On Industrial Design

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Most of my professional life was spent as an “Industrial Designer”.  I always liked that moniker as it leaves a lot of wiggle room for what my duties actually are: developer, inventor, designer, businessman … etc.

Today I still keep my hand in the industrial design business but it is changing – and not for the better. Many of the predictions that I made in the presentation mentioned below have come to pass. Very little product innovation, other than financial, takes place in North America these days.

As many of my colleagues know, I have changed my normal schedule from being a full time consultant. I have freed up time to permit me the luxury of pursuing certain pet projects.  I spend a lot of time fabricating handmade fine jewellery and silversmithing objects in precious metal, usually of my own design.

I am still an industrial designer and accept briefs and consultations but only if the projects interest me and meet certain criteria.

These are treacherous times in business, anyone who claims otherwise is naive or lying, often both.  I have found that there are far too many hucksters out there trying to use the well deserved reputations of respected designers and other professionals to bamboozle investors and customers – so I only participate in ventures that meet my criteria – good people, good ideas and the finances and connections to carry the ideas through to fruition. These criteria may sound simple but there are very few opportunities that meet them.

So if you wish to contact me about an idea or a project, please do so.  I have spent a great deal of my professional life interpreting business plans from a practicable and implement-able perspective.  My free, and my best, advice to investors and entrepreneurs is that they should take their time and delve into the assumptions and details of their business plan or they will surely be in for a surprise.

I am often asked for a copy of my 2002 presentation to the Carleton University School of Design, it can be found here.

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