WhiteBoard Product Solutions

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WhiteBoard Product Solutions is a product development consultancy (previously known as Leisure Design) based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that helps clients develop and launch new products. WhiteBoard develops products in multiple categories including medical devices, commercial products, electronics, sports equipment, household goods, soft goods, and toys.[1] Product development services offered by WhiteBoard include industrial design, engineering, prototyping, packaging, and graphic design.[2]


WhiteBoard was founded by Rick Polk in 1986 as Leisure Design.[3] The original name was derived from the assets that Polk purchased from the toy company Leisure Dynamics, where Polk was Vice President of R&D, when it was sold to Coleco Industries, the maker of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls.[4] In 1991, Leisure was commissioned by George Plimpton to design a gag gift for President George H. W. Bush. President Bush was so pleased with the gift that he called owner Rick Polk to personally thank him and also to commission Leisure to create a gag gift for First Lady Barbara Bush.[5] In 2007, the business was renamed WhiteBoard Product Solutions to reflect that clients were increasingly bringing it into the front end of projects so that it could bring a holistic approach to designing solutions. The company often plays a silent partner, helping clients develop and refine new products so that they are commercially viable.[6]

WhiteBoard won its first design award in 1991 for the FM 320 Ski Exerciser, the first time a fitness product won the best consumer product award.[7] In 1993 and 1997 WhiteBoard was awarded International Design Excellence Awards juried by the Industrial Designers Society of America and previously co-sponsored by Business Week Magazine.[8][9]


WhiteBoard has helped many large and small companies develop and launch new products including Toro, Mattel, Fisher Price, Aveda, Nike, Ecolab, Medtronic, Arctic Cat, Wagner, Hasbro and Spalding.[10]


  1. ^ Wascoe Jr., Dan. "Elves have fun, but take toys seriously", Star Tribune, December 23, 1990.
  2. ^ Steiner, Andy. "Out of the toybox", Twin Cities Business Monthly, July 2005.
  3. ^ Briggs, Scott. "Making a business out of Leisure", Twin Cities Business Monthly, April 1997.
  4. ^ "Coleco will Purchase Leisure Dynamics Inc. ", Schenectady Gazette, December 19, 1985.
  5. ^ Youngblood, Dick. "Product design proves to be a rewarding game", Star Tribune, May 7, 1995.
  6. ^ DePass, Dee. Whiteboard Product Solutions Inc. is a product genie, “Star Tribune”, April 13, 2013.
  7. ^ "Best of Category, Consumer Products", I.D. Magazine, July/August 1991.
  8. ^ "1993 Idea Winners", Business Week, June 7, 1993.
  9. ^ "1997 Idea Winners", Business Week, June 2, 1997.
  10. ^ Kantra Kirschner, Suzanne. "What's New", Popular Science, May 2001.

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