Members Luncheon with Innovate BC and BC Innovation Commissioner

KAST and MIDAS luncheon

On June 20th MIDAS hosted member luncheon and discovery with Innovation BC and Innovation Commissioner, Alan Winter

For several hours yesterday, MIDAS had the honour of hosting B.C.’s first Innovation Commissioner, Alan Winter, Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO of Innovate BC, and several MIDAS commercial members for a luncheon promoting science, technology, and the range of exciting innovations born here in the Kootenays.

After a rousing welcome introducing the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) and the organization’s, along with that of MIDAS, leadership in supporting technology and innovation throughout the region, MIDAS members shared their positive experiences in the Fab Lab.

Success stories abound out of the MIDAS Fab Lab!

A catalyst for the region’s tech sector, KAST and MIDAS help entrepreneurs start companies, find customers, and attract investment. Some of the extraordinary regional businesses in attendance shared the ways they’ve leveraged new technologies, taking advantage of the Lab’s rapid prototyping and fast-iteration capabilities.

MIDAS Fab Lab Innovate BC

In attendance to share their MIDAS success stories:

Interested in learning what a MIDAS Commercial Membership can do for your business? Contact us and set up a consultaiton.

Commercial Memberships at MIDAS

Leverage new technologies – get ahead of your competition! Commercial memberships at MIDAS are designed to support prototype and product commercialization for your business. 

MIDAS offers state-of-the-art technology tools and equipment you cannot access anywhere else in the region – we’re here to help your business grow and innovate!

With over $430,000 of the best digital fabrication equipment and access to industry-leading expertise developing new ideas and products has never been easier… or more cost-effective.

Our membership services are open to regional companies, including start-ups, with a focus on supporting prototype and product commercialization. A variety of businesses in the Kootenays have taken advantage of MIDAS commercial memberships to explore new innovations, conduct vital research and development to advance their own technologies, and to launch new ideas and products through our rapid prototyping and fast-iteration capabilities.

Innovative regional upstarts Austin Engineering, Environmental Engineers specializing in Hydro Electricity look to digital fabrication and CNC milling to provide for their in-house testing and research and development.

Advanced Biocarbon – ABC3D leveraged their membership at MIDAS to marry environmental sustainability and innovation with their carbon negative bioplastics. They’re creating 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fibre – 3D printing filament derived from lignin, the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood. 

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Design

I/O Design & Engineering look to cutting edge technology – Virtual and Augmented Reality – to provide their clients with reliable, accurate, and realistic modeling for a variety of applications. With the help of their MIDAS commercial membership and the expertise of MIDAS instructor, Jason Taylor, who spent almost 20 hours converting 3D designs to VR/AR to see if what the company had in mind was even possible, drew on various resources and did all the vital legwork to hand the team at I/O the ball so they could run with it!

Significant benefits to Commercial membership at MIDAS

MIDAS makes a commercial membership a win-win for everyone! Members explore and learn new technologies in order to help them get ahead of their competition; they enjoy customized and specific training alongside our expert staff based on their needs and desired outcomes; prototype development at any stage; bring product(s) to market faster and more cost-effectively than ever before.

  • Time to Prototype – coordinate your schedule with MIDAS and utilize the space on the days and times suited to your needs – at every stage of your business growth.
  • Prototype consulting – from customized training to side-by-side prototype development to contracted fabrication services.
  • Space to Expand – starting or expanding your business is expensive. Scale without scaling by using our 6500 sqft facility to expand without increasing your footprint.
  • Learning Centre – Need a space for design work, team meetings or events? Utilize our 1000 sqft Learning Centre setup with fibre broadband internet and Windows 10 workstations. Our computers are fully loaded with modern 2d and 3d design, engineering and CNC software packages for use by your company.
  • High speed “Fibre Broadband” – wireless internet access throughout our facility ensures you are connected globally to your clients and audience.

Interested in learning what a MIDAS Commercial Membership can do for your business? Contact us and set up a consultaiton.


MIDAS Lab clean tech projects highlighted by CEBC conference

At Clean Energy BC June 4 – 5, MIDAS Lab promoted the potential of Clean Tech through the various projects, innovations, and businesses that come through our doors.

