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An engineer just wants the engine to be perfect

Oct 17 2013

When launching a new design proposal to a client, I want it to be perfect. 100% hitting the nail and any issues regarding the solution is covered. So it takes some time and effort to reach that level. And even more time than I can afford, and more resources than planned, and...

This is the typical attitude of an engineer, a specialist fully focused on his job, full passion and willing to break through the rooftop, going for the best solid result. When I was an employee at the design company (more than 7 years ago), my task was to keep the engine running. And while making this engine running, I had no idea where the fuel came from. I just thought that there was some "tap" where the full came from. No bother, as long a the (new) engine is better than the last one, it will be fine...

Wake up call

And then, suddenly one day, my boss told me the design agency is about to close... huh? Yes, there was no fuel left and all other resources are being used, end of story. Now, this was a wake-up call: how come that delivering a perfect product is no guarantee for a successful business? That's where I decided to start my own company - there had to be a better way to run a sustainable business and being a craftsman at the same time! After 10 years working in design companies, I had a clear vision of how a good sustainable company had to look like:

  • building a good relationship with your customer
  • cooperate with a reliable and qualified team
  • deliver a concept witch last for years
  • over-deliver consequently

Wrong path

And the big discovery was in 2009, where I saw that the design engineer of 2008 does not exist in 2015 anymore! In the balance of automation vs handcrafted, there would come a very big shift. More automated processes delivering design-solutions for everyone: quicker, cheaper and good quality: Ouch!And how about the fuel? How to provide the company with fuel until 2015? What does the client need in 2015?

Fuel and resources

I decided to embrace the new possibilities fully and re-use the engineer qualities in a different way.

  • Focusing on the non-automate parts in designing
  • Combining both design-solutional-thinking and habits of successful companies
  • Using all important information available about running great businesses and provide it to the client

The ultimate position to be successful is to be the fuel of your client's company. What makes the client's engine running? Just like at the gas-station, clients are used to the fact that fuel is an expensive asset, but are aware that they need it to keep their engine running. 

In 2015 clients need totally different fuel, a more blended one:

  • developing new products quicker, start introduction smaller (flexible)
  • integrate business and creativity (involve instead of buying a concept)
  • Support in keeping a very strong focus (being solid)

Re-using skills in a different way is a very sustainable way of transforming. I learned it from the Lean-principle. When all links of a production chain are independent parts, they can be changed from direction all at ones which results in a different output immediately!

Sibren Strategy & Design is a quality design agency with a 100% digital team.

Geschreven door: Sibren van der Burgt

Sibren van der Burgt

Na een studie aan de Kunstacademie in Den Haag heeft Sibren van 1996 tot en met 2004 bij de top-ontwerpbureau's van Nederland ervaring opgedaan met corporate klanten zoals NS, ABN-AMRO, Rabobank en Visa. In 1996 had hij de eerste website al in de lucht op sibren.nl.

Met zijn digital design-minded achtergrond helpt hij sinds 2005 bedrijven in de (software) technology, financial markets en maakindustrie om hun diensten on- én offline makkelijker te kunnen vermarkten.

Het team van de ontwerpstudio ontwikkelt samen met de klant een klant-overtuigings-strategie én realiseert de praktische invulling hiervan met marketing en design.

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