Category Archives: Insights

Wireless Power – Not a moment too soon!

How many of us have dreamed of a future without cords and outlets? How many have hoped for ubiquitous wireless power that makes connected independence a reality? Or just wished for a work space or home office that doesn’t look like a hairy monster, cluttered by cords and an accident waiting to happen. And the problem is only going to get worse, because according to many sources (see the Infographic below for sources), the rise of “internet connected devices” that require power, will grow to epic proportion. Imagine just the devices in the home office alone competing for the power bar?! Well, a solution has arrived and not a moment too soon!

Bellevue, Washington based Ossia has made the seemingly impossible a very real and viable technology, becoming the first company to develop a safe, efficient and viable wireless power solution. Cota™, Ossia’s patented smart antenna technology, enables wireless charging of smartphones, wearables, remote controls, smoke alarms, electric toothbrushes, AA batteries, and more—without wires, plugs or charging pads. A revolutionary idea that has been coming together for nearly a decade, Ossia uses technology similar to Wi-Fi to deliver wireless power by safely targeting energy to devices at a distance.

To all those who heard about it, Cota seemed too good to be true… but as Jabil quickly learned – it wasn’t! Ossia partnered with Jabil, and put our specialized product design, engineering, and manufacturing expertise to work for Ossia. The CTO had this to say:

“Having all these cutting-edge technologies in one place shows that when it comes to innovation, Jabil leaves nothing on the table. The Blue Sky Center is a fantastic example of how the latest advancements interact and work together to create next-generation products.” – Hatem Zeine, Founder, CTO and Chairman, Ossia.

Now, let’s shift gears for a minute, and imagine this technology working for you! You are an innovator (whether you are part of a large R&D team within a global enterprise or in one of those cool tech start-ups), and you are trying to deliver a solution that needs power; Connected home and Consumer products, Connected Healthcare, like prosthesis or home care devices, Connected Factory floors, etc. but can’t or don’t want wires everywhere?! Can you imagine your differentiation and the possibilities?

We can! And we can even help you take this technology and design and develop those possibilities at Radius, Jabil’s Innovation & Development consultancy.

For more information on this incredible technology, please connect with us here and we will be happy to explore the possibilities. Alternatively, you can check out the full case study on Ossia here.

Enjoy our Empowerment Video, to help you think through how you might empower the world:

3 Reasons New Product Development Fails… and how to avoid them!

Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is one of the most important processes of new product development.
I lead a group of young Boy Scouts. As the scouts prepare for their first camp out and hike they learn several outdoor safety and survival skills. This includes many firsts for them, their first exposure to first aid, their first time packing a backpack, their first night spent in a tent and their first time striking a match. Coaching, preparation and skill are key to great hikes and camp outs.

Similarly, coaching, preparation and skill are key to successful new product development. Just as failing to prepare can ruin even the best camp out or turn a glorious hike into a deplorable journey, those involved in developing a new product can run into sleepless nights and failed product journeys.

The process of going from idea, through prototyping, manufacturing and final delivery can be undermined by ignoring what could be considered the outdoor safety and survival skills of product development. Let’s look at three top reasons why new product development can fail.

Here are the Top 3 Reasons Why New Product Development Fails:

1. The design cannot be manufactured.
You have a wonderful idea, complete with detailed CAD files. But without considering the realities of manufacturing, your design may be doomed from the start. Ignored Design for Manufacturability (DFM) has been the demise of too many brilliant product ideas.

How can you avoid ignoring DFM?
Focus on proactively designing and re-designing products optimized for all areas of manufacturing: fabrication, assembly, testing, procurement, shipping, delivery, service, and repair. At Radius we make sure each product meets strict standards for cost, quality, reliability, regulatory compliance, safety, and time-to-market. Our team of designers and engineers have leveraged DFM skills for thousands of products for hundreds of customers.

2. If manufactured as designed, costs would be too high.
Your idea looks great on paper and you may even have a working prototype. But your design doesn’t take into consideration the true costs of production, either in low volumes or at scale. Even the greatest new product will not succeed if the economics don’t work.

How do you control costs?
It’s estimated that approximately 70% of a product’s manufacturing cost is determined by its design. An elegant design may look good, but is the extravagance validated by market research indicating a higher willingness to pay for the extravagance? We look deep inside markets through market research, industry analysis and human factor analysis to validate product features, ideas and strategies.

Designing for a manufacturing method that makes economical sense for the product is also crucial. Take, for example, an elaborate product design with parts made possible because of additive manufacturing. But if 3D printing economics don’t work in your favor, can injection molding or CNC machining produce the same parts without breaking the bank? We understand the cost benefit analysis for this situation and more.

