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What’s Right with this Picture: Refrigerators, Educators, and Partnering?
What’s Right with this Picture: Refrigerators, Educators, and Partnering?

What’s Right with this Picture: Refrigerators, Educators, and Partnering?

Today’s article builds on a prior article, Is Your Product a ‘Refrigerator’?

In separate thread, Jon Madian, did indeed highlight a significant area for partnering—one that’s often overlooked.

“Early and continuous partnering with educators and students is the best way to continually improve products based on the realities of users…”
Jon Madian

Jon raises an interesting point: partnering with educators.  This is something Autodesk (design software company) did with varying success in years past.  One of the generally accepted reasons AutoCAD (their flagship product) did so well, was that it was broadly available in colleges (and in some cases high schools).

Through (sometimes intentionally, sometimes ‘inadvertently’) partnering with education, their products had the opportunity to make that all-important first impression on students.  Later, they entered the work place and began influencing purchase decisions.  Guess what? They’d ask the boss to buy the product they’d already learned to use (and often, fell in love with).

This also addresses another need important to software vendors.  The paradigms behind which each generation has learned to interact with the computer continues to evolve.  10 years ago, we thought it cute when software developers tried embedding Instant Messaging (IM) tools in their software.  Now, IM is just another transparent communication medium.

Engineering students today are also very avid video game players.  As they move into the work force, not only will their expectations of what/how user interfaces be dramatically different, so will their views of collaboration (think of massive multi-player games online).  Why not do engineering using video game-like UIs, accomplishing work via high-collaboration environments akin to MMP games?

So, extending Jon’s example, which is a great one, not only is partnering essential for Today’s offerings, it may also be essential to one’s very own existence into the future.

(photo credit: Marcelo Moura)


  1. Jim Miles

    JT et al,

    There is a major push in R&D and product development circles to do just this. Most major manufacturers (i.e. automotive, appliance, and industrial machinery) are driving a simulation based design methodology which promotes multi-physics modeling that provides dynamic simulations of complex products before being prototyped. This design optimization saves money and time and provides a visual representation of what takes place in the environment where the product or component performs. A classic example of where this technique is being advanced is right here in Ann Arbor, Michigan at a company called Mechanical Simulation, Inc.. They have actually employed software developers from the gaming industry to speed up their simulations, allowing the companies using their product to model products a better view of how the system or subsystem performs under various physical conditions.

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