This past week saw our enthusiastic MIDAS Lab team participate in the Clean Energy BC (CEBC) Conference in Trail, BC.

For a first conference outside of the lower mainland, the event provided an exceptional opportunity to highlight Trail and the Kootenays’ unique legacy of engineering excellence and how it impacts innovation in the region’s tech and innovation sectors.

The voice of BC’s clean energy industry for over 25 years, the CEBC supports BC’s transition to low-carbon energy through the development of effective climate policy and clean energy electrification. 

The purpose of CEBC is to promote and support the growth and advancement of British Columbia’s clean energy industry and assist in the growth of manufacturing, supply, and service industries in BC, serving clean energy production in the province and around the world.

MIDAS Fab Lab: Leading Edge of Local Innovation

Our participation at the BC Clean Energy Conference offered MIDAS Lab the chance to showcase technologies with enormous Clean Tech potential – 3D scanning 3D printing with carbon fibre. It was also a great way to highlight the possibilities available here at MIDAS Lab as we connected and networked with local organizations and individuals from around the province.

A particular highlight at the event was listening to MIDAS instructor Jason Taylor speak about “Building the Clean Economy: Job opportunities with CleanBC”.

A specialist in digital fabrication, rapid prototyping, and advanced manufacturing, as well as an Instructor and Researcher at Selkirk College, Jason encouraged attendees to consider education and training and how we think about fulfilling the ever-changing demands of the modern economy.

He stressed the need for “new educators” – the way we learn continues to change with the advancement of new technologies such as AI and VR and increasing automation.

To address the influence of expanding technology across sectors, Jason advocates guiding students through the various options and ways of learning, including co-op programs where students work in their chosen industry in order to not only enhance their learning but to provide valuable work experience as well.

Jason advocates strongly for providing Makerspaces – collaborative and hands-on workplaces – in schools. He is a big believer in embracing failure and “breaking things” to encourage in order to understand how things work and move forward.

To bring this point home for attendees and help promote the value and potential that a Makerspace offers, over the course of the event, we provided in-depth tours of the entire MIDAS Lab to nearly 60 curious individuals.

BC Clean Energy Event MIDAS

Building strong relationships with all levels of government, BC Hydro, First Nations, environmental organizations, and the public to improve the sector’s social license is fundamental to the mission of the CEBC. 

Clean Tech at the MIDAS Lab

The MIDAS Lab (and more generally KAST – Kootenay Association for Science and Technology) has been promoting Clean Tech through our support of innovative local companies. Fostering relationships and partnerships allow this Fabrication Lab to provide state-of-the-art equipment, resources, programs, and expertise to businesses big and small to help advance their Clean Energy and Technology objectives.

MIDAS Lab welcomes companies developing ideas and innovations that include Clean Energy and Clean Tech. It’s not unusual for businesses to leverage MIDAS Lab commercial memberships to engage in vital research and development, rapid prototyping, and advanced manufacturing.

Austin Engineering (Environmental Engineers with focus on Hydro Electricity) and Advanced Biocarbon – ABC3D (Bioplastics from wood) are two such companies.

We are looking to expand our partnerships with Eco Societies and businesses innovating projects to grow and enhance Clean Energy and Technology in this region!

At the MIDAS Lab, you can take action to address big problems like climate change. Take a course to learn how to use the most advanced tools to make your idea into a reality today. Work in the clean energy sector. Start your own business like ABC3D. Don’t just sit on the sidelines as the world falls apart Contact us!


Wanted: MIDAS Fab Lab Instructors

Help Wanted - MIDAS Instructors

Share your love of innovation, digital art, and manufacturing – Instruct in the MIDAS Fab Lab!

MIDAS is an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility in Trail, B.C. We promote skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, employees, and students. 

With over $430,000 of state-of-the-art “FAB”rication equipment for public, academic & commercial use, we provide the training and experience to enhance the talents and assets of small and medium-sized companies’ throughout the Kootenays. 

Join the MIDAS Team!

MIDAS provides the support, resources, and environment in which to not only effectively collaborate and adopt new technologies, but rapid-prototype products in preparation to go to market.