A look at how a product is manufactured can also result in cost savings. Thanks to our intimate relationship with our parent and global contract manufacturer, Jabil, we know how to automate in order to reduce production costs for scaled manufacturing. And when it comes to component costs, through Jabil’s worldwide parts and supply chain network of over 27,000 suppliers we are able to secure components at lower costs even for the smallest low volume assembly runs.

3. Prototype fails to convince customers, executives, and investors.
Your 3D printed prototype looks like a plastic kid toy. Can the way it looks convince even early adopters to spend? Will your business unit manager buy into the idea that they should allocate budget to something that looks like a gimmick? Will a VC, who is likely to have seen a dozen similar products, invest in your idea if they’ve seen a similar prototype with a true looks-like, feels-like professional finish?

How can you make convincing prototypes?
The best prototypes don’t ‘look’ like prototypes, they look like the real thing and are convincing and compelling to customers, executives and investors. Radius designers offer an exceptional advantage when it comes to testing and re-testing prototypes. They make sure that prototypes not only meet all DFM specifications, but that the final working prototype is a looks-like, feels-like finished product.

What if a fully functioning, looks-like, feels-like prototype would be too expensive? Our Radius DFM experts can pair physical prototyping with augmented reality. This can save tens of thousands of dollars in the DFM process. Check out this glimpse at how our design team leverages Microsoft HoloLens to test and visualize new prototypes:

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today to learn more about our DFM approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.

Managing Risk During New Product Introduction

Under the right conditions, risk can be a great thing. It can motivate you to think outside the box and help you discover new opportunities. Of course, unmitigated risk can cause loss of a business, loss of professional confidence, or even loss of life. A healthy approach to risk keeps us moving forward but leverages experience

Risk keeps us moving but also keeps us from going too far.

to inform our path and avoid over extending. This healthy approach starts by asking questions: what could go wrong, what are we able to control, and what’s worth the effort to control? The answers to these questions determine the right path – steering us away from chaos, wasted time / budget, or alienating our target market.

Let’s be honest and blunt: whether you are a start-up, a mid-size or large corporate enterprise, there are always risks when introducing a new product to market. It’s how you prepare for, assess, manage, and monitor these risks that matter. At Radius Innovation & Development, we want to understand your circumstances and actively engage with your risks to help you realize success. How do we do this? It takes experience, savvy, and candid communication.

Talk, Listen, Learn
At Radius, we have 25+ years of experience helping to bring innovative new products to market. We also have a diverse cross-functional team of savvy professionals who are adept at uncovering risks and assessing them from different angles to turn them into opportunities, or find the best way to manage them. But perhaps most importantly, we understand that risk management is a team sport. When our clients endure the discomfort and have an open conversation about risk, it always uncovers new challenges, opportunities, and informs a better overall approach.

Yes, a big ask. We’ve all worked in environments where the knowledge sharing doesn’t happen or where teams are working in segregated functional silos with minimal to zero cross-communication. There is a reason why the Radius team doesn’t work like this… we’ve all been down this path and know that it doesn’t work. Therefore, we work the way you do, leveraging processes and techniques that build trust and get project teams to open up, discuss problems, ask questions, and work through some tough answers in order to learn. It’s also why we place so much emphasis on truly listening.
The Right Tools at the Right Scale
In too many organizations, risk management is performed using a single process and a single prescribed tool or set of tools, without consideration to the parameters of the project or its measures of success. At Radius, the breadth of projects we work on—from brand strategy to full product development and new product introduction—has forced us to be nimble. We’ve developed a flexible quality management system (QMS) and processes that can be tailored for a very light-touch which will emphasize speed, optimize ROI in high-risk / high-reward scenarios, or be scaled to ensure your mission-critical launch is achieved on-time with a design history file that stands up to full regulatory scrutiny. Because of this diversity, we’ve become adept at assessing each project and collaboratively selecting the most applicable tool(s) and applying the correct level of risk management rigor. We also keep up-to-date with current and future technologies, industry standards and regulations, user trends, and how these all impact opportunities for each new product introduction from start-to-finish.

Does your organization have an informed but flexible approach to risk management, and do you feel like it’s truly a value-add capability? If not, do you know who to talk to improve your situation, or can we help? Radius’ clients often utilize our QMS to facilitate more effective risk management than their systems might allow or to cover gaps in their system.

Changing Technologies, Changing Times
Introducing a new product nowadays requires many elements. More and more of these elements include the seamless integration of physical and digital development cycles and accelerated qualification and launch schedules. Does your team have the experience and band-width to effectively manage this complexity and hit your targets? Or could you benefit from a team that’s been there before? Whether you leverage internal experts or turn to partners like Radius, you need to identify the riskiest elements of your technology and address them early.

