ABC’s show ‘American Inventor’ is one of the most compressed product development timelines a design firm may ever face. The development cycle starts with being selected only hours before participating on the show and ends in 3.5 weeks.
“We were given a two sentence description for each of the different inventions the day before we met the inventors. From that, we created concept sketches of what we thought the different product ideas might be. We even went so far as to rough out some CAD models to start thinking about manufacturing approaches,” said Tim Nugent, founder and partner in Pulse Global (www.pulse-global.com). Pulse Global is a design engineering firm.
“When we met the six different finalist teams the next day we presented our company’s product development capabilities. The natural dynamics we had with some of the inventors caused us to stand out from the many different design firms competing for contracts that day.”
“We were selected by two different teams to finalize design concepts for ‘The Claw’ bicycle storage mechanism and the ‘Wrap-a-Way’ gift wrapping station into production ready prototypes in just 3.5 weeks. The time compression was crazy.”
Pulse Global won two contracts for the show, doubling the demands placed on it as the eyes of the American TV audience were watching.
To meet the show’s demanding timeline, Pulse Global switched to the dynamic modeling based software of CoCreate OneSpace Modeling from a history-based 3D CAD system.
“Speed was required to do the show and I don’t think we could have done what was needed using a history-based 3D CAD system – it just takes too much time,” Alan Fujii, Pulse Global’s other founder and partner said.
Pulse Global offers fast, innovative design, and ‘American Inventor’ put the design firm to test.
“Everything is about speed and how we compress the timetable for our customers. Key to our success is the ability to move and evolve an idea quickly. So in regards to the American Inventor show, one product needed a facelift in 24 hours. We had originally scheduled 4 days for doing the 3D design but I knew that I could get the CAD work done overnight and buy more time for prototyping,” Nugent said.
Evolving an idea quickly is critical to the innovation process, allowing companies to rapidly learn and respond within new product development. That comes from having the ability to rapidly perform multiple iterative design cycles within the development schedule.
“To be an effective source for innovation we have to be able to explore a multitude of ideas quickly, which requires tools having the ability to move fast,” said Nugent.
“American Inventor’ is a true test of a design firm’s capability to perform under pressure while celebrating the spirit of innovation.
“One of the great things about American Inventor was that it allowed us to show how fluid our development process is,” said Nugent.
“We did so many things in parallel to hit the timeline. Some people would be working on the design to finish mechanical components. Others would be taking CAD data to make parts on our in-house manufacturing equipment. While others would be creating quick prototypes to validate the design, as yet another would be creating the tooling.”
“The timeline for American Inventor was so compressed that it really highlighted the strengths of OneSpace Modeling. We couldn’t have done this without CoCreate. The American Inventor experience made me a believer,” said Fujii.