To continue to provide exceptional training and service, the MIDAS Fab Lab is in need of qualified, experienced, and enthusiastic instructors to teach a variety of disciplines:

Standard MIDAS Fab Lab Courses

MIDAS is looking for professional instructors with experience and expertise to teach standard Intro to Machinery courses in the Electronics, Metal, and Wood Labs: Laser Printing, 3D Scan and Printing, ShopBot CNC Router, and CNC Milling. 

In need of instructors to teach higher level Lab courses as well.  

Project Based Courses

MIDAS is also looking for instructors to teach Project Based Courses on our machines: electronics, programming, robotics, digital art, etc. A terrific opportunity to leverage the incredible resources of the MIDAS Fab Lab to share your passion for making with other aspiring makers!

Selkirk College Instructional Skills Workshop preferred.

For more information or to apply, please contact MIDAS at info@midaslab.ca.

#madeatMIDAS: Public Annual Member, Marc Desrosiers

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS public membership

A Public Annual Membership offers you all the benefits that MIDAS has to offer – access to the MIT-certified Fab Lab, over $430,000 of the best fabrication equipment and industry-leading expertise that opens emerging technology training to anyone.

It’s important, when you think of the MIDAS Fabrication Lab, that you remember that it’s not just all about engineers, advanced fabrication, and tech startups. While all are more than welcome, of course, MIDAS is also about our valued public members, like Marc Desrosiers, above.

Marc became aware of the MIDAS Fab Lab through a local advertisement. As he was in the middle of problem-solving how he might fix a significantly cracked live edge slab table, his curiosity was piqued that MIDAS might hold the answer.

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS

His first course, the Speedy 400-120 Watt Laser Cutter opened the doors to an abundance of learning and project opportunities, Marc didn’t have easily available before. Knowledge and experience on the laser cutter allowed the aspiring carpenter to cut a variety of joints and inlays, such as bow ties, dog bones, half-moons, and donuts.

The laser cutter simplified Marc’s finishing work significantly. He was able to experiment with different shapes and avoid the onerous task of chiseling as well as making a multitude of mistakes regarding the proper shape and fit.

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS Public Memberships

The process was, not surprisingly, remarkably efficient. It was faster, exact, cost-effective and zero-waste as Marc was able to cut multiple shapes from one piece of material.

 

MadeatMIDAS Public Annual MembershipExcited about his progress and ready to learn more, he signed up for the Shopbot CNC course. In his words, his experience in the training was, “Fantastic! Stellar!”

Marc was impressed with the support, knowledge, and expertise of the MIDAS team. In fact, as he says, with the help of the talented staff, he “hasn’t come across a problem that couldn’t be solved”.

Marc recommends MIDAS for anyone with an idea or project. “For anyone who doesn’t have the tools or space, come in and make use of all the great equipment, tools, space, and support.”

Just a few of the projects Marc has on the go with the help of the MIDAS Fab Lab are: a guitar-shaped table, a variety of cutting boards, a resin-filled end table, and an ambitious farmhouse dining table.

If you’re interested in learning more about the MIDAS Public Annual Membership, you can take advantage of our weekly tours every Thursday from 6:00 – 7:00 PM. Or feel free to Contact Us to find out more information about how MIDAS can help you realize your great idea or innovation.

Read more about the MIDAS Public Annual Membership.

Public Annual Membership Includes:

  • Fab Lab Access – We offer 18 hours per week for public members to utilize the space. Need more hours? MIDAS Commercial Membership might be right for you.
  • Space to Prototype – our facility is flexible to accommodate small and growing ideas. Access tools and space in our 6500 sqft facility.
  • Learning Centre – Learn 2d and 3d design software on our Windows 10 workstations. Our computers are fully loaded with modern design, engineering and CNC software packages.
  • High speed “Fibre Broadband” – wireless internet access throughout our facility ensures you are connected globally to your clients and audience.
  • Advice to grow – have a business idea? Tap into the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology’s business services and find complementing programs for your business. Get business guidance from professionals, including: business coaching/consulting, and assistance in obtaining funding to take your product to market.
  • Prototype Materials – get your project started and keep material costs under control. Buy what you need, when you need it, in the quantity that fits your budget with basic materials on site.
  • Cutting Edge Equipment – MIDAS has invested over $400,000 into the most critical rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing equipment.