When managing this complexity, we often employ an iterative process to guide product development and new product introduction. In the past, iteration cycles were too costly and schedules were often made or broken by “getting it right the first time.” But the accelerations gained from modern analytical tools and the Radius Digital Prototype Lab enable the theoretical and real prototype iterations necessary to make adjustments and optimize technical details at a pace that will meet a launch time frame.

Using Risk to Your Advantage
This is how we prepare for, use, manage, and monitor risk to guide our product development process. We use the latest risk management tools and techniques, talk and discuss your opportunity with our diverse experts to set the right approach and use the latest technologies and techniques to analyze and prototype earlier and more often.

Along the way there will be some twists and turns and your original idea might not be the one that we all agree is the best one to develop – but we will have found the very best opportunity for your market.

The risk lies in chasing an idea without knowing if it is what people want or even care about. This is where the chaos comes in. We work with you to minimize this chaos and use the risk to push us to ideate, innovate, and realize your opportunity. From start-to-finish we’ll make sure we are communicating, developing, and moving in the direction that makes sense for you and your brand.

Innovation. Realized.
It’s what we do.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today to learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.

Radius at Alibaba’s Gateway ’17

China’s Alibaba Group is the world’s largest retailer, surpassing Walmart and generating more gross merchandise volume than Amazon and eBay combined. Alibaba reaches their customers through a combination of B2B, C2C, and B2C portals. Their Tmall.com portal, launched in 2008, is the 8th most visited website in China, specializing in global brands who want to sell to an increasingly affluent Chinese consumer base.

Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 (Detroit June 20-21), was the Chinese e-commerce giant’s biggest-ever public event in the United States and Radius Innovation & Development was there to present our capabilities.

The overall purpose of the event was to introduce US companies to the vast Chinese consumer market while highlighting how Alibaba and its partners are making cross-border e-commerce easier and more profitable through innovative, web-based sales, logistics, and digital marketing solutions.

To prepare for their Gateway ’17 event, Alibaba sent their Tmall Discovery team on a road trip to interview influential Silicon Valley technologists, including our very own John Van Akkeren, President of Radius Innovation & Development.

Watch the video below to learn how Radius is helping Alibaba deliver on their vision of a seamless shopping experience by harnessing the latest developments in augmented reality and new product development and introduction.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today to learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.

Stay Smart and Think Design First

First impressions count. What does the product look like? How does it feel in my hand or in my pocket? Do I want that on my wall or taking up space in my house? Is this a product I want to wear on my body? Is it easy to use or do I have to learn a new set of hand swipes/signals or voice commands to get it to work? How does it make me feel? These are just some of the questions and perspectives you need to consider when thinking about product design.

Human Factors. User Interface, User Experience, and Industrial Design experts collaborate to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your product design, ensuring it meets standards for market viability.

Consumer expectation is at an all-time high, even the best idea isn’t going to count for much if it is delivered in sub-par packaging. Therefore, we put a huge emphasis on the importance of how your product will be used and misused. This knowledge is not something that can be determined from spreadsheets or a PowerPoint slide presentation. To get to the heart of the matter and find out if your product is being held back or supported by its design, we bring in our experts in human factors, user interface, user experience, and industrial design.

Real Analysis for Real Design
You have an idea and thanks to thorough analysis and review, you know that there is a need for this product in the market. Now you need to think of your consumer and start asking the tricky questions – the questions that might cause you to rethink your idea or send you back to the earlier stages of product planning.

Do you know:

  • What your customers want?
  • That your customers are ready for change?
  • What your customers currently like and dislike about your product or others in the same space?
  • How, where, why, and when your customers are or aren’t using your product?
  • What is coming up next with technological and material advances?
  • If your customers care about a feature-rich application or simply want it to do the basics?
  • How your product makes your customers feel?
  • If your customers are proud to use your product and be seen using it?

Vital questions. Questions that you can’t afford to not know the answers to. Like we said, these are the tough questions, but when you can answer them confidently and honestly, you can use these answers to guide and shape your product design.

This is what we do at Radius. Our experts in human factors, industrial design, and user experience find the answers to these questions for you. We use our deep layers of knowledge in content strategy, usability testing, story-boarding, visualization, concept ideation, and more to ensure you truly are giving your customers what they desire.

Smart Connected Design

Smart-connected devices elevate the quality of life for its many users, enabling them to be more aware and take control of their personal, professional, and healthy lifestyles.

Think back to the calculator watch – clunky design and borderline “cool” for its day. Now think of the range of smart watches available to us – feature rich and the cutting edge of contemporary design. These watches can be whatever your or I need them to be. For an active person, the smart watch is a step counter, a calorie counter, a heart rate monitor, a GPS mapping device, a training companion, and a motivator. For a worldwide traveler, the smart watch is a booking agent, a universal time keeper, a currency exchange calculator,  a calendar and scheduler, and a boredom killer.

