Design as a pathway!
► Five questions to Ineke Neutelings, PhD fellow at Tu/e Industrial Design. She specialised in “patient engagement” at the department of cardiology of Catharina hospital in Eindhoven. Her challenge is to encourage the patients to invest in their own health before and after surgery.
TECHNOLOGIST Why did you decide to become a designer?
INEKE NEUTELINGS When I was in highschool, I was looking for an education that could feed both my interest for technology and my creativity. I could not see myself attending an Art Academy: I needed something more rooted in reality. One day, my school organised a tour at TU/Eindhoven and I visited the engineering department, but I didn’t like it so much. Then on my way home, a friend of mine told me: “Ineke, I found the perfect education for you!”. That’s how I heard about the Industrial Design program, and he was right: that was exactly what I was looking for.
TECHNOLOGIST What tips and tricks would you give to an Industrial Design student?
INEKE NEUTELINGS Being open-minded. A good designer has to make connections between parties, understand all the different views and use it . Testing is a key: make sure to get your users involved at every stage of the project development. They’ll provide you the best insights on the product.
TECHNOLOGIST Where do you get your inspiration from?
INEKE NEUTELINGS Working with people with disabilities is such an inspiration, because they make you see the world from another point of view. Observation is a key, because they won’t express everything. You have to think along. For a better understanding of their needs, I try to “stand in their shoes”, so I went to a museum to experience how it is to be blind. When you’re not challenged in your daily life, you miss a lot of richness of interactions, like sounds, touch, smells. When I was working whith amputees, I even walked with a fake leg.
TECHNOLOGIST So, in some ways, you’re helping each other?
INEKE NEUTELINGS It doesn’t take much to adapt a product that was originally meant for a specific (health) purpose to a wider audience. And in turn, people with a certain diagnose can help us to increase the richness of interaction in our designs. It definitely works both ways!
TECHNOLOGIST What would you create if you were granted an unlimited budget?
INEKE NEUTELINGS Right now I’m specialized in health design, but I would like to create for anyone. My focus is on the Netherlands, but I am very curious to working with other cultures and other ways of thinking. If I was given the possibility to work worldwide, I’d like to get people involved in their own health care on a larger scale: handling a wider population instead of focusing on one individual, and source health issues instead of trying to solve the results.
► Discover more about Ineke on her website!
Interview by JB