A MIDAS Commercial Membership: Energize Your Business through Innovation and Rapid Prototyping

MIDAS Fab Lab Commercial Membership benefits

If you’re business is looking to innovate and create in order to boost the bottom line, look no further than a Commercial Membership here at MIDAS!

MIDAS membership services are open to regional companies, including start-ups, with a focus on supporting prototype and product commercialization. We provide all the modern technology your business needs to develop fast-iteration, short-run prototypes.

While the MIDAS Fab Lab is not intended for high volume production runs, we pride ourselves on offering the modern technology tools you cannot access anywhere else in the region – we’re here to help your business grow and innovate!

With over $430,000 of the best digital fabrication equipment, our industry-leading expertise gives you peace of mind.

Win – Win – Win

  • Embrace new technology – get ahead of your competition
  • Get customized training
  • Prototype development at any stage
  • Bring your product to market faster!

Commercial Membership benefits include:

  • Time to Prototype – coordinate your schedule with MIDAS and utilize the space on the days and times suited to your needs – at every stage of your business growth.
  • Prototype consulting – from customized training to side-by-side prototype development to contracted fabrication services.
  • Space to Expand – starting or expanding your business is expensive. Scale without scaling by using our 6500 sqft facility to expand without increasing your footprint.
  • Learning Centre – Need a space for design work, team meetings or events? Utilize our 1000 sqft Learning Centre setup with fibre broadband internet and Windows 10 workstations. Our computers are fully loaded with modern 2d and 3d design, engineering and CNC software packages for use by your company.
  • High speed “Fibre Broadband” – wireless internet access throughout our facility ensures you are connected globally to your clients and audience.

#madeatMIDAS: Regional examples of cutting edge innovations created here at MIDAS

Our equipment along with our expert team have helped several regional companies innovate and prototype to take their businesses to the next level. Read about these recent journeys in MIDAS innovation.

MIDAS Fab Lab Commercial Membership process and benefits

If you’re interested in more information regarding our Commercial Memberships, please click HERE for all the details, including payment, package, and investment info.

Are you an individual looking to explore the possibilities available at MIDAS? See our course calendar HERE. Check out what our Public Services might be able to do for you!

WEEKLY TOURS THURSDAYS FROM 6-7 PM

SMARTS Program – Call for Proposals | Deadline March 2019

Selkirk College’s SMARTS Program invites small and medium-sized businesses to submit proposals for technology-oriented research and development projects.

Background

The Selkirk-SME Applied Research and Technology Solutions (SMARTS) Program connects businesses with Selkirk College faculty and student expertise in the fields of geospatial technology and digital fabrication.

It aims to help small- and medium-sized enterprises use advanced technologies to develop new or improved products and services.

The Program is supported by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). As a result of this support, financial assistance is available to cover a portion of research costs associated with successful proposals.

Proposal Requirements

Proposed projects should make use of Selkirk College research expertise in a way that helps the applicant develop new or improved products, services, or business processes that are anticipated to drive the growth of the enterprise. Projects should be experimental or innovative in nature.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the SMARTS team in advance of the proposal deadline to confirm their eligibility, discuss their project idea and its fit with Selkirk College researcher expertise, and get help to scope a proposal. See the ‘How to Apply’ section for contact information.

Project examples

SMARTS researchers have broad expertise in the fields of geospatial technologies and digital fabrication. Past SMARTS projects have involved the following R&D services:

Digital Fabrication

  • Rapid Prototyping (producing prototypes, researching and testing prototype designs and materials)
  • 3D Modeling (scanning 3D objects for reproduction, generating 3D models for analysis and production)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Process Optimization (building custom digital fabrication equipment, improving productivity with new workflows and equipment configurations)

Geospatial Technologies

  • Web Mapping (developing innovative mapping platforms for data sharing and communications)
  • 3D Visualizations (generating static and dynamic visualizations of 3D geospatial data, developing augmented reality and virtual reality applications)
  • Remote Sensing and Unmanned Aerial Systems (collecting data via UAV, testing sensors, analyzing remotely sensed data from UAV or satellite, developing workflows and algorithms)
  • Spatial Modeling (modeling landscape impacts of environmental change)
  • App Development and Customization (building customized mobile tools for geospatial data collection and sharing, researching and testing technology options)

If you have a technology-focused project idea that does not fit in the categories or digital fabrication orf geomatics, contact the SMARTS project team to discuss options. Faculty from other fields such as engineering, health and natural resources may also be available to provide research services depending on your project needs.