The smart watch truly lives up to its moniker. It is smart. It can help make our waking and sleeping time better. Whether it’s allowing us to stay constantly connected, tracking our health, or allowing us to work and communicate wherever we are. These watches give us freedom and intelligence in one slickly designed package.

This isn’t an accident. That watch that you wear and bring into your material world and that your friends ask about is a result of real analysis, deep understanding about the Internet of Things, and defining what it is that we desire.

There is a reason why that 80’s calculator watch isn’t around anymore. Did it really solve a need that you or I had? Did it look good? Did it make our lives infinitely easier with minimal hassle? Or what is just a “feature”?

This is what we need to make sure we’re doing when we develop, design, and realize your ideas. We need to make sure that we’re working on the next smart watch and not the calculator watch. And this is why we have our experts in design, technology, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, human factors, and usability and functional testing working for you to get you to where you need to be.

Those questions we want you to be able to answer? If we can answer these, then we’re not doing our best for you. You can hold us accountable and make sure that we are getting the answers you need to deliver the best designed product possible. (There won’t be any calculator watches coming out of the Radius Digital Prototype Lab…)

Effective product design requires a team of professionals who are experts in Human FactorsUser Interface and User ExperienceIndustrial Design, and Conceptual Engineering. You cannot expect great design without the entire summation and collaboration of these parts. We believe strongly in the connection between design and success. Radius is your only choice when it comes to a powerhouse design and innovation consulting firm.

Discovery. Design.
Brought together for true innovation.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.

Redefining User Experience Design

One of the biggest challenges for us UI/UX professionals at Radius Innovation & Development is the ability to stay on the technological cutting edge while still delivering a user experience that is firmly planted in ease of use and the human factor.

However, our definition of traditional user experience is being challenged more and more by technological expansions on what constitutes a physical user interface.

The user experience design process at Radius is changing every day as the internet of things becomes more and more ubiquitous and advances in augmented reality become more widespread. What this means is that the user interface of the very near future will no longer rely on a keyboard on a laptop or even a screen on a tablet or phone. As a matter of fact, professional futurologists have predicted that in seven years, most interfaces will not have a screen and will be integrated into daily tasks.

Think of Tom Cruise in Minority Report, with hand gestures and screens that float in the air (this is not really in the realm of Sci-Fi anymore).

How to Achieve Great User Experience Design
Great user experience design must be deeply homed in research and innovation to deliver the most intuitive experience possible. Good UI/UX should just work, and work well.

This is why at Radius we take UI/UX design innovation seriously. We want to design and create great user experiences. This means focusing on ease of use and creating UI/UX that is extremely intuitive. This allows users to be more productive and better at performing their daily tasks. This ultimately translates into creating better products for our customers.

Enter Radius Innovation & Development UI/UX New Product Innovation
At Radius we understand that good UI/UX design is at the vanguard of new product innovation.

Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and others have already announced their latest advancements in UI/UX, moving away from laptops and phones to an augmented reality experience. This means moving the current Social Media user experience into a new world of virtual reality that must co-exist with the real world. This presents new challenges for new product development and enables us to help customers think of their products in a new way from a UX experience.

By aligning all our innovation capabilities, from UI/UX professionals to our industrial designers and engineers, we strive to deliver the most elegant, sleek, and thoughtful solutions for the end user, because a great user experience is one of the most important factors in designing a new product.

With in-house rapid prototyping capabilities, our Radius Digital Prototype Lab (DPL) can generate a 3D printed working prototype of a new product. By harnessing our augmented reality capabilities, developed through our partnership with Microsoft HoloLens, our Radius team can deliver a virtual UI/UX that customers can experience in real time, providing feedback for improvements that can be immediately implemented in the next version of the product. That’s what we call Innovation Realized. Rapidly.

Finally, through our partnership with Jabil manufacturing, we offer a platform to manufacturability at a large scale. If the customer’s business plan requires the production of a lower number of hardware units, we can leverage our in-house Low Volume Assembly capability that adapts to the immediate low volume manufacturing needs of startups or can serve the low hardware volumes required for new product development and commercialization within an established company.

To have all of these capabilities under one roof is what makes us stand out in the industry, and what makes it truly innovative is that it’s fully available to all Radius customers. This enables our customers to go from idea to market in record time and with the confidence that their new product will have the latest developments in UI/UX design, while meeting their internal deadlines and hardware production schedules and budgets.

UI/UX Design in The Smart Home
This is an example of how our Radius approach, including our in-house user experience design experts working together with all the other Radius colleagues, enabled our client to realize their vision of a fully connected smart home.

Tablet with an app controls several features in the home such as door lock, lights, washing machine, surveillance camera, music, water use and more.

