Jan-Erik's currently heads the BA program in Design Management, at the Lucerne University of applied sciences in Switzerland. He teaches in design management and is responsible for managing and further developing of the curriculum. He also is an independent consultant and advices organizations on design- and change management challenges.

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To me Design is a deliberate intervention to improve the existing for the better. I am convinced that it’s the task of Design is to question the cultural relevance and the impact of whatever brands and industries produce and sell on society and ecology, and in this put the human center stage. Only this way sustainable value can be created: for customers, organizations and society at large.

1964
Birth in Elkins, West Virginia, USA: yes, I do have an US passport, no I‘m not a hillbilly.


1967
Move to the Netherlands, the homeland of my parents (mother teacher and artist, father scientist and astronomer) - that‘s why I‘m Dutch most of all! In Dwingeloo, a small village in the province of Drenthe, I attended the primary school.

1975
Relocation to Germany, close to Bonn, then the capital. Was thrown into the college right away, which initially made me being lost. First major work on comic strips, which unfortunately never were finished... but the sketching and designing entered my life.

1985
Graduation (Abitur) in Rheinbach. Subsequently I started to study industrial design in Wuppertal with Professor Klose and Reif (all done without computers).

1986
Promotion into the A-ranks of cycling (highest amateur level), my true passion. 1987 I quitted the competition because of my studies and ever since I just cycle for fun, well…

1990
Entering the real design world: initially as a trainee in the design department at Philips on products like lamps and fixtures, which meant I returned to the Netherlands, to Eindhoven.

1991
Graduation in Wuppertal with a thesis on a mobile office device with a touch screen (is called iPad today). After that I just stayed with Philips and started as a designer for medical equipment.

1995
Together with my colleague and friend Jan-Paul we won the Rotterdam Design Award - this to the surprise of many, including our bosses!

for more projects visit my portfolio >

1996
Relocation to Vienna, Austria, which over the years became my favorite town. As a designer for consumer electronics I was occupied with TV sets, video recorders and other products, which were produced by the millions, quite a radical change from where I came from...

1998
Became in charge of the branch in Vienna and thus entered the ‘management world’. Headed a team of roundabout 15 professionals in various fields. First lecturing assignment in Graz at the Joaneum, were I discovered my passion for lecturing.

2000
Keynote Speaker at the Alpbach Technology Forum on the topic of ,The Science of Beauty‘: till now the highlight of my academic career.

more speeches on Slideshare >

2003
After the closure of the branch, which resulted out of the restructuring of the activities to fare east, I went back to Eindhoven, again. Privately we relocated to Kempen in Germany, between the border and Düsseldorf. At the head quarters I headed a global design team for consumer electronics.

2004
Started lecturing in Essen at the University for industrial design, subsequently as visiting professor on brand design.

2007
As the CDO (Chief Design Officer) I became part of the management team of the business, which moved design closer and finally ‘at the decision table’. I ran a team of more than 50 professionals distributed around the globe in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Paris and New York, which meant I did spent a lot of time inside planes.

2009
I moved to the Deutsche Telekom as Head of Design Management, in Bonn - almost a full circle, but just… Despite the best intentions the assignment is not what I was looking for, so it came to a premature ending.

2011
Entered into self employment and joined VanBerlo Strategy & Design as an associate partner, again in Eindhoven... Started to consult organizations in strategic design management and design thinking.

2011
Also took up a professorship at the University of Design and Art in Lucerne, Switzerland, where I now head the Bachelor Design Management.

2010
Started the design blog ‘designfokus’ with monthly columns on topics like design management and design thinking.

visit the Blog designfokus >

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