A few thoughts on my Industrial Placement so far…

So i’m 4 months into a industrial placement from university.

Sampling a professional R&D department in an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) for the first time, I’m so surprised at the difficulties that face innovation in the real world. As a fresh-faced student, who has been immersed in the idealistic world of education all my life, my first real world experience of design has been a hard hitting experience.

Previously, issues that arise during the concept stage in the design process have been dismissed due to the excitement that can be felt we feel we’ve struck on the perfect piece of design. So far I have learnt that in the real world, such issues can sometimes be the most important. The depth of thought required throughout the design process is something I will take away with me and I would expect to be a better designer for it. Pretty big stuff…

What have I bought to the company so far?

  • Coffee.
  • A fresh perspective. The importance of keeping an R&D department motivated to facilitate innovation has been very apparent in my short time there. Established designers seem to feel very protective over their ideas and can be very sensitive when their designs/concepts aren’t fully appreciated.
  • Advice on the social media age and its value to the company going forward.
  • Google Analytics (Amazing)
  • Links to University
  • The R from R&D. The department is very good at making things that they are told too. They even call themselves ‘nuts and bolts’ designers. Going out and trying to find their own briefs through design-led research is a huge hole in the department. I’m trying to fill that gap.
  • Project concepts. I’ve already proposed on product concept that has been given the development go ahead.

Industrial placements are hugely important and i’m not a University PR man. I strongly recommend any student designer to sample the real world before its too late!


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