Eligible Applicants

The program is open to small- or medium-sized enterprises (up to 500 employees) in Canada. Businesses must be growth-oriented.

Application deadline

Submissions are accepted on a continuous basis. The SMARTS programs ends in March 2019.

Available Funding & Eligible Expenses

The SMARTS program provides up to $5000 per project in research funding and proponents are required to contribute at least 25% of project costs. Projects with a larger budget may be proposed with the understanding that costs over the $5000 contribution will be the company’s responsibility.

Apply Now

Read more about the SMARTS Program. Please contact the SMARTS Program facilitator, Lauren Rethoret, for the application form and to discuss your project idea.

#madeatMIDAS: I/O Design & Engineering Virtual & Augmented Reality

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Design

I/O Design & Engineering look to cutting edge technology – Virtual and Augmented Reality – to provide their clients with reliable, accurate, and realistic modeling for a variety of applications.

Far from being a technology of the future, virtual and augmented reality is increasingly being utilized in multiple industries and sectors, ranging from entertainment, communications and education to design, scientific research and engineering.

I/O Design & Engineering in Trail, BC, is a business taking advantage of virtual and augmented reality to more thoroughly provide for the needs of their clients, not to mention set themselves ahead of the pack in their corner of the market.

Modeling in 3D has been a tool for many engineers for decades. The design, construction, and use of buildings and infrastructure is one such area where 3D models have had a significant impact, bringing designs and drawings into tangible imagery and, in many cases, form. However, access to 3D models still requires that the users have the capacity to interact with the model and interpret the images that they see.

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Design. Augmented and Virtual Reality

By leveraging VR technologies, viewing scanned objects, locations, data and more in fully explorable, at-scale settings, a business such as I/O Design & Engineering is able to generate the valuable early feedback about the impact and efficacy of new designs. Something that, previously, was hard to assess from plans and renderings alone.

I/O Design’s introduction to the possibilities of this technology in their business was through their attendance to the 2017 #BCTECH Summit where the theme of that year’s event was Virtual and Augmented Reality. With the help of the $1000 grant Columbia Basin Trust makes available for Basin-based businesses to attend the annual summit, the principals made their way not only to Vancouver but inspiration.

Upon their return to Trail, owner Isaac Saban and I/O Design approached the team at MIDAS and proposed a donation of $10,000 for the Fab Lab to purchase the necessary VR/AR technologies in exchange for a one-year corporate membership.

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Designs

I/O Design & Engineering owner Isaac Saban demonstrating their AR/VR project

With the help of MIDAS instructor, Jason Taylor, who spent almost 20 hours converting 3D designs to VR/AR to see if what the company had in mind was even possible, drew on various resources and did all the vital legwork to hand the team at I/O the ball so they could run with it!

More than just a model – an experience.

To continue on Taylor’s work, I/O Design hired a summer student, Jordan Currie, to use 3D scan data rather than a solid 3D model to produce VR/AR imagery. After a couple of months, the company took the work to yet another level, hiring database programmer, Tim Cristofoli to pick up where Jordan left off.

Moving from the Lower Mainland to Trail to “play with VR”, it took Tim about three months to get up to speed and begin adding animations and colour, bringing I/O Design’s VR/AR project to life.

Given the power of providing the user to experience rather than simply view with VR/AR, short-term, the I/O Design & Engineering team expects to see their new VR/AR abilities to be used for training purposes and to allow crews to more accurately view and assess the inside of various industrial facilities.

As a result, I/O Design & Engineering offers a service that goes well beyond traditional representations such as photographs, 3D renderings, and diagrams, enabling clients to receive an entirely different perspective on a space or object in real-world proportions.

