Companies that are looking to improve the level of innovation within their development process are typically coming to us because they are:
Creative Mechanisms Solutions
Our Brainstorming Concept Package is the most utilized service we offer. People present us with a mechanical problem, a new product idea, a new product feature or anything else they might need fresh ideas with regarding consumer products. Our team delivers multiple concepts that solve the problem. They present these concepts in rough Solidworks models that demonstrate a potential solution. The concepts are not fully developed or engineered. They are a variety of rough ideas that can then be developed further. The quality can range from 3 to 20 depending on the complexity of the challenge and the budget for the process. These packages start at $5,000.
The process that our team utilizes is one that they have developed over many years. Most companies typically do brainstorming sessions in a several hour or all-day meeting. We do not. Our team will gather to discuss the problem and kick around a few of the most obvious solution. The seating arrangement in our shop is designed for this process. They team sits in a large U-shaped desk arrangement. This allows them to all swing their seats around at any time and talk together for a few minutes. After the initial kick off meeting anyone can call a quick session whenever they have a new idea they want to discuss. These meeting can last from 2 to 15 minutes and they happen frequently over the next several days or weeks once they start. This provides the opportunity to think through the ideas discussed individually and then continue the conversation whenever they have something of value to add. The result of this process is an exceptional range of ideas that takes your product to the next level.
Tony is an exemplary account manager who maintains a laser-like focus on customer service and satisfaction. At the same time, he provides a creative work atmosphere for his associates, where great ideas are grown and rewarded. He was a great mentor to me during a formative time in my career, and I continue to leverage my experience at Creative Mechanism (formerly RJ Studios) in my current positions. I would recommend Creative Mechanisms to anyone who is interested in innovation, value and results.
Companies developing new products on a continuous basis and looking to improve the level of creativity and innovation in those new products are a good fit for Creative Mechanisms. We have a process and a structure designed to take the innovation of your product to the next level.
Our process for innovative thinking revolves around short bursts of collaboration. (Read a blog on that subject here.) Our team meets to discuss an initial problem or product. They exchange ideas and ask questions. Some questions may require research or may customer input. Questions for the customer are posted on the Basecamp project portal where that everyone involved sees them and receives notification of the answers. The team meets questions receive answers, when research finds something relevant, when a team member has an idea. These quickly convened meeting typically last no more than 20 minutes. Our structure enables someone to spin their chair around and ask everyone to join.
Our team sits at desks arranged in a U-shape which enables collaborative innovation. Team members sit facing outwards with their backs toward the center of the U. When someone wants to call a meeting, they simply spin their chair around and ask the others to do the same. It’s quick and straightforward. They waste no time calling a meeting or ending one. This formation enables the team to have quick meetings as needed throughout the day. It saves time and focuses meeting discussions on the important issues. Ready collaboration results in innovation. Having a system and structure designed to promote innovative thinking elevates products development to the next level.
Many companies come to us with a specific project that they need help developing. A good fit with Creative Mechanisms has some type of mechanical feature that needs to be worked out. As indicated by our name, we specialize in mechanisms. If your product involves no mechanisms or other compelling issues such as manufacturability or a pressing deadline, then another firm might be a better fit. If so, we’ll tell you. We want what’s best for you and your project, regardless of material and size. We have extensive experience with smaller injection molded products; but, over the last few years, our project concentration has focused on developing larger steel and wood products.
Creative Mechanisms is an engineering company, not a job or machine shop. Although we do have CNC machinery and other machine shop equipment, our company is staffed by degreed engineers. We solve problems and develop mechanisms that have never been made before, which require that we develop prototypes to prove our solutions to these problems. We use our machine shop and 3D printers to make those prototypes. We have developed unique skills and capabilities using this equipment that others cannot match. For example, we have the capability to machine polypropylene living hinged prototypes. It makes sense to bring to us projects that utilize those capabilities. While we could machine other plastic or metal parts to your prints or specifications, a job shop provides a more economical production service. If you have any questions about whether a project is appropriate for us, let us look at it and discuss whether we’re your best option.
Companies that bring us projects on a regular basis look to us to improve their product development process. We can help with you with that, too. If a company has many projects in development, they seek to increase the innovation and creativity incorporated in those products. They might want to increase the speed with which those products go through the development process, or they might want to improve the engineering for manufacturing before they hand the project over to the manufacturing team. Our work to improve product development processes enhances and elevates product innovation.
Innovation in product development usually refers to new product concepts. People associate it with a radically new product or a completely new approach different than anything done before. Sometimes, though, innovation lives well beneath the surface of the product and the consumer never sees it. For example, taking a product that uses five parts in a mechanism and reducing the parts count to one is innovative engineering for cost reduction.
Innovation permeates everything we do at Creative Mechanisms. We look at every situation or project and ask, “What can we do differently to make this better?” Our aim with every project is to do it faster and more efficiently and to deliver a better functioning, more reliable product at a lower production cost.
Several deliberate factors help us to inject innovation in everything we do:
So, yes, applying innovative thinking to lower product costs can be done, and it’s something we do every day.
We approach most projects in a similar manner. This process is designed for both speed and innovation through collaboration. Everyone touts collaboration as a key to success; however, it’s how we collaborate that accelerates development timelines and yields greater innovation. Following is a standard brainstorming-through-prototyping process:
Creative Mechanisms works with companies in a variety of industries. We are mechanisms experts, and mechanisms live in all kinds of products. Projects encompass medical equipment to consumer goods that use plastic packaging. Much of our work involves injection molding plastic products, but the last few years have seen a significant increase in larger products made mostly of wood and steel. Product size, material composition, and industry use all vary. We rely upon engineering principles, science, and vast experience to make great products.
Many companies in the product development business try to be all things to all people by offering a broad range of services: they generalize. We have chosen to narrow our focus: we specialize. We are mechanism experts. We define a mechanism as anything with a moving part. It can be as simple as a living hinge or as complex as a robot. We also help companies take their product development to the next level in three main areas. We work with companies trying to speed up their product development process either to get product to market faster or get more products developed per year. We help companies increase their innovation by developing more innovative product concepts and mechanisms or by innovative engineering that improves the user experience or lowers cost. Lastly, we help companies improve their product turnover to manufacturing by providing better engineering for manufacturing. Our focus in these areas allows us to specialize in next level product development.