Guido Stompff (1968)  is senior designer at Océ Technologies, a large multinational company part of the Canon Group. Océ is based in the Netherlands and develops and manufactures printers, scanners, software applications and extensive services in a b-to-b context. The large in house design department is embedded within R&D,  implying the designers are actively involved and integrated within the development teams, constituting strongly to both the products and the business strategy. Océ has a long design history and an acclaimed reputation. Guido Stompff received numerous international design awards, among others a range of IF awards and Dutch Design awards. He was honoured with a special award for design excellence 2012 in the Netherlands.

Looking back, he has been a designer or design thinker all his life, though he could not name it as such at first. Already as a young kid he was sketching designs for boats as he was living next to the sea. Sailing and surfing became his passion, so he decided to study naval engineering in Delft. Soon he discovered he didn’t like the rationalistic approach and the relatively neglected role of creativity in that study. He switched to Industrial Design Engineering, as he considered the creative process more important than the subject itself. He graduated in 1993 (cum laude) and already before his graduation started working as a practioner-designer. After working at two small design agencies, he became designer at Océ Technologies. The overwhelming complexity of the products, the variety in activities and immense creative freedom were sufficient reasons to stick around.

He always had a strongly reflective approach in his work, trying to understand not only ‘what’ but also ‘how’ and ‘why’. Soon he discovered that magazines and textbooks could not provide answers. A growing working relation with the University of Delft was the result, exploring a wide range of topics e.g., by means of an ongoing stream of graduate students. In 2003 the first journal article appeared, on the relation between product design and brand. Ever since, he wrote a range of (often co-authored) articles and papers on a range of topics, including emotional design, usability testing, the relation between brand and product development, the four orders of design and so on. He lectures at several universities and schools, and was chair of the 2009 European conference of the Design Management Institute.

Through reflection upon the role of design within product development, Guido Stompff became aware of what design mediates within organizations. Designing within multidisciplinary teams was an entirely unexplored topic, and Guido felt a need to study it in depth. He started a PhD, enabling him to explore in depth how design can contribute to multi-disciplinary productive development teams. He used theories and models derived from social psychology on both organizational culture and sensemaking. He not only described the somewhat hidden contribution of designers, but also did a range of experiments in the practice of Océ to validate insights, truly becoming a reflective practioner/researcher. In 2012 he finalized his PhD thesis next to his activities as a designer. Central in his thesis is the finding that the practice of design enables to span complex boundaries within teams and organizations. Nowadays, within Océ he is actively involved as a designer in spanning organizational boundaries, such as between business and product development.

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