Getting to know: James Sutherland
How have you found your experiences of KD so far and what do you see as the benefits in having all of our expert disciplines under one roof?
I had been aware of KD for about 10 years before joining and had heard good things about the industrial design and prototyping capability. However, it is only since I joined that I’ve come to appreciate the real depth and breadth of expertise that sits under one roof. Being able to build on the design heritage with strong software, electronics and mechanical engineering capabilities and user centred innovation and human factors teams means that KD can support the full lifecycle of product design and development, all the way from concept into production. However, as iterative design has been and always will be at KD’s core, my overwhelming impression is that a culture of creativity and agility permeates the organisation. This manifests itself in impressive results for clients whether it be stunning concept design, compelling and rapidly produced proof-of-concept demonstrators or innovative and robust production ready solutions.
Having come from a research, technology and innovation background, where do you see the most opportunities for growth coming in this area?
Brexit has been looming on the horizon for a few years now and one unheralded result of this has been renewed focus both from industry and government to put the UK back at the forefront of innovation in fields as diverse as renewable energy, personal air mobility and quantum computing. However, sitting over all of this is the ongoing transformative effect that the internet is having on our lives. This is currently manifesting itself in a deeper interaction between physical products and digital interfaces but as digital technology matures, we are seeing whole new business models and routes to engaging with customers evolving, reigning for a while, then being replaced by a new wave. One new wave that I’m keeping a close eye on the rise of “privacy tech” which recognises that in our enthusiasm for free services on the internet, individuals have ceded large amounts of very valuable data to corporations. This opens up new avenues for businesses to position themselves as premium brands on the basis of their user focused digital security credentials.
As the new Industrial Portfolio Manager within KD you will be partnering with a wide range of clients in a variety of markets, what are you looking forward to most in your new role?
I am most looking forward to finding out more about our clients successes and challenges. Having worked in Innovation for a number of years I’m often blown away with the level of ingenuity both start-ups and corporates show in developing new products and services. In addition, I’ve also seen common challenges emerge as organisations move through the journey of maturing these new offerings. I’m delighted to have a job that helps clients bring new products and services to market by leveraging their strengths and de-risking challenge areas. I can’t wait to get stuck in!