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Yona Belfort


Yona is a product designer and founder of Vital Innovation, a design consultancy based in Portland, ME. Prior to Vital, Yona spent eight years at IDEO leading programs across many industries including medical devices, pharma, sporting goods and packaging design. Yona designed and patented The Response Dry Gloves for cold water paddlers. He ran a successful Kickstarter in 2015 that funded glove development and launched the gloves to the market.

Versed in all parts of the product development process, Yona excels at leading teams, concept generation and bringing ideas to life. He recently gave a TEDx talk on how we value our possessions. Yona holds engineering degrees from The University of Rochester and Stanford.

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Miles spadone

Miles is a designer and artist located in Portland, Maine. His work blends the study of materials, the process of prototyping, and the utilization of production techniques to create products and objects of beauty and function. Miles is a Maine College of Art graduate with a BFA in ceramics and a minor in furniture design. Prior to Maine, he studied at Montana State University and Oregon College of Art & Craft. He works alongside Yona as a co-designer with Vital Innovation.


Gerd Schmieta


Gerd is an industrial design Expert. As a former design lead at IDEO, Gerd “lives” the multidisciplinary design process that delivers successful product designs. As a well respected hands-on designer, Gerd’s passion and understanding of human factors and ergonomics give him a unique advantage in developing user-friendly products. Most recently, Gerd’s design solution for Vitality’s GlowCaps, a medication adherence product, received a prestigious IDSA award. Gerd’s work has been widely recognized in exhibitions, awards programs and in the press. Gerd studied industrial design at Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts, Germany and earned his MFA from Cranbrook.





oivind brockmeier


Oivind is a product development and engineering specialist. Oivind holds multiple patents in the Consumer, Medical, and Oilfield industries. Past clients include: Medtronic, Sappi, Boston Beer, and Eli Lilly. Oivind has spent over a decade in engineering, technology and design consulting including eight years at IDEO Boston. Notable work includes designing the first powered instruments for spinal surgery, developing a high performance, low cost irrigation pump for subsistence farmers in Myanmar, and honing business strategy in the paper industry. Oivind received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State and an MS from Virginia Tech.