I try to live every day of my life by one rule: do things today that make tomorrow better.
Generous Minds Clients
Seepje / Packaging development of the various Seepje bottles
Seepje / Innovation into new categories
Seepje / Automation of packaging process
Vogel’s / Structural Packaging of TV and display mounts
Hero / Innovation of healthy baby food
Dunlop / Development of a sustainability strategy
African Clean Energies / Product Development
CIRCO / Facilitation of CIRCO Tracks (series of 3 workshops on circularity)
De Mar / Vision and product development of Circular Home system ‘Hûs’
Grolsch / LCA comparing various packaging scenario’s
Smurfit Kappa / LCA on-line shopping logistics
Packadore / Setting up a collective for circular packaging in the supply chain
Designer of a preferable future / PoGb
I develop products that make a difference for people, planet and profit. I help companies and organizations with their innovation funnel. Creating a roadmap towards the positive impact they can make with their products and services. With consecutive innovations on the road-map I give support and guidance in the actual design, development and implementation processes. I work with their design team on ideation and initial design of their new product. If they don’t have a design team, me and other designers in our Makers Team can develop products from start to finish. Yes, I love designing in the sense of a verb. The act of creating something new and something with beauty is what gives me a lot energy. Especially when you get to do it as a team. Understanding the users of products, coming up with smart solutions, making great drawings and many prototypes are all part of that. I have more than 30 years of experience in product development. Fresh from the TU Delft / Industrial Design I started working as a designer at General Electric in Pittsfield MA, USA. I worked on innovations for the housing industry in the US. It gave me my first experience as a designer but also great insight in how US society and the corporate world works.
With the ambition to set up a design agency I returned to The Netherlands and started FLEX/design together with Jeroen Verbrugge. Under our leadership FLEX developed into one of the leading product development agencies in Europe with 30+ design professionals. We developed break-through as well as incremental innovations for leading brands world-wide. LEGO, Sara Lee, Unilever, Tefal, Post NL, Tennant, Albert Heijn or Hero are just some of the regular clients for whom we developed products and structural packaging. As one the first design agencies we integrated insight research and into our product development processes. Our own research methods helped clients to define their innovation funnel successfully. I am proud of all the design awards we have won over the years (Dutch Design Award, Red Dot, iF best of 10, ID, GIO best of category, Pentaward, Dieline, NL Packaging award) and that some of our products are in mudeums around the world (MoMa NY, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). But most of all I’m proud of the fact that many of our products have enriched the lives of people: nudged them towards a healthy lifestyle, made society more circular, helped them at older age, reduced work-loads and gave joy to life.
The best experience you can get as a designer is to put a product on the market yourself. Only then you will truly see how tough some problems can be, how practical issues can influence decisions and how constraints in time and budget influence your process. That is why I committed myself to LOCOletter. Together with Remon de Zeeuw we brought the idea for an innovative chocolate letter to life. LOCOletter is sold and marketed successfully during the Dutch holiday season in retail and B2B for 3 years now.
There is great value in giving young designers the benefits of my specific experiences. At FLEX/design I saw it as my task to guide young designers in their first experiences in projects and inspire them to great design. I have tried to do the same thing as a teacher at the Design Academy and in guest teaching positions at various Design Schools.
Over the years I have been board member of different foundations and organizations as a connector with the creative industry.
I have been a member of Generous Minds since 2013. In 2018 I made the difficult choice to sell my shares in FLEX/deign to Jeroen who had been my partner since 1988 and fully commit myself to Generous Minds. This gives me the freedom to spend all my energy on those projects and those clients that I believe make the biggest positive impact. Because many of the ‘Minds’ have a different background I can learn new things and add a new type of value to the projects that I work on as a designer.
In 1993 I developed a product for the ‘Sociale Werkvoorziening Rotterdam’. This is an organization that employs people with a physical and/or mental challenge which makes it difficult for them to find a regular job. At FLEX we created a small product that solves the problem of excess electrical cables (from lamps, appliances, lap top computers, head sets). The CableTurtle, as this consumer product is named, has been selling over half a million yearly since 1993. It has created a solid flow of revenue and steady jobs. As a design icon it has received many design awards and is part of the permanent colletion of MoMa in NY. It is one of the best examples of how design adds value both in a social as well as a commercial sense.
Seepje is another example of the power of design. Generous Minds packaging design has helped this great brand to penetrate the market and become recognized for what they stand for in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK. With its commercial success Seepje contributes to less plastic pollution, low carbon footprint and opportunities for women in Nepal. To learn more about this case take look at my post on Seepje.
Design and ‘design thinking’ is a very powerful tool to solve wicked problems. For Post NL, Jacco de Haan and myself have developed (together with the engineers of FLEX/design) a solution to make automatic mail handling at the sorting centers possible. This complex problem was solved through a process of creative problem solving, co-creation with Post NL operators, many prototypes and tests and of course thorough engineering. A solid solution has been implemented in 2017 and is part of the day-to-day mail sorting process at Post NL ever since. No letter in The Netherlands is delivered without going through our solution.
I am proud of all the design awards we have won over the years (Dutch Design Award, Red Dot, iF best of 10, ID, GIO best of category, Pentaward, Dieline, NL Packaging award) and that some of our products are in museums around the world (MoMa NY, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). But most of all I’m proud of the fact that many of our products have enriched the lives of people on a large scale: nudged them towards a healthy lifestyle, made society more circular, helped them at older age, reduced work-loads and gave joy to life.
I am dedicated to Joan and my two sons. It is hard to find the proper words to express how much joy I get from their being part of my life. I love the ordinary things we do together, the trips we make, the meals we cook and the stories we tell.