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56 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2020 vide experiences and opportunities to better a board design professional's career, or establish competition to engage and compel board de- sign professionals? By examining IPC Design through this threefold filter, we have also iden- tified primary initiatives that will act as "flag- ships" for IPC Design. Earlier this month, we began work on one of these primary initiatives that was suggested by the Design Community Leadership and was fully embraced by IPC—an international print- ed board design competition. Before we start building any stackups, we should stop to examine the high-level reason- ing behind why competitions are so darn good at enabling professional growth. By focusing on the needs of the printed board design engineering industry, we can build a competition that is a venue for design engi- neers to showcase their skills and learn from others. Skill transfer is a diffusive process by which information flows from areas of high concentration to low concentration. Even the most evenly matched competitive landscape will have this information gradient; the loser of a competition can always learn something from the winner by reviewing the winner's work. Professional networking is a key goal of IPC Design and is imperative for the growth of the industry, as new contacts can mean new ca- reer opportunities, or simply the exchange of new ideas between design engineers; after all, we get by with a little help from our friends. To that end, I would like to highlight the word "international" in the title "international print- ed board design competition." IPC is an inter- national organization, and IPC Design is an in- ternational program. The best ideas for a given design challenge may not live in one country or continent, and we would like to facilitate the exchange of those ideas. Another benefit of design competitions is the possibilities for interfacing with student com- petitors to help inspire the next generation of printed board design engineers. The Design Community Leadership has made it a key goal of IPC Design to engage with academia, and establishing a student division of the competi- tion will allow for seasoned industry veterans to provide insight and guidance to students as they learn about, and try their hands at, the de- sign of printed boards. (More on that below.) This will not be the first time that IPC has conducted printed board design competitions, and we are leveraging the past experience of IPC India and IPC China, who have successful- ly hosted these competitions since 2012. Additionally, IPC and the Design Communi- ty Leadership have agreed on high-level goals for the competition. We believe that achieving these goals will enable the competition to ben- efit a large demographic of designers in terms of both geography and experience with board design engineering. The student division will be open to teams of college-level STEM students who can enter as representatives of their institution or as repre- sentatives of a collegiate electronics engineer- ing-focused student group, such as the IPC Ed- ucation Foundation. The professional division will consist of printed board design engineer- ing professionals who self-report as such. Second, to accommodate international com- petitors and the restrictive travel budgets antic- ipated for much of 2020 and 2021, we're plan- ning for virtual challenges and remote judg- ing. We envision that the student division competition will operate in the same manner except that the design requirements will be much simpler, and the students will be edu- cated on printed board design topics before- hand and then connected with industry vol- By focusing on the needs of the printed board design engineering industry, we can build a competition that is a venue for design engineers to showcase their skills and learn from others.

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