Someone recently asked me what I did for a living?
I started off by saying ‘I am a product design engineer…….’
What I should have said was: ‘I realise potential’.
It sounds a bit ‘life coach’ but it does make the point. I have now worked in a demanding creative industry for over 20 years and this has given me a unique perspective into the potential of ideas, of organisations and of the people behind them.
Think of it this way. Someone starts to describe an idea to you. You might think ‘sounds good’ or ‘good luck!’ Perhaps you might know someone who can help. If you think they’re really on to something you might even see a way you can help yourself. This is seeing the potential.
Seeing the potential is what I do every day. As a product design engineer I know the questions to ask, the research required, and how to present the idea to those who might not otherwise be able to appreciate the potential.
Every entrepreneur has their investor, the intrapreneur has their manager or budget-holder – it is these people who need to be able to see and feel the potential. Every time, the first step in turning an idea into reality is persuading other people that your idea has potential!
I often wonder how many great product ideas, particularly in the corporate world, fall at this hurdle because the potential of the idea isn’t communicated in the right way, at the right time, to the right people. This is the nub of my work – I ‘realise that potential’, I turn the idea into a drawing, the drawing into a 3D ‘touch and feel’ prototype. If a picture is worth a thousand words, seeing and touching are worth a million!
I’m not on my own here, because the Design Council are aware of this problem too and have articulated it beautifully in the video below, produced five years ago but still as relevant today.
So now I know what I will say the next time I get asked what I do for a living.
The question is – what do you do?