A customer came to us with the challenge of helping them design a new UI/UX experience for their Smart Home Solution. The idea was to control temperature, lighting and other ambient factors in the home to match their customer’s lifestyles (while at the same time saving energy costs). The challenge was to create a new user experience where a whole array of fully integrated household appliances like thermostats, fans, and lighting were all centrally managed by a user-friendly single control app.

Another novel idea was that this single user interface app could be accessed by the end user via their smartphone, tablet or computer, making it possible to set the ambience and environment remotely via any connected device (smartphone, desktop or tablet).

Keeping the UI/UX of the app independent of the physical gadget it’s running on not only provides the end user with greater freedom to control their smart home from work, the car, or home office, but across different devices. This approach future-proofs the customer for that moment where instead of a physical gadget running the user interface (like a phone or tablet), the entire app will be running in an augmented reality space managed by voice controls or hand gestures. This is the delicate balance that our Radius UI/UX experts are striving for. We aim to deliver a current user experience that is not only intuitive and a joy to use, but one that is ready for the future.

This not only builds brand loyalty but puts our customer’s products at the forefront of innovation. We call this “The Radius Effect”.

We also believe that the “proof is in the pudding” and we invite you to look at our work. Read about the challenges we faced, learn about our approach to solving them, and see the success we’ve generated for many customers and brands.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.

To Prototype, or Not to Prototype? Accelerate Your New Product Introduction

Your startup based on your great idea just got funded. Congratulations. You’re one step ahead of the curve with a software/hardware combo that spells the future in your niche industry. Your development team is busy writing code to power the software and make your UX a reality. But the industry you’re trying to disrupt relies on a physical product that moves in the real world, not just pixels and code on a cloud server. You take a good look at your management team and all you can see is gaps. Does your team have the industrial engineering chops to bring this product to market? And even if they do, your new disruptive business plan relies on a B2B approach of low volume, high-value sales. Your designers have delivered their initial designs, but you still have no idea if the hardware can be made to your strict specification at a set cost. Your business plan requires a steady but relatively low volume approach to manufacturing to match your B2B strategy. What you need is a first prototype they tell you. No, what you really need is a way to accelerate the time required to introduce your product – what we at Radius Innovation & Development call our “Accelerated Product Introduction” capability.

Bring a new product to market fast and fulfill a vision that may have been years in the making.
To bring a new product to market is a complex process that requires a special set of skills that differ from mass production manufacturing. In many cases, this specialized skill set could very well be lacking in your management team. But you shouldn’t feel bad about this all too common reality. Developing a new product is hard. It encompasses multiple disciplines and requires a complex and rigorous testing process.

These are some of the reasons why Radius created their Accelerated Product Introduction capability. This innovative idea combines the resources of Radius’ Low Volume Assembly Service with their Radius Digital Prototyping Lab, all while harnessing the talent and experience of the product design and engineering team of the Radius Innovation and Development studios.

What is the Radius Digital Prototype Lab?
The Radius Digital Prototype Lab (DPL) is a full-service, rapid prototyping facility with low volume assembly capabilities, in the heart of Silicon Valley, USA. Developed for the global customer base of Jabil and Radius, it represents an unmatched speed-to-innovation and market capability compared to other worldwide competitor prototyping models, with a reduced go-to-market risk. The state-of-the-art facility enables the delivery of ideas, products, and solutions to market quicker by accelerating innovation and development. More specifically, the design, manufacture, testing and analytic cycles are all executed under one roof. We call it Accelerated Product Introduction (API). Innovation. Realized. Rapidly.

We work directly with your team to ensure that the product being manufactured not only meets your specifications but that it fulfills your vision.
This innovative approach puts all the key factors needed to accelerate your product to market under one roof, and is focused on creating a flexible and robust strategy to put your product in your customer’s hands on time and on budget.

Our close collaborative style not only ensures that our team understands your vision but also ensures that your team becomes familiar with every detail of the manufacturing process, enabling them to take advantage of improvements along the way.

When you work with our team of experts and our state-of-the-art equipment, you get the ability to quickly design, build, test and analyze your ideas and products. Our low volume assembly capabilities for as many as 10,000 units can deliver the right product much faster and with a reduced go-to-market risk.

Radius’ Low Volume Assembly (LVA) Capability
We have a modular and flexible manufacturing line designed to be easily modified as the manufacturing processes are refined.

This modular, flexible line design is not only well suited to accommodating maturing manufacturing processes, it also provides product launch cost savings. Unlike traditional mass production lines, which are designed for ongoing, uninterrupted manufacturing, our modular line can easily be pre-scheduled to be increased or decreased as needed. Traditional manufacturing lines, once set up, become client funded whether they are utilized or not. With our LVA modular line, if manufacturing is not occurring, we don’t pass any manufacturing costs to our client, resulting in substantial capital conservation.

