The Wiggle, where it all started
The Wiggle is an interactive playground designed and produced by Stik Design. For a description of the design side of this project navigate to the design page of the Wiggle. From an entrepreneurial point of view this has been the cornerstone of what grew into Stik Design in Eindhoven later on and what has been the starting point of my entrepreneurial career. It all started with a presentation at the Dutch Design Week back in Eindhoven. We exhibited our prototype during the week, and at some point somebody of the city of Eindhoven spotted out concept and nominated us for the Social Design Award which we won in the end. This award included not only a nice amount of money, but also the approval of the city of Eindhoven to place our product in the public for long time.
Initially the development of The Wiggle was a collaboration between us (the design team) and a playground manufacturer called Kompan. They are a world leader in the playground industry, based in Odense Denmark. After we won the award they decided to help us in the further development of the concept into a real product. This was the moment we (me and Dick van de Ven) decided to launch Stik Design and start this process with the money of the award on the one hand and the support of Kompan on the other hand.
The Opening Event
Exactly one year later we managed to produce the product, after having dealt with wood producers, metal producers, concrete producers, electronic engineering developers and of course many government institutions. This has been a huge learning experience, but we were very happy to be able to install the product at the Dutch Design Week one year later. A great success!
Our goal was to now sell the concept to Kompan so they can take it in real production. Currently that decision has been heavily delayed because of changing teams within their company and decision makers who changed positions. And of course because the current crisis delays all kinds of new product development. We would still be happy to see it in production, but for us the learning experience as well as the implementation of our own product in public space are a reward big enough to be proud of.
An interesting side track to this development is that in order to become a better entrepreneur I took part in the Brabant Center of Entrepreneurship's certificate program in Technology Entrepreneurship. I did that parallel to the development of the Wiggle. This has been a great experience as well, in which I learned many practical skills of entrepreneurship on the one hand. On the other hand it also provided me with a personal coach who helped me to develop a business plan for our company.