reduces engineering hours.
As the discussion came to a close, the panelists were asked to provide their thoughts and predictions for the future of Additive Manufacturing. Key highlights included:
- Confidence in the machines will greatly improve, and the printers will continue to get bigger. This will allow companies to expand their capabilities, produce larger-scale products, and bring their products to market faster.
- Additive Manufacturing will grow to be a $25 billion industry, and companies will be able to bring products to market 5 times as fast for 1/10 of the investment.
- Companies will bring more customized products to market to meet specific customer needs. Adidas, for example, is already using digital-light synthesis to develop footwear that precisely addresses the needs of each athlete.
- Within 5 to 10 years, companies will be using Electron Beam Melting (EBM) to manufacture metal components. Capabilities and processes associated with EBM have not yet been explored.
- We will see advancements in the process monitoring and process controls associated with the clinical aspect of bioengineering.
- Many Fortune 500 companies will be disrupted and may no longer exist, radically changing many household names.
There are limitations to Additive Manufacturing - physics is physics. But as research and development continues and advancements are made at a rapid pace, the possibilities seem endless.
Managing Diverse Product Development Teams
How to successfully manage diverse and cross-cultural product development teams continues to be a hot topic of discussion. From hiring practices to understanding and managing personality differences, there are a multitude of factors that contribute to building and managing an effective team.
On October 4th, we brought together a panel of five experts to share what they have learned over the years about building and managing diverse product development teams.
The panelists included:
- Jim Chrise - Independent Consultant in the Manufacturing Sector
- George Coulston, PhD, MBA - Technology Licensing Manager: Physical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute
- Currie Crookston, Head of Innovation Management, Covestro LLC
- Samantha Stephens - Sr. Manager of Technology Commercialization at Arconic Inc.
- Anita Woolley, PhD - Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University
After introductions, the panelists discussed the challenges that they have faced in their past and present positions and provided some great tips and advice that can impact the success or failure of a diverse product development team. Key takeaways from the event included:
It is easier said than done to map out the personality types that exist on your team and the traits that you want on your team. Balance is the key, and that includes a healthy distribution in the level of experience, functional expertise, gender, race, age, and character. A high level of skill related to social intelligence is an important ingredient to high-performance teams. Conversely, if only one member lacks social intelligence, it can be disruptive to the entire team. It can also be beneficial to find team members that have a "thick skin" and are willing to engage in conflict and deal with tough issues.
According to research, the collective intelligence of a team is highest when there is balance between the mix of men and women. This brings stability and a robustness to the team dynamic and can create nice tension among the team that can lead to breakthroughs. The most important thing to remember is to have an environment where everyone feels empowered to speak their minds.
Creating a winning team environment
Two key factors to a winning team environment are trust and the tone set by the leader. It is important to create an atmosphere of "psychological" safety where team members are allowed and encouraged to ask for help and to admit failure. This can strengthen team cohesion and performance.
Diversity must be championed at the top level, and it needs to be reinforced in the culture throughout the organization. Hiring to achieve diversity quotas is the wrong approach. Rather, an organization must create an environment that attracts diversity. When a company's diversity program fails, it is often because they hired diverse talent, but did not do a good job of integrating them across the organization and into teams. Sponsorships and mentor programs help to integrate and advocate for diversity hires.
International cultural diversity.
Cultural awareness and respect are necessities in today's interconnected world but can be elusive. Cultural sensitivity goes beyond accepting or learning different languages. Breakthrough research by Hofstede in the 1960s and 1970s identified multiple dimensions of cultural differences, such as, individualism versus collectivism, dealing with uncertainty, and masculinity versus femininity. Cross-cultural training can be extremely helpful. Very simple measures can increase cross-cultural understanding and respect. For example, using the phone or Skype, rather than email, can improve communication. Scheduling conference calls at times that take into account different time zones of team members that are overseas can also be beneficial.
The panelists concluded the event by reiterating the importance of having leadership buy-in. It is a requirement and plays a major role in a diverse team's success or failure. All agreed that maximum diversity is a recipe for breakthrough performance.
PDMA Pittsburgh's Past President Takes the NPDP Certification Program Abroad
The New Product Development Professional (NPDP) Certification Program is gaining momentum and more companies - both domestic and international - are recognizing the value that the certification brings.
In August, Mark Adkins, president of Smart Hammer Innovation, PDMA Pittsburgh executive volunteer and PDMA Pittsburgh past president, along with Allan Anderson, NPDP and PDMA Chairman, spent a week in Dalian, China training a group of more than 50 NPDP trainers to help grow the certification program in China.
To expand the program internationally and “train the trainers”, the PDMA corporate office had been working with a Chinese government agency over the last two years to launch the NPDP Certification in China.
While overseas, Mark and Allen held workshops and conducted presentations for PDMA and the NPDP Certification Program. They also spoke at the First International Forum of Product Innovation in the North East.
The overall response to the week of workshops and presentations was extremely positive and was a good indication of the increasing interest in product innovation from Chinese companies.
PDMA is looking for international experts in product management and product innovation to continue to support the growth China. If you have an interest in becoming NPDP Certified and getting involved, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Review - Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work
PDMA contributor Teresa Jurgens-Kowal, PhD, NPDP, regularly writes thorough and informative book reviews that are available on the PDMA website.
One of her reviews explores the book Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, by Whitney Johnson, a colleague of Clayton Christensen and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review.
Teresa explains that this book is a quick and easy read, and examines how we can change our personal and professional lives by applying innovation theory, like disruption and S-curves.
According to Teresa, this book is one-part innovation, one-part advice, and one-part personal journey. Reading this book helped her recognize her own story, and maybe this book will have a similar impact on you. Log on to pdma.org to read Teresa's full review of the book.
The Everyday Innovator Podcast Featuring Mark Adkins
Mark Adkins, president of Smart Hammer Innovation, PDMA Pittsburgh executive volunteer and PDMA Pittsburgh past president, was invited to participate in a recent episode of The Everyday Innovator podcast to discuss how the integration of Lean Startup with Stage Gate can enhance an organization's product process.
During the interview, Mark provides great insight and examples of how adding Lean Startup in the front end of Stage Gate can result in breakthrough product development.
The Everyday Innovator podcast is hosted by innovation expert Chad McAlister, Ph.D., NPDP, CIL, PMP, author of Turning Ideas into Market-Winning Products, and founder of Product Innovation Educators. Each week, Chad discusses hot topics with skilled product managers and savvy insiders, which is why Inc. Magazine ranked it as one of the top 10 best podcasts for innovators.
Log on to The Everyday Innovator to hear Mark's perspective on Lean Startup and Stage Gate, and check out all of the other great podcasts during your visit.
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