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Investing in Good Design

Editor's Page

Investing in Good Design

Last year MPMN's publisher, Canon Communications, teamed up with the Industrial Designers Society of America (ISDA) to establish the Medical Design Excellence Awards to honor the innovators, risk takers, and creative thinkers who characterize the medical device industry. Following the program's inaugural success, Canon is again sponsoring the design and engineering competition.

Next month an eight-member panel with expertise in product design and development, medicine, ergonomics and human factors, biomedical engineering, and industrial design will convene to evaluate the entries for the second annual awards program.

The jurors have a challenging task ahead of them. With such an impressive showing of entries anticipated, the jury is likely to engage in significant debate in choosing the top products. "I expect spirited discussion on such issues as design, innovation, engineering, and quality as we come to some accord in our selection process," says juror and former award winner Matt Duncan, president of Morphix Design (San Clemente, CA). For Duncan, winning a 1998 Medical Design Excellence Award proved to be a gratifying experience. "As one of the recipients of last year's Medical Design Excellence Awards, I've enjoyed the exposure that Medical Product Manufacturing News and other magazines have given the product and my client—not to mention my own practice."

As for this year's competition, juror Robert Hall, principal of GVO Design (Palo Alto, CA), had this to say about the judging: "One aspect I will be looking at is how well the product addresses the economics of modern healthcare. I think designers need to realize that usability includes affordability and affordability includes cost and reimbursement issues." For juror Christoph Böeninger, vice president of Siemens Design & Messe GmbH (Munich), the practicality of the devices will be of primary importance. "The product should meet the intended user's physical requirements and be easy to operate, and should contain features that prevent fatigue," he says. "A product's originality and design and harmony with its surroundings are also important."

As a user-interface designer, juror Michael Wiklund, director of the Usability Engineering Group at the American Institutes of Research (Concord, MA), will be looking at ergonomics and usability. "A high-quality design will not seem overly complex on first impression and will provide rapid and intuitive access to frequently used and critical functions. I think companies should be rewarded for investing in good design. And clearly, winning a Medical Design Excellence Award can help a company market its product, thereby providing another reinforcement to investing in good design."

Perhaps you've been instrumental in the design, engineering, development, or manufacture of a medical or healthcare product that has reached the marketplace. If so, I encourage you to enter the competition, which has a fast-approaching deadline of February 8. To learn more about the awards program, or to view the 1998 winning products, stop by Booth #2345 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Exposition January 26–28 in Anaheim, CA. You can also pick up an entry form for this year's competition at the booth.

Entry forms are available in PDF or by calling the fax-on-demand number at 800/588-8527 or by calling Sally Lane of Canon Communications at 310/392-5509 or Kathy Leftwich of IDSA at 703/759-0100.

Amy Allen
[email protected]

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