The genius of the LVA process is that once your business takes off, and a manufacturing scale has been achieved, the entire process can be easily transitioned to a mass manufacturing location of choice, intact, and with minimal interruption.

Accelerated Product Introduction – Case Study: Aerial Mapping Drones
Our client is a high-resolution aerial mapping startup serving the construction industry. Their business model is to provide highly accurate and cutting edge software-as-a-service for high-resolution mapping. Their innovation is to rely on drones to capture and map these construction sites versus using airplanes, which are more expensive to operate and come with large operational and logistical considerations. But what really sets them apart from the competition is their software-as-a-service pricing model. For one set monthly price, they give customers access to their mapping software, plus the use of a dedicated drone to conduct mapping operations. So, in effect, this startup is banking on an interesting combination of software-as-a-service and a strong hardware component that comes bundled as part of their monthly service fee. From a price-point perspective, the hardware is only there to facilitate the software-as-a-service operation.

These drones needed to operate in the rough environment of a construction site, under all weather conditions, all while carrying a sophisticated combination of high resolution cameras plus software bundles to enable them to perform their primary function of capturing construction sites as accurately as possible. Adding further complexity, the drones needed to be built to withstand inclement weather, from the inside out, while also running sophisticated encryption and auto-pilot software. Because of the nature of the customer’s B2B software-as-a service business model, another requirement was that these drones had to be produced in sufficient numbers, but at a relatively low volume, so running a traditional manufacturing line (that generally produces millions of units) wasn’t really an option.

Enter Radius
This startup’s software-as-a-service/hardware combo challenge is precisely the type of problem that Radius’ Accelerated Product Introduction capability was designed to solve. We house a team with a mix of specializations, including engineering, UX, industrial design, software and more, all directly connected with our DPL (with the capability to create physical parts and prototypes on the spot). These capabilities feed into our modular and flexible Low Volume Assembly system to produce a steady flow of customer ready drones ready to start generating income at the relatively low volume pace of B2B sales.

This drone startup can now start developing and building their drones on an accelerated timeline due to the simple fact that all of these capabilities are available to them under one roof. This enables their team to review parts and processes as they are being manufactured and assembled in-house, thus saving countless hours and avoiding cost overruns. In addition, issues that may arise during development are nipped in the bud by a combination of quality control and in-house retooling in our DPL, thus eliminating the need to send parts back to a third party manufacturer and all the wasted time and money that would entail.

Low Volume Assembly is Good for Your Business
If your business (like this startup) relies on a steady flow of new hardware products manufactured to the highest standards, but the nature of your business requires low volume in terms of the hardware production, there was once a time that your options were extremely limited. Now, the powerful combination of Radius’ in-house engineering talent, combined with our Digital Prototype Lab capable of producing parts for Low Volume Assembly (all under one roof), enables Radius Innovation to give startups and established companies alike a new edge in this new world order of software & hardware as a service combos.

Learn more about how Radius can help develop your next product and bring it to market right, fast, and with minimum risk.

Innovation. Realized. Rapidly.

Sharing Insights on Human Factors Design in Orphan Diseases

It was a privilege to speak in front of a large and esteemed audience at the sixth annual HFES International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care, made even more satisfying by the dynamic debate that followed my presentation.

Taking to the stage at any event always carries concern over the appropriateness of one’s presentation but any concerns I had quickly dissipated after I asked the audience to raise their hand if they’d experienced problems recruiting patients for studies into orphan diseases. When more than 50% of the audience raised their hands, I knew that what Beth Loring, Principal of Loring Human Factors LLC, and I had to present would resonate in the same way it had with clients we had engaged with.

HFE, or human factors and ergonomics, is a topic of great concern to many and this particular event has grown over recent years. I presented to a diverse group including large pharmaceutical companies, the FDA, academia, government, media, and others involved in the supply chain that supports the development of solutions in this sector.

As mentioned, the key focus of my presentation was to share the experience we have gained at Radius Innovation & Development in recruiting patients to conduct usability studies for ‘orphan diseases’, defined as diseases with less than 200,000 diagnoses. Currently, there are approximately 7,000 known orphan diseases affecting around 30 million Americans.

There are several reasons that the number of drugs and biologics for orphan diseases are rising. These include expedited processes, including fast tracking, and special designation as an orphan or breakthrough therapy. Other incentives include tax credits to offset clinical trial costs, special grants, and extended market exclusivity.

In my five years at Radius working on human factors research programs, we have worked on a number of cases and have learned many lessons on the way, which I was pleased to share along with the methodology we have built around such programs.

The challenges lie in the fact that standard recruiting methods are often unsuitable. We’ve conducted FDA validation studies where as many as 120 participants are required, the majority of participants can be drawn from a mix of nurses, caregivers, adult patients and juvenile patients, half of whom may be naive users and half experienced users. Since these diseases are rare, patients are also rare, and what’s more, patients may be unwilling or physically unable to participate. Hence a large database is needed together with creative recruiting methods.

