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The story.

Years ago my dad came home with
something spectacular: a Palm organiser.
Given I was ten years-old at the time,
I was a little excited.
It could do so many different things,
had one of those cool touch screens and
was way smaller than our desktop PC.


It was the coolest thing ever.

I realise now that that might have been
one of the key moments that helped me
realise what I wanted to do when I grew
up. Making Cool Things, things just like
that PDA.

I translated that idea to a Bachelor’s
degree in Industrial Design Engineering at
the Delft University of Technology. There I
learned about everything there is to mass
market products: the mechanics,
ergonomics, material science, aesthetics
etc.. But while I was learning all that, I
started to realise something else…

By that time, the thing I used for the same
kind of jobs was one of Google’s
web-solutions. And although that was a
step up from the Palm in terms of
technology, as far as I recall, switching to
it wasn’t quite the spectacle. My realisation
was that maybe it wasn’t just the object
that I fell for. Even if I were to make the
ultimate, most perfect product it would not
mean it’s the coolest and most successful.
The best Japanese Quartz would still lack
that something an original Patek Philippe
has, the perfect Chinese LED-TV can still
somehow lose out to a Bang & Olufsen.


A product is a part of a bigger story.

That made Making Cool Things become
way more complicated. I needed to learn
about creating that bigger story, about
shaping the whole of what the human
gets to experience. For that reason, I
started reading up on UX/UI design
and started building websites, meanwhile I
looked for graduate degrees and found the
Strategic Design and Management MS
program at Parsons in New York. A degree
with a contemporary perspective on
business and (product) innovation, that
emphasized talking to customers over cold
numbers and excel predictions.

The sum of all this is what I stand for.

A multi-facetted human-centred way of approaching the world’s challenges.

To ultimately Make the Coolest Things.

#1.

“Drawing things out really helps, not just to communicate,
but to capture all of what you’re thinking about.”

Patient to Super Hero.

Taking type-1 diabetes from burden to blessing.












The Process.

Analyzing
Briefed by Inreda, I started off by reading up
on the disease and how it affects people.
What struck me the most was that,
for kids, diabetes often resulted in being
bullied and even depression.

Empathizing
Often I also stepped away from my desk, to
to talk to kids, their parents and their
classmates to see for myself what they
went through and how they dealt with it.

Creating
After (but also during) I was drawing out solutions,
the main goal being to shift the perspective on their situation. 

Testing
I made many prototypes, sketches etc. and went back
outside, to find out what was the best fit.

The Result.

The end result of the project was a device that would provide
an experience that was seamless but could also be interacted with
Through sensors, computing hardware and multi-day reservoirs for glucagon and insulin
the child’s blood sugar level would be automatically regulated, allowing
them to act, play and live in the same way as any of their peers.
But I set out to do more than just making the kids fit in:
I wanted kids with diabetes to stand out, be different, by being the coolest kids.
This culminated in the cyborg-esque design of the product and with it
(through glowing elements and haptic motors) a number of play opportunities.




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#2.

“Prototypes, even the ugliest ones,
serve as a great reality-check for whatever you’re making.”

Repareer.

Fixing what’s broken. Together.




biggertranspa

The Process.

Analyzing & empathizing
My first car, a yellow ’78 Vauxhall,
broke down all the time. In most cases,
luckily, I could count on friends for help.
Looking into this together with a close friend,
Nyckle, resulted in the notion that there’s
really no way to find handy and helpful people
like those friends, if you don’t already know them.

Creating
We set to bring some change to that and started
working on a website, a platform to connect the people
with broken products, to people that could help around them.

Testing
We launched a first version that was build in between both our dorm rooms
that got attention from radio stations, magazines and newspapers.
From that and the people that reached out to us because of that we learned so much,
we took that to heart and worked further, improving everything from design to mechanics.

The Result.

The platform now presents users with
a very complete experience: it has
profile pages with reviews
to make trusting each other easier,
city-specific pages and detailed search
to support finding exactly what you need
and instruction articles and videos to help,
even if there’s no neighbour available.

See it in action here: www.Repareer.com

#3.

“The best ideas can come whenever, wherever,
best to bring a pen at all times.”

Personal Gems.

Smarter shoes to help celebrate durability.




biggertranspa

The Process.

Analyzing
This concept originates from a group project
I worked on with Indiana and Gayatri.
We were invited by NIKE to look into solutions
for sustainability and ethics problems in fashion.
As a group we initially worked hard on
understanding the entire system, through
a lot of desk research and expert interviews.

Empathizing
We complemented this by also taking time for interpretation
We made up personas, drew out storyboards and
created Business Origami maps, to name a few.

Creating & Testing
Realizing that systemic change needed to happen
as there was no one stakeholder solely responsible,
we each took a separate angle of the problem to create for.
I took on the consumer side and developed several concepts,
particularly using labeling and mnemonic devices, that we then tested at Parsons.

The Result.

On average, US consumers buy 7 pairs
of shoes, every single year. A massive
number: imagine the production and
transport that is needed to keep up
with that. The Personal Gem concept
sets to encourage people to buy less
by gamifying how much you wear
shoes: through embedded pressure
sensors, users build up ‘durability levels’
and unlock colors for the small color-
changing icon on the heel. The more
you wear it the better the colors get.










#4.

“You can get so much just from observing people,
all kinds of tiny details, that can turn into major opportunities.”

Narwhalnation.

A new identity,
getting sports
to speak to everyone.










The Process.

Analyzing
At the New School I played intramural soccer
and at one point I was asked by the Athletics &
Recreation director to take a look at their website.
I started by working my way through all the pages
and archives, to learn about what it stood for.

Empathizing
I discussed it with various people at school, people
that were involved and ones that never used it. I
observed several A&R events and felt there was a
sizable disconnect between the web character
and the real-life character of the department.

Creating
I took up my pencil to merge the factual nature of the website
with the personal, communal experience, of what I had seen outside.

Testing
After a number of drawings and discussions with the director I then built
a beta environment that I continued to tweak to comments from stakeholders.

The Result.

The final result was a design that has
something for every user and presents
people with a much completer view of
what all Athletics & Recreation entails.
It is no longer the factual data about the
department’s activities that sets the tone,
but because of the colors, fonts and the
the use of many pictures, it now revolves
around the stories of the activities and
the people / community that partook in them.

See it in action here: www.Narwhalnation.com

#5.

“Design and business go hand in hand,
the coolest things only happen when
the spreadsheet matches the visual.”

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