The investment I/O Design made in MIDAS while leveraging the expertise of the Fab Lab team has allowed I/O Designs to quickly evolve their use of VR/AR technology and expand their services as well as their positioning in the market.

Curious about what MIDAS can do help you accomplish? Talk to us!

Come out for a tour: Thursdays, 6-7pm.

Peruse our course calendar for valuable training and certifications.

Enjoy access to the Fab Lab! Become a member.

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake #metaltechalley

Design Thinking: A Creative Strategy for Innovation

Design Thinking for innovation

Looking for a strategy to maximize problem-solving, creativity, and innovation? Incorporate Design Thinking and see what happens!

When design principles are applied to strategy and innovation the success rate for innovation improves significantly.

Design Thinking is a human-centred, possibility driven, approach. It fundamentally draws upon what humans need – what problem needs addressing – before integrating technology and economics.

The Design Thinking methodology is a mindset. While used for problem-solving, it’s not actually problem-focused. It’s solution focused and action-oriented towards creating a preferred idea, project, product, even future. Design Thinking draws upon imagination, intuition, logic, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be – and to create a desired outcome that benefits the end user (typically the customer).

“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”
– Tim Brown CEO, IDEO

The inception of Design Thinking

It was computer scientist and Nobel Prize laureate Herbert A. Simon who first made mention of design as a science or way of thinking in his 1969 book, Sciences of the Artificial.

Through the 1970s, Design Thinking evolved in the design community before entering the mainstream in the 2000s. Seeing the benefits of the methodology and creative strategic process, professionals in sectors we know to be outside the realm of design –education, Information Technology, and business – also began embracing and applying Design Thinking.

The tools and methods of the approach borrow from a variety of disciplines, including ethnography, computer science, psychology, and organizational learning.

Design teams use Design Thinking to tackle ill-defined or unknown problems (referred to as wicked problems) because it reframes these types of problems in human-centric ways, allowing the designer to focus on what’s most important for users/customers. It’s been implemented to tremendous and prosperous effect in organizations such as Apple and Airbnb.

The Framework of Design Thinking

MIDAS design thinking diagram

Empathize

The first stage of the process requires an empathic understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, typically through some form of user research. Empathy is vital as it allows you to set aside your own assumptions about the world in order to gain insight into users and their needs. Entering the realm of the users and, as far as possible, “becoming” them so as to begin work on custom-designing a solution.

Define

Collect and consolidate all the information you have gathered during the Empathize stage. Analyze your observations and synthesize them in order to define the core problems you and your team have identified so far. This is where you ensure that the problem you are addressing is fully exposed and clear, all of its elements and properties identified thoroughly.

Ideate

Now you’re ready to start generating ideas. With the knowledge you have gathered in the first two phases, you can start to “think outside the box” to identify new solutions to the problem statement you’ve created, and you can start to look for alternative ways of viewing the problem.

Prototype

Your design team can now produce a number of inexpensive, scaled-down versions of the product or specific features found within the product so you can investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage.

Test

Rigorously test the completed product using the best solutions identified during the prototyping phase. This is the final stage; however, this can be an iterative process, and you’ll use the results generated during the testing phase to redefine one or more problems.

The steps in this process provide a structure for understanding and pursuing innovation in ways that contribute to organic growth, adding real value to your customers. The cycle leverages observation in order to unearth unmet needs within the context and constraints of a particular situation.

According to Jeanne Liedtka of the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business and former chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation, value is achieved when there is an understanding of need, particularly that previously unknown, “The most secure source of new ideas that have true competitive advantage, and hence, higher margins, is customers’ unarticulated needs.”

Design Thinking brings ideas and designs to life on a circuitous journey of exploration, experimentation, and discovery. To move forward, it often involves taking several steps backward, several times… where evolution, refinement, and growth flourish!

New Years Resolutions… For Innovators!

MIDAS Fab Lab - New Years Resolutions for Innovators

Innovation is top of mind for many businesses. Simple resolutions such as saying yes, taking action no matter how small, and embracing failure could make 2019 your pivotal year!

Taking some time to contemplate the year ahead and the various resolutions you’ll make to help get you started on the right foot for the New Year? Great! But, you might want to disregard the stats: only 8% of us will actually achieve our New Year resolutions.

