Hello, I’m Dougal the new Design Engineer. In the first three and a bit years of my young career, I’ve stepped out of the conventional path taken by most design engineers. Since finishing my Product Design Engineering course at Glasgow University and the School of Art I have worked as an employee; as a freelance designer and have also been involved in two start-up companies.
At the end of my degree it was time to ask myself, “What next?” I won the Scottish Institute for Enterprise’s New Ideas competition with a plan to commercialise my final year project. In addition to winning the funding to patent my invention I was also accepted onto the Starter for 6 programme and became one of the first new businesses to be part of the 2012 launch of Entrepreneurial Spark. The transition from the comfort of a university project to the reality of ‘real life’ business and product development was challenging – no income, no real ‘team’ and I’m not sure I even had secured a place to live let alone a desk space or an office. What I learnt and achieved during my time with these organisations, in particular at Entrepreneurial Spark, was that building a team of individuals/collaborative organisations to support me in my venture was vital.
I quickly realised that it would be beneficial to gain experience in design engineering, as well as a regular income to support the development of my own ideas. So in late 2011 I joined Glasgow based company Core PD. We designed Poolpod: a platform lift system to provide independent and dignified access for people who find it hard to get in and out of swimming pools. The system was commissioned as part of the London 2012 Olympics Legacy since traditional pool systems did not meet the guidelines set by the Olympic Delivery Authority. Being involved with the design and then the spin out of Poolpod Products Ltd was a great learning experience. From user centred design to production, management and sales: I experienced it all. As the company moved towards ramping up production to meet international market demand I was thirsty to get back to early stage product design.
With perfect timing, a job opportunity appeared at 4c Design. I’m proud to say that it is a privilege to be part of the team at the Design Hub. I can see that there is potential not only to utilise my experience in both business and in design engineering, but also to develop and expand my capabilities into new areas. What is exciting for me about 4c Design is their range of clients and the associated diversity which will no doubt challenge me but will also draw out the best of my ability. 4c’s recent diversification into developing its own portfolio of products and technologies, like the S’up Spoon, is something which sits comfortably with me. It’s safe to say I am looking forward to the opportunities that are on the horizon at 4c Design!