Editor's Note: Don't forget to check out our March Distribution Special in the print edition.

Alisha Mowbray senior vp, innovation marketing, element14 By Alisha Mowbray, Senior VP, innovation marketing, element14 (

Electronic design engineers are facing greater pressure than ever before to rapidly create new solutions, and manufacturers are continually developing new technologies to help them to do so. Faced with an wide array of increasingly more complicated technologies, diminishing design budgets, and enigmatic legal & regulatory requirements, designers must rely on multiple sources—manufacturers, distributors, peers and the web—to stay informed about new products, design tools and product acceptance.

Each one of these sources is important in its own right. Informal peer reviews and water cooler talk can provide excellent support. In fact, the value of collaborating and communicating with trusted colleagues and experts remains one of the most meaningful methods of stimulating design insight, innovation and problem solving. There is also much to be gained from distributors, manufacturers, engineering web communities, videos and blogs, but an enormous amount of time is required to search, sift, vet and compile data from various sources.
There’s simply too much information in too many places.

With today’s compressed schedules, this process can be frustrating and impractical for most designers. As a result, product selections can be based on expediency, rather than formed by evaluations of multiple options.

What if this collective intelligence could be harnessed?

That’s just what element14 does. This independent, collaborative global workspace, created by Premier Farnell, integrates the best of web communities, technical content, peer engagement and electronics distribution into one powerful environment. It connects multiple manufacturers to engineers and engineers to each other, utilizing web 2.0 technology and a translation tool that makes it possible to discuss solutions and new technologies in their own language.

Tens of thousands of engineers are already using element14’s collective intelligence to inspire, refine and accelerate their designs for new products. I invite you to bring your intelligence to the mix at and tell me what you think. Please leave your comments below or email me at