Many variations on this but I guess this particular version hits at the heart of what we are looking to talk about today
So onto the topic at hand – Collaborating across business cultures
But most product focussed industry consultants play in this yardSo what I’d like to talk about today is how to bridge the proof of concept/product development gap and dealing with the various cultures that play a part
The ugly truth guys…
The ugly truth guys…
And who are these cultures?Sure there’s more like Austrade or Government Business Offices or even your cusromers but these are the main ones that will get you a product to sell
Hey, but aren’t these guys Blood sucking freaks ?
Nope.So what I would like to do is go through each of these areas and outline the sort of value add they can provide, but perhaps more importantly, give some suggestions on how to maximise the benefit of collaboration.
PCI PED accreditationGSM communications accreditationBluetooth accreditationWireless update over the airLong life batteryPhysical securityIndustrial design for taxi environment
First up, my own area
One recent client of Hydrix wanted design for compliance for an electrical control product for a raft of countries including, I kid you not Afgahistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, European Community, Singapore, Malaysia, UAE, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, USA, and Mexico; Needless to say the research of the design requirements took a while and every country had interesting wrinkles on what was compliant to otherwise
And then of course are the regulatory requirements of particular industries.This little chart I pinched outlines various design, development and manufacturing standards required for the design of biomedical equipment. That is equipment that keeps people alive or monitors their physical conditions or assist in diagnosisBetween them 60601 parts 1 and 2, 62304, 13485 and 14971 amount to around 1000 pages of design guidelines and compliances that have to be met. And increasingly the US FDA – the big kahuna for biomedical products – will look through the end market distributor back to every company that provided a mission critical design or development input or manufacture. And in many cases the FDA will even visit them to review their documentation and record keeping against these standards.Hydrix had one just last week for one of or Clients Sunshine Heart who sell in-chest mounted heart beat assist devices. While we came up clean we nonetheless had to dedicate a senior Project manager, our Quality manager and a number of project engineers too the case for several days to satisfy their needs.
Product designs need to be optimised for automated manufacture and test. Failing to do this or providing poor quality ‘design-for-manufacture’ packs can & will increase manufacturing cost and inhibit testing. There’s no incentive for your manufacturer to optimise their lines for you – they’ll typically follow your instructions or failing that set them up to suit themselves
Even after you’ve created a design that suits automated manufacture, and you’ve provided quality manufacturing data packs, you can still be tripped up, particularly by Asian manufacturers who will routinely try it on.The most common way is to try to rip you off on the Bill of Materials or BOM in multiple places. Some of the BOM variations may be easy to spot and others considerably more subtle – perhaps 1 or 2 cent in 1 or 2 dollars – but once you accept the BOM, to whatever level of price gouging you detect, you will have then set the base level for the manufacturers to continue to try it on.Experienced designers have established networks of suppliers and trusted manufacturers to be able to check prices and provide reliable manufacturing feedback
Anybody can write a good response to an RFP but that doesn’t mean that you will be able to choose the right partner from the responses – that’s why Victoria has a MYKI ticketing system (= over-budget, over-time, under-performing) instead of say a Hong Kong MRT style ticketing system (= fabulous). A fairly common method that bid companies use to respond to a tender or an RFQ where they lack the required experience, or where they’re just plain lazy, is to simply copy back a lot of your content from the initial project description in the RFP documentation. That way the respondents can tick all the boxes and be seen to meet all your requirements ... and everyone always has at least one great reference and one vaguely relevant past project that can be reworded so that it matches the project criteria more closely. By contrast, consider running a pilot project or similar – eg just do the initial product technical architecture or specification phase. This will involve more initial work in getting the project described and going but will pay off in the long run when you decide to choose a partner as you will find out exactly how they work. If possible speak to existing or past customers of your proposed partner
Simply being able to write software code is not enough. Flexibility is the key for successful product engineering. Your R&D partner should be able to understand your customer-focussed vision for your product. Products and services developed with a particular customer segment in mind frequently see the rules of the game change – timelines, features & technologies, User Interfaces etc – regardless of whether they be digital or real world. Your external R&D partner should bring an experienced talent pool that understands and adapts to commercial vagaries and changing timeframes easily yet still delivers flawlessly.
