Extra-curricular activity - 2011
De Jongens van de TU
From august to December I had the opportunity to take over the small company of a friend in which I worked for the past 2 years. During those months I started the campaign “de Jongens van de TU”, that pushed the company forward. From 2 employees in July we went to 9 employees in October and the projects increased. As for this moment I can proudly say that De Jongens van de TU became an independent enterprise with an office at the TU/e campus and is still growing. The experience of this was an enormous boost in knowledge and skills on all kinds of levels (and competencies of Industrial Design), and also proof for me that could manage my vision in a real life company context.
I wanted to give the company (at that time it had the name Cohere) a boost and I used the first month to think of an idea how. I believed we needed to understand first who we actually are and from there on how people should see us. As a result we started “de Jongens van de TU” (the guys of the university), which was basically a communication plan in the form of a website that showed who we really are. I learned only afterwards the power of rendering authenticity, but we did already a good job here. Although we only had a few clients I wanted to include more employees that could fit the criteria (which were basically every talented student within the TU/e) for our campaign in order to get more clients from their network as well. This was the first step in implementing an experience in a commercial context.
Being a leader of a company is something different than being a team leader. I learned I needed to be actively involved in internal and external issues, because when I started there no or little structure. I introduced the SO, VO, DO deadlines (First design, Semi-final design and Final Design) that I picked up from my internship, which worked well for the designers. I knew I had to bring something extra to the team, to be able to generate that emotional connection people can have with their work. After all, enthusiasm is the best drive you can have. I introduced a monthly inspiration session (also learned from my internship at Tinker) COFA (Coheres Open Friday Afternoon) which included an open drink and presentation afternoon. It was open, so we could introduce (potential) customers or employees to de Jongens. The first try-out was a bit static, because the cinema (Zwarte Doos) environment didn’t provoke any interaction. The next one was done standing and I learned this had the effect I wanted.
Overall, I learned how to make something more out of a quite meaningless company. I was amazed about the pace of the growth of the company’s identity and my own growth. The size of the context was small enough to gain this improvement of experience with this pace.
Website of the company