I presented a human factors research case study to the audience based around a combination device that delivers a drug through subcutaneous infusion therapy to over 10,000 patients with a rare autoimmune disease. Certain strategies were employed as a result of the recruiting process being more difficult. These included testing in multiple locations, rather than a single city (four cities in this case), and extended recruiting timeline (8-12 weeks instead of 2-3) and an increased budget. To meet the more challenging recruitment process we employed multiple recruiting vendors to widen the database, rather than a single national recruiting company.

Based on our experience at Radius, I was able to share several overarching pieces of advice:

  • Work with you FDA reviewer! Talk to them about you protocol, raise the project challenges with them as early as possible and notify them as you explore different options. They are able to provide guidance and suggestions.
  • Recognize your challenges and attempt to address them early, using information from formative studies.
  • Leverage the Drug Sales Organization Database to identify geographic areas with highest concentration of patients, as well as physicians treating patients with the disease. This will increase the probability of finding recruits, perhaps through physician outreach or patient referral.
  • Consider working with local non-profit organizations or charities dedicated to specific diseases that may be able to provide links to blogs or online communities for patients and who may, with a donation, offer to post study details on their websites or patient blogs.
  • Transform patients into an army of recruiters through referral incentives and through good old fashioned word-of-mouth. Many patients participate in local support groups; some diseases are hereditary and family members may be fellow sufferers.

And when all else fails, consider reusing formative study participants, or using surrogate patients with similar symptoms or disease characteristics, but as mentioned before, confirm with your FDA reviewer as early as possible.

Companies are becoming more aware of human factors research and more involved in the early stages of product development in the hopes of minimizing user errors rather than mitigating issue as an afterthought, where it is expensive and inefficient. Getting the human factors right first time is hugely valuable and the Radius HF team has a great deal of experience in this arena. Radius prides itself on its focus on the user experience as part of the ideation process of any product or ecosystem design; this is as important in this instance as in any other sector.

As with all innovation, the desire to compress the design, development, testing and approval processes and to get to market first is high. Getting the human factors research right first time is part of the process of compressing the time frame for product development.

I am pleased to say that my presentation was well received and was followed by a lively question and answer session as well as much debate and interaction. I look forward to sharing my findings again on the continuing work that our human factors and research team at Radius carries out alongside our designers and our clients in bringing some creative solutions to drug and treatment delivery in these challenging areas.

From Sketch to Prototype in Five Weeks

How to get from napkin sketch to a multimedia proof of concept working digital prototype in five weeks.

Accelerate to Market. From napkin sketch to working prototype in five weeks.

Lost Time – The Innovation Killer
Lost time represents the most destructive killer of innovation success. This is why the stories of ideas getting funded at Silicon Valley VC hot spots such as Coupa Café in Palo Alto, Café Borrone in Menlo Park, and Buck’s of Woodside in Palo Alto are memorialized. Time to market matters, as does market timing. For VCs, moving quickly, often based on an entrepreneur’s coffee stained napkin sketch, can mean the difference between the next big thing or the next big bust.

Avoiding ‘Oops’
Innovation stakeholders, whether a VC, an entrepreneur, a product manager, or a team lead do not want to hear, ‘Oops… we should have thought of that earlier.”

Is a compelling story told by an entrepreneur the only thing a VC invests in? Will this napkin sketch work in the real world? Does this team know how to use ethnographic studies, market surveys and human factor analysis to confirm the monetizable value that is created by their solution? Does this team have the necessary technical and business knowledge to turn this great idea into reality? Do they know how to create more than a breadboard prototype? Do they understand DFM? Can they manufacture the pre-orders in their crowd funding campaign and then scale to a global market?

What if the answer to any of these questions is NO?

Mitigating Risk
Innovation. Delivered. It’s more than a marketing tagline – this is what we do, and have done for two decades. Radius works as one functional team using our 4D approach: Discover, Design, Develop & Deliver. Our team is ready to step in at an early stage of new product development to ensure that startups stay on track and benefit from the latest developments in industrial design, UX, robotics, and more. By leveraging new emerging technologies, startups can deliver a better brand and user experience for their customers and can scale their prototypes for low volume assembly and/or mass commercialization with less risk.

New Product Introduction (NPI)
NPI is no simple task and can take years if not properly executed. We know that hardware is hard. We know teams must turn an idea into reality before running out of runway. We know how to mitigate risk in NPI and reduce time to market. Let’s look at an example.