The right outsource R&D firm will know best about putting together the right team for your company and your project development needs —choosing talent with the relevant experience, who are used to working as part of a team and who are motivated to deliver your project to the best of their ability. Allow your external partner the benefit of choosing the right team and you will have a team that is far more responsive to your needs.
When external teams understand your vision and ambition their energy level is different and the commitment to solve the same problems becomes equally important to them.If you treat your partner as your typical provider of outsource business services, just like your bookkeeper or accountant, chances are that your partner will just work to your project milestones and not add the really valuable experience and know-how that they have learned from other client projects.Moreover in a typical design & development project you will never know when you need to really go that extra yard – to meet a changed deadline or impress the hell out of a client with what you have created. The chance of counting on that additional exertion of blood, sweat and tears from your partner is likely to be so much more when they feel like they’re a recognised and respected part of a bigger team.
In the many successful engagements that Hydrix has undertaken we have seen that the Client’s involvement in the project design & development is significantly higher at the beginning of the engagement. Over time the Client’s active and in depth involvement tends to reduce as their project managers develop increasing confidence in Hydrix and satisfaction with the deliverables against milestones. It is important that this likely slow transfer of control is recognised and planned for at the outset – else you may end up with an external team still seeking direction from your managers when their attention may have turned elsewhere.
Many smaller companies tend to develop some sort of product requirements document on the whiteboard near the kitchen and ,as the various team members probably work in adjoining cubicles, they’ll work very easily off such a rough and ready record. As projects get bigger or more complicated, or are pulled in different directions by commercial requirements or changing client needs, managing the development process can become increasingly complex and move the project beyond the “over the cubicle wall” management enjoyed during the early phases. Adding an external team to that mix adds additional challenges to the process. If you do not already have a robust development process, perhaps invite your external R&D partner to set up one for you as it will considerably ease the management of the project and the external team the course of time. No experienced R&D firm would ever advocate a full blown ISO60601 software development or V-Model design process for a smaller or start-up project, but any experienced R&D partner will have a robust design and development process that can be scaled and customised to suit your project needs.
In addition to the ongoing daily interaction between your teams, structured weekly meetings are important. These meetings at Project manager level can discuss the project’s overall milestones, any changes and significant issues can be shared and discussed with both teams to ensure common goals. Regular review meetings – at CTO or Commercial levels can help focus the partners on higher issues such company goals, product roadmaps and so on. These sort of regular and structured communications ensure the internal and external teams work together in a more collaborative and efficient manner.
This is a requirement of the patent system. (In the case of electrical/IT invention, this might involve getting schematic diagrams showing the various functional blocks involved as well as circuit diagrams, screen shots, flow charts to show how software worked, etc. as well as a plain English description of everything.)
A salt share becomes a semi-automated condiment dispensing device for instanceA lot of patent trolls exist that simply wait for people to infringe and then sue. A previous company was sued and even though we did not infringe, it would have taken more time and $ to fight it than to settle outrightA big industry in the US
Eg prior art that will need to be innovated around.
