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By George Savell
Meet the team at Cambridge Design Partnership – a brief profile of the experts, engineers and interesting people that work here. This month we’re talking to George Savell, a mechanical engineer who’s worked at CDP for almost two years.
Why did you join Cambridge Design Partnership?
I’d wanted to work for a product design consultancy, and right from my interview, CDP came across as a great place to work. It’s a growing company which maintains a very friendly culture – there are a lot of bright people here who have different areas of knowledge and expertise, as well as a variety of interesting hobbies. In addition, there are always a broad range of challenging projects you can get involved in – from medical devices and drug delivery to consumer and FMCG.
And with so many people working on such a wide range of projects, you get a lot of interesting perspectives and ideas being exchanged that can be very useful. CDP isn’t just an engineering product design consultancy; we have people who work in all sorts of areas such as consumer research, innovation, industrial design and theoretical science, as well as those with knowledge of the formal regulatory requirements for medical device development. All of this expertise can really help when you need some input into a difficult client project.
What background do you come from and how do apply this knowledge to your current role?
I studied General Engineering at Cambridge University, specialising in manufacturing and management. It was a pretty unique course as it focused on building commercial awareness of how businesses work, and how to interface with large organisations through teamwork and leadership – but all within an engineering and technical context. On graduating, I was lucky to get an opportunity to work at a start-up for a year, for an entrepreneur who had some exciting ideas but, as he was not an engineer himself, needed someone to implement his ideas and turn them into reality. I helped him set up his business, wrote a business plan and managed all of the engineering, procurement, and marketing activities - literally going from sketches on the back of an envelope through to seven launched products.
All of this knowledge has helped me in my current role; having an awareness beyond the technical problem solving and creative side of engineering, able to see the bigger picture of going from concept to launch through a rapid but well planned development process, and understanding all the steps along the way. Most importantly, to engage with the client and all stakeholders so that they understand this too – and perceive the real benefit that Cambridge Design Partnership can bring.
What interesting projects are you working on at the moment?
The major project I’ve been working on since starting at CDP is a medical cryogenic application for a multinational Medtech company – which I’ve led, all the way through from concept development and proof of principle through to pilot production; we are now planning for Device Verification. Other healthcare projects range from drug delivery devices, Injector and Inhalers– as well as consumer focused projects such as an FMCG hygiene product development and performance monitoring equipment for a national sports team.
What future trends do you see making an impact on the sectors you work in?
With the ever expanding regulatory burden in the Medtech world and pressure on businesses to deliver new products more rapidly, there can be an inclination to throw everything at the development process – more money, and more people – in the hopes of doing it quicker. This inevitably challenges the business case and can result in an exciting new technology being mothballed. Not only is there also an unwelcome raise in prices for the customer, but this can also slow innovation and open the door for more agile companies to move in: grabbing opportunities, innovating more quickly, and taking market share.
At Cambridge Design Partnership we can help companies of all sizes to move more quickly and minimize risk through our targeted approach. Our experience means we can reduce time to market and enable efficiencies while keeping projects on target performance wise.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside work?
I’m quite sporty, and am usually found training, be it cycling, sailing, climbing or running. In fact I’ve competed in two Iron Man Triathlons over the past few years, and will be doing another one later this year. Last year’s was in Zurich, which entailed a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and then rounded off by running a marathon. In addition to sports, I enjoy building things and doing practical projects (like most engineers!) and most recently I built a new road bike from scratch – which I now cycle to work on most days.
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