Smart Pill Dispenser – 5 Weeks to a Prototype
The smart pill dispenser concept was to build a home healthcare hub to help patients adhere to their medication regimes while remaining connected to an entire ecosystem of caregivers, from Doctors and Pharmacists to family members. Starting with basic concept sketches, the Radius Digital Rapid Prototyping team delivered the working proof of concept prototype shown here in only five weeks!

The Smart Pill Dispenser. From napkin sketch to multimedia proof of concept working prototype in five weeks.

 

Learn more about the Radius Digital Prototype Lab.

Virtual Reality Bringing Industry 4.0 to Life at the World’s Biggest Show on Earth: Hannover Messe

In a column published earlier this year, I wrote that I expected 2017 to be a breakout year for Industry 4.0 or IoM (the “Internet of Manufacturing”), citing several key new technologies as enablers. One of those enabling technologies is VR (Virtual Reality), and at the Hannover Messe fair this week, along with our partner Microsoft, Radius Innovation & Development teamed with our sister company Nypro Healthcare, to demonstrate how we are using VR throughout the entire product lifecycle of a Medical Device, from idea through to completed product. We’ve been excited to share our progress of this initiative, and have sprinkled information out there since the day we received our four new Microsoft Hololens headsets. Now we are ready to share our story and our use of Microsoft’s incredible collaboration tools during product design and product development.

But first some context on Hannover Messe, for those that aren’t as familiar with it.

Hannover Messe put on by Deutsche Messe AG, is the world’s largest industrial fair, set to attract 250,000 people with more than 6,500 exhibitors this year, in Hannover, Germany. All key technologies and core areas of industry – from research and development, industrial automation, IT, industrial supply, production technologies and services to energy and mobility technologies – can be found in Hannover. The theme this year, is all about ‘Integrating Industry’. Some of you may recall, that Hannover was one of the first places to debate the principles of Industry 4.0 and it continues to be a hub for conversation and innovation related to industrial manufacturing techniques, bringing science, politics, technology and business together in one place. To say this show is exciting is an understatement! New partnerships are formed, exciting advancements in technology are shaped and announced, and provocative conversations can be heard everywhere!

Now back to our presence at the show:

The world we live in is becoming ‘augmented’ and the way we interact with it is changing rapidly. The days of simply using, or even programming, tools to complete a task are over and we are now in an age where we fully interact with our tools to achieve our objectives. This is true not just in terms of VR, but also in the way we work with automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. All topics that will feature heavily during this week in Hannover.

This is Jabil’s second year at Hannover with technology partner Microsoft. Last year we presented our use of Microsoft Azure Predictive Analytics and the positive impacts the technology had in two of our major plants from an efficiency and customer experience standpoint.

This year, Radius Innovation & Development and Nypro Healthcare — all part of the Jabil family, teamed together on a project using Microsoft HoloLens. The interactive demo shown at the Microsoft booth shows how IoT-enabled product design is already improving the healthcare industry by giving providers a better way to design infusion devices, which doctors rely on to administer doses of vital fluids like nutrients and medications to patients. Radius and Nypro have been in the Infusion business for over 20 years, and have helped large healthcare companies innovate these pumps to ensure the patient experience is continually optimised. So, when we saw an opportunity to improve, collaborate and accelerate the design and development of these important medical devices, using design software on Microsoft Surface Studio, the visualisation capabilities of Microsoft HoloLens, and 3D Printing capabilities all together, we pounced.

Holograms and 3D capabilities allow product manipulation and accelerate group collaboration and design iteration/refinement prior to a product’s introduction on the factory floor, which means we can get it exactly right before production. In other words, we can truly “design for manufacturability” and do it across disparate development teams both on the design front, and the production front. And anyone who knows manufacturing knows that this is the single greatest area of error and risk, i.e. going from prototype to production. When Radius and Nypro get tighter during this process, it creates differentiation for us and value for our customers. And for this, we are grateful to our partner Microsoft for all the collaboration tools they provide us: Office365 to SharePoint, to more recently, Hololens.

This project is a great example of the benefits delivered by the augmented age and how humans and machines working collaboratively can achieve amazing results. Design is one element that has been impacted by the augmented age, but there are much more. As we develop tools that leverage the unique skills and experience of our team and the latest technological advances we can achieve faster and better design, greater manufacturing efficiency and agility and even better supply chain management and visibility.

At Radius Innovation & Development and Nypro Healthcare, we find ourselves in the privileged position of having tens of thousands of highly skilled and experienced people, who are embracing the use of the very latest technology to deliver their insight and knowledge (faster) to a growing number of brands and in turn to their demanding and ever more connected consumers. We help some of the biggest and newest brands REALIZE INNOVATION on a daily basis, and it’s the most gratifying work you can imagine.

Visit us in the Microsoft booth (Hall 7) of the Hannover Fair from April 24th to 28th and chat to the team about our vision of the augmented age, rapid innovation and manufacturing agility.