And back to that condiment dispensing device with semi automatic hole cleaninn- yes it was patented
Physically making it all work together - plastics, metalwork, electronics, inputs, software (issues of design tolerances / stacking, errors, manufacturabilitySourcing the componentsdifferent brands of generic parts may behave differentlyparts have to be available in commercially reasonable lead timesSupply chain has to be reliable
Presentable Client Face:Quality systemsScale of plant and scalability of projectsCritical mass (experience and financial)Understanding the language that is expectedProviding a network of Companies with expertise:Specialist Suppliers (Designers, code writers, PCB manufacturers, Component distributors, Tool makers, plastic moulders, metal stampers, test houses)Technical specialistsLegal and Accounting advice (particularly in IP and Trade)LogisticsForeign Exchange management
Collaborating Across Business Cultures How To Get The Most From Your Professional Services Consultants
Collaborating across Cultures Collaborating Across (Business) Cultures
The IP to Market Development Cycle ProfitWhere most CRCS tend to operate Where most productisation companies tend to operate
Basic and applied R&D that can attract earlyinvestors can often be a long way from amarket ready product…
To move your IP from „nice can to „gottaBasic and applied R&D thatidea‟ attract earlyhave product‟ you‟ll need to collaborate with ainvestors can often be a long way from anumber of different butmarket ready product value-addingprofessional services cultures …
So who are these Professional Servicesconsultants?• Electronics and Software Designers;• Industrial Designers;• IP Lawyers;• Investors;• Contract Manufacturers.
How They Can Add ValueDesign to relevant international standards:
How They Can Add ValueDesign to relevant industry standards:
How They Can Add ValueDesign for Manufacture:Quality manufacturing data packs are essential:• Gerber Files;• Pick & Place;• Bill Of Materials;• Test & Verification points;
How They Can Add ValueBill of Materials:(Asian) Manufacturers will look for expertise andprevious manufacturing experience from the design teamWithout this they will almost certainly try to takeadvantage of youAn actual example:X 15,000 pieces a month= $53k a month in profit justgiven away
Electronic and Software Design ConsultantsHow best to collaborate:Choose your partner using a pilot projectevaluation or similar rather than from anRFP process
Electronic and Software Design ConsultantsHow best to collaborate:Make sure that the external R&D partneris a product or software engineeringspecialist rather than an IT generalist
Electronic and Software Design ConsultantsHow best to collaborate:Focus on the external team‟scohesiveness and ability to deliver, andto be able to grow with your needs –rather than choosing a group of guyswho know technology but who don‟toperate as a team
Electronic and Software Design ConsultantsHow best to collaborate:Treat the relationship as a partnershiprather than as a typical services providerrelationship
Electronic and Software Design ConsultantsHow best to collaborate:Plan for the project management lead toshift from internal to external over time
Electronic and Software Design ConsultantsHow best to collaborate:Ensure that the joint team follows somerobust design & development processes
Electronic and Software Design ConsultantsHow best to collaborate:Weekly project meetings and regularreview meetings are essential
Intellectual Property LawyersWhat do IP Lawyers do?• Get enough information for a skilled person reading the patent application to build the invention (given a few months‟ work in the lab);• Work out what is essential to the invention and what is not and put all the essential features into independent claims;
Intellectual Property Lawyers• See how to “stretch” the language in the claims – to define a monopoly broad enough to stop infringers;• Prior Art Search – what‟s already out there that might stop you;• File the Patent.
Intellectual Property LawyersHow best to collaborate:• Be aware of your commercial objectives and business goals and relate them to your Attorney as clear and complete as possible – be up front• Invite your Attorney to understand more about your business (because they will want to)
Intellectual Property LawyersHow best to collaborate:• Understand the process (of IP Protection) and if you don‟t - ask about it before incurring too many costs• Advise your Attorney of competitors and opportunities
Intellectual Property LawyersHow best to collaborate:• Be realistic with your expectations – the IP process can bring up problems that may change the course of your actions
What does Starfish Ventures look for?• Outstanding management team• Superior and innovative technologies with a strong intellectual property position• Technology addressing a clearly defined market opportunity
What does Starfish Ventures look for?• Capable of becoming a significant future market player and creating barriers to entry• Ability to build a unique and sustainable business model• A logical exit mechanism within 2-5 years
“Idea” to TGA approved product Concept validated in clinical trials2001 2012 Defined business opportunity and expanded business from low back pain market to include Sports and OH & S