Supporting the Next Generation of Designers

By Alyssa
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Youngse Kim was born in Korea, but moved to Silicon Valley where he became a celebrated designer of consumer electronics products. Bill Gates called Kim’s iriver MP3 player “a leading design product of the digital era.”

But even after more than 3 decades in California where he founded the high-tech design firm INNO Design, he never forgot where he came from.  Korea has been largely known as a manufacturer of low-cost products, but Kim knew the country was home to many great designers who needed more resources to bring their ideas to market.  To help them along, he founded Design Accelerator Lab (DXL-Lab) in Pangyo, at the heart of Korea’s Techno Valley.

Many Korean designers seek to work at INNO Design, but the firm simply can’t employ all interested applicants.  Kim found a solution with DXL-Lab, which not only helps encourage the design process but also supports other aspects of the development process required to get a product that consumers want into the market.  Key to the program is a cloud-based platform that allows aspiring designers to connect with INNO Design experts and potential investors. Every step of the collaborative process happens on the platform.

Compass recently took a look at the vision for DXL-Lab, and its “Design Together” philosophy.   Learn more about what the organization is doing, including some early successful projects like the Hycore electric bike wheel set to be released in 2017.

Visualizing 3D Design with Ease

By Alyssa
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Designers have been working in 3D software for years, generally reviewing their work on a 2D computer screen.  Even as larger monitors were produced, there were limits to how well a product could be viewed on a flat surface; not all product elements could be seen enough to ensure issues were caught early – critical since that’s when it is a lot less expensive to make changes.

Some large, well-funded companies developed immersive CAVEs (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment): virtual reality environments consisting of a cube-shaped room in which the walls, floors and ceilings are projection screens.  Donning a VR headset, users can interact aided by devices such as wands, joysticks or data gloves.

But not everyone can afford to build a CAVE, and even those that can are limited by the expense of the headsets and by the requirement that users be present at the facility in which the CAVE is located.

In 2016, a new solution for 3D design review emerged: low-cost head mounted devices, or HMDs. This development is opening up an entirely new age of design.  Now, many more designers and engineers – regardless of where in the world they are – can immerse themselves in a design and experience it in a way that makes any issues much more evident.  This saves time and money because changes can be made before the physical product is built.

Check out the latest issue of Compass for an article entitled “Product Design Enters a New Reality.”  You’ll discover examples of how organizations like Embraer and NASA are leveraging this immersive virtuality (iV) technology, and how they expect it to improve their designs and the processes behind them, as different teams can collaborate more easily and see – and resolve – issues in less time.

 

Images © Embraer and © HTC

Is Virtual Leadership Training Better Than the Real Thing?

By Catherine
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By Catherine Bolgar

Businessman working on computer in the office.

Not only can virtual training teach soft skills like leadership, such an approach might be better suited to today’s and tomorrow’s work environments.

“Virtual training is increasing dramatically for a lot of good reasons,” says Rick Lepsinger, president of OnPoint Consulting, a New York provider of virtual instructor-led training and e-learning. “A lot more organizations are geographically distributed. Virtual training reduces travel costs—you don’t have to pay a consultant to come to you, or for folks to go to a central location, with a day of travel each way plus the day of training. It’s much more efficient. It’s more scalable. The technology is better and better.”

Above all, it increasingly reflects real life.

Why learn to coach face to face when in the real world you have to coach virtually? It’s better to learn and practice the skill in the same way you would actually have to use it,” Lepsinger said.

Attendees dial in by phone or voice-over-Internet protocol. Live video connections allow face-to-face interactions. Collaborative software programs let participants all see the same slides at the same time, hold chats or whiteboard discussions, or answer polling questions.

“Some technology allows you to put people into small groups where they have a conversation and then come back to the big group. We often use these breakout groups for self-assessment and case studies,” Mr. Lepsinger says.

Businesspeople Sitting In A Conference Room Looking At Computer ScreenSome programs combine virtual instructor-led training and e-learning. The latter tends to be self-directed, without an instructor, and the students work alone at their own pace. “E-learning is good for concepts or skills you can learn by reading or written exercises,” he says, such as time management, building trust or critical thinking.

Virtual instructor-led training is appropriate when the skill benefits from interaction with humans or from actually practicing something, as opposed to thinking about how you would do it. Leadership skills such as coaching, managing conflict, inspiring and motivating, and building great teams all are better taught with an instructor, including a virtual one, he says.

Although cultures differ around the world, “ideas about leadership are pretty much the same,” Mr. Lepsinger says, “like giving feedback. In the U.S. or Scandinavia, they may be more direct; in Japan, they may be more subtle.” Regardless of the local culture, employees need to know how they’re doing. “We teach how to give feedback in a balanced way, how to focus on behavior,” he says. “The specifics of how you present it to someone might be different in different countries.”

The main adjustment for international audiences is to speak slowly for participants who aren’t native English speakers. Many international companies use English as a common language, but some individuals feel more comfortable writing in a chat room or on a white board rather than speaking, Mr. Lepsinger says.

Some leadership training focuses on communication skills, including projecting and interpreting nonverbal signals. That also is changing with remote work environments.

Video conferences in the workplace can still involve body language, such as facial expressions, but much of our communication is by instant message, email or phone calls, says C. Matt Graham, assistant professor of management-information systems at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine.

Millennials, who are mostly in their 20s, grew up in a digital environment. “They do most of their communication digitally,” he says. “It’s a way of communicating that earlier generations would find out of the norm.”

working on laptop, close up of hands of business manAt the same time, at work, “we no longer, in virtual environments, care about your presence. We just want you to get the job done,” Dr. Graham says. That, combined with millennials’ motivations that in general are different from previous generations, means the very definition of leadership is changing.

“We’ve moved past the idea of a leader being a guy in a suit,” he says. “Millennials share and see power in the collective.”

They also are more comfortable with some of the new technology, such as virtual assistants, that companies increasingly use. In new research, Dr. Graham found that virtual teams that used a virtual assistant programmed with answers to a series of questions developed a better product than the virtual teams without a virtual assistant.

“You can have an actual conversation with a virtual assistant,” Dr. Graham says. “It’s a different set of dynamics. It will have an impact on managers’ roles in teams.”

 

Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, now working as a freelance writer and editor with WSJ. Custom Studios in EMEA. For more from Catherine Bolgar, along with other industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.

Photos courtesy of iStock

 

 

 



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