Engineering Innovative Products
I’ve been guest lecturer at Queen’s University for a number of years now. It’s always a pleasure to work with the students there, but I must admit to harbouring a soft spot for the engineering undergrads. What I do for a living probably isn’t that familiar to these mathematical and logical minds, but they are always engaged, interested and eager to learn. In six years, only a handful have refused to have a go at writing a haiku. Many were reluctant but almost all of them felt a real sense of achievement after they’d read their poem aloud. (Haiku is a marvelous exercise in the art of precis).
Part of their degree course involves developing a new product or concept. They have to research the market, produce a business plan and create an identity and messaging strategy. My role is to take them through the branding process from early conception to final presentation and it’s nothing short of astonishing to watch them grow from tentative uncertainty to confident conviction.
In 2014, the course director, Prof Roger Woods, was commissioned to produce a book for senior undergraduate and graduate engineering students exploring innovation and commercialisation – one that would guide them through the essential skills of entrepreneurship needed to establish a successful technology company.
I was delighted to contribute a chapter devoted to naming, branding and messaging.