The most common reasons we fail in our resolve include unrealistic goals, neglecting to track progress and simply abandoning the commitment altogether.

Despite the dismal results, New Year’s resolutions can be an effective catalyst for change in our personal and family lives. Likewise for our professional lives. An impending new year encourages reflection, taking stock of successes and failures of the months past as you consider what you’d like to accomplish for the months and year ahead.

What changes would you like to see that will help your company innovate and grow? This year, whether you’re a business, startup, or entrepreneur, as you think about resolutions, consider leveraging a few different tactics to help inspire fresh innovation and vision in your work.

Say ‘yes’!

Such a powerful word!

The power of ‘yes’. A simple word with the power to influence the trajectory of any endeavour. The key to achieving any goal, innovative or otherwise, is to approach a challenge from a different mindset – with an open-minded sense of ‘yes’!

This simple word can create excitement and energy, inspiring new ideas. Saying ‘yes’ can break up the monotony; it can expand your network and opportunities. You never know, that next opportunity might be life-changing to your business or idea.

In the words of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt: “Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well… Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”

Allow yourself to be persuaded

When it comes to developing a new product or service, growing your business, or advancing your idea you have to be prepared to hold your ground in order to push your ideas and vision forward. Equally important, however, is that you remain open to new ideas and feedback.

Al Pittampalli’s book, Persuadable, argues that successful leaders realize that a genuine willingness to change their own mind is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Developing and leading innovation requires agility and openness – releasing an ego that might get in the way of encouraging and accepting the great ideas of others.

Don’t be afraid to engage with those that disagree with you. In disagreement, rather than defending or rationalizing your approach, look for the merits in the opposing perspective and see if you can find alignment between views, or where your view might actually be tweaked and improved.

Take small, but immediate, action

It’s not unusual for businesses and organizations to be looking to the big move when it comes to ideas and innovation. But, let’s face it, those are few and far between. Most of the important milestones in the forward momentum of any business are going to be small and incremental.

Rather than planning for the major iteration, launch, or announcement it’s the simplest actions done effectively and with immediacy that have the most impact. The organizations that achieve their resolutions are laser-focused on the smaller, more specific, achievements that are integral to progress, not to mention much simpler for the team to analyze and action the results.

Embrace failure – it MUST be an option

Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his idea, to take a calculated risk, and to act. – Maxwell Maltz

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take chances – failure will be your friend!

Failure provides us with the frightening and painful nudge we need to stop hiding behind our self-imposed limitations. As we grow to expect failure along the road to success it becomes something of a badge of honour.

Failure is an inevitable outcome of experimentation and innovation, and it’s where the most opportunties for learning, examination, and exploration is had.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations,” Said J.K. Rowling. “I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected. The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.

Focus

Successful innovators and entrepreneurs start with the end in mind. But… they’re also diligent about avoiding distractions that divert their attention.

Focus on one or only a couple of things at a time. Don’t get caught up in measuring EVERYTHING. Those who are successful incorporate the best systems to track the fewest metrics possible to achieve their goals.

Distraction is truly around every corner, so it’s important to KISS and keep your eye on the ball of the core business.

Innovate because you can, not because you must

Many businesses wait to innovate only when confronted by crisis. Innovation ought not to be treated as a singular, binary event. It has to be approached as on-going, iterative, ever-evolving, and dynamic. This is where measurable progress lives.
Develop a well thought out program that includes regularly scheduled brainstorming activities; continuous inspiration, motivation, action, and drive to ensure continued, if not increased, competitiveness.
So, innovators, enjoy a reset along with the calendar on January 1st and incorporate ways of thinking that will help foster new vision and innovation. Despite the statistics, the New Year offers a great opportunity to reflect on fresh mindsets to take on for not only the coming year but well beyond.

Looking for inspiration this New Year? MIDAS can help!

With almost $500,000 in state-of-the-art fabrication and manufacturing equipment and the expertise and knowledge of our team, the MIDAS Fab Lab offers SO many opportunities to help you innovate – your business, your product, your idea!

Come out for a tour: Thursdays, 6-7pm.

Peruse our course calendar for valuable training and certifications.

Enjoy access to the Fab Lab! Become a member.