BuildIt series to help turn inventions into products

A Bellingham nonprofit is offering a series of classes and workshops to help inventors get their product ideas into the consumer market.

The BuildIt Lecture Series, run by the Northwest Innovation Resource Center, will include six sessions between Oct. 9 and Nov. 11.

Heather McKendry, program manager for the NWIRC, said the series will cover the key stages of getting a product idea into the marketplace, including patents and intellectual property laws, marketing, design, product testing, funding and sales.

A three-hour design workshop on Oct. 23—which is also offered as a standalone event—will feature Peter Coughlan, a former partner with the global design consultancy, IDEO. Coughlan will teach design principles with an interactive approach, utilizing product examples from attendees.

McKendry said the events are designed to help inventors and entrepreneurs find the insight and resources they need to take the next steps in making their product ideas reality.

Diane Kamionka, the NWIRC’s interim executive director, said learning to manage the consumer-side of product development has been a common challenge for many of the inventors that the nonprofit organization has worked with.

Kamionka said she hopes the BuildIt series would aid the nonprofit’s goal in creating lasting economic impact in Whatcom County by bolstering homegrown business and job creation.

For more information on registration costs, and how to sign up, visit

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