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Let us be your design compass to ensure that your corporate design strategy and design management challenges are heading in the right direction. Truly good design is good business, but strategic design management leads the way towards good design.
Initially based in the North Houston area of Texas, the Umbach Consulting Group, LLC (UCG) has been providing large corporate and small-business entrepreneurial clients with integrated industrial design services, design communications, and design management consulting since 2001. During that time, UCG developed concepts and design solutions for medical devices, wearable technologies, and consumer products, as well as corporate design management strategies, product development processes (NPD/PDP), and design marketing and communications programs (MarCom).
UCG is led by Steven R. Umbach, FIDSA who holds a Master of Science in Management degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an Industrial Design BFA degree from The Rhode Island School of Design. For eight years, Steven served as a part-time lecturer/faculty with the University of Houston system, where he developed the curriculum and taught Design Management, Human Factors, and User-Centered Design classes. Throughout his career, he has served in various IDSA chapter leadership positions, was the 2014 International Design Conference Chair, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). In 2018, Steven was elected to the IDSA Academy of Fellows for his years of service and dedication to industrial design professional and educational excellence.
In 2019, Umbach-CG relocated its office to the South Texas island of Galveston and now focuses exclusively on serving executive-level, corporate clients in the areas of Design Management, PDP Development, and Design Communications.
- IDSA Fellows: Steven Umbach, FIDSA | Industrial Designers Society of America - IDSA
- UCG developed infomercial and educational video (2018) - please disregard ending phone number
- Bose Corp.
- Cardionics / Mayo Clinic
- Consumer Solutions, Inc.
- Cooper Consulting Service
- Dell Inc.
- Dell Technologies
- Digital Air Control
- Forte Product Solutions
- HP Inc. (GXD)
- HP Inc. (3-D Printing)
- Innovation Focus
- IP Datatel
- Jostra Medical
- Mays & Associates
- MicoMed Technology / DeBakey
- NeoTech Products
- Noninasix, Inc.
- NovoSci Corp.
- Plashlights, LLC
- Socrates Health Solutions
- UT Medical Branch / Galveston
- Virtuix Omni
- Zewski Corp.
Services & Capabilities
- Strategic Design Management Consulting
- Industrial Design & Product Development Process (PDP) and Decision-Making (DM) Process Consulting
- Design Marketing & Communications (MarCom) Consulting
- All-Spark Design Award (Platinum)
Steven Umbach, FIDSA:
- IDSA Academy of Fellows designation (FIDSA)
- Numerous Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)
- Numerous design and utility patents
- Star Award for Product Marketing (Compaq)
- IDSA Chapter Service Award (Boston)
- 10 Best Designs of the Decade Award
- Young Alumni Achievement Award / Rhode Island School of Design
Professional Design Management Leadership
In 2014, Steven Umbach served as the conference chair for the International Design Conference, held in Austin, TX and produced by the Industrial Designers Society of America. In his role, spanning almost two years, not only did he preside over the conference as emcee, but was instrumental in designing the entire integrated participant experience.
Professional design management leadership is not only desirable and critical within a company, as the same skill set can be applied to large-scale industry events such as conferences in order to create an integrated experience for participants and a successful event for the organizers and sponsors. Good design is good business at any scale. Umbach Consulting Group (UCG) has helped to plan and organize numerous conference events and brainstorm sessions, as well as international student design competitions. How can we help your business by design?
Wearable Medical Technology Concept and Development
Umbach Consulting Group was retained by Cardionics over two years to develop design concepts, mechanical designs, fabric patterns, and prototypes for two new-to-the-world wearable, healthcare technology products: the simulation shirt (SimShirt) and the simulation suit (SimSuit).
The Cardionics SimShirt and SimSuit are different garments worn by a Standardized Patient Actor (SP) for simulating physiological conditions used to teach healthcare and medical students diagnostic procedural skills relating to auscultation. The SimShirt contains one layer of technology, embedded RFID tags, while the SimSuit adds ECG posts and a pulse-point tube system—all made functional through a WiFi network (see video for explanation).
UCG provided high-level design management direction, innovation process know-how, and traditional industrial design and prototyping services resulting in true innovation. The SimShirt placed as the Platinum (“All-Spark”) award winner in the wearable technology category for the Spark International Design Awards.
International Green PC Design Competition Creation
Umbach Consulting Group was retained by the Dell Experience Design Group to design, develop, and manage an international product design competition, seeking the best ideas from design students, computer enthusiasts, and others demonstrating fresh approaches and responsible solutions for green computing technology. The competition was called “ReGeneration: International Green Computing Technology Design Competition” and coincided with numerous corporate initiatives led by founder Michael Dell as he looked to reinvigorate Dell Inc. with a new strategic direction that impacted product design and material use, manufacturing and logistics operations, and asset recovery and recycling.
Umbach Consulting Group, as the program’s behind-the-scenes leader, worked with Dell staff at all levels to conceive, develop, and execute the competition. This included the development of the competition’s full structure, legal requirements, website design and communications, international jury invitation and selection, the adjudication process, awards dissemination, and professional partner relationships.
Strategic Corporate Design Management Programs
Some of the more significant and strategic corporate-level design management programs that Umbach Consulting Group has provided for Dell include:
(1) Design language management process refinements and communications.
(2) Served as design studio photo lab art director during start up.
(3) Conducted a corporate-wide Logo badge/brand audit resulting in logo design consolidation and significant manufacturing-supplier cost savings.
(4) Complete program turn-key development and ongoing management of international product design award competition participation and linkage with Dell MarCom efforts.
(5) Multi-city, in-store competitive reconnaissance and analysis when Dell returned to in-store sales.
(6) Customer advisory council materials generation, including brand positioning and brand attributes mapping.
(7) Guidance in the development of a Color, Materials, and Finishes (CMF) Group to better align the designs being created with the products being produced, as well as the development of leadership in new CMF manufacturing initiatives.
Strategic design management has a dramatic impact as a key driver and differentiator for organizational success.
Strategic Corporate MarCom Support
Umbach Consulting Group was retained by HP Inc. to guide and support their ongoing efforts in global design award competition participation. Recognizing that such endeavors require experienced insight regarding the development of purposely generated and compelling submission materials that are targeted for a specific adjudication audience, HP turned to Umbach Consulting Group.
An important aspect of any corporate design management and MarCom strategy—participation in global design award competitions—provides numerous benefits for the entrant, including global expert peer review of designs, worldwide media exposure as winners, and recognition credentials important to customers, sales teams, and recruitment efforts, as well as skillset sharpening through global design exposure and motivation for design staff.
We work with many other large Fortune 500 corporations in this pursuit. Let us know how we can help your company, big or small. Let’s win together!