My most recent career chapter was as Founder and Principal Engineer of NewieVentures, a boutique electronic product design consultancy in Newcastle, Australia. Our mission was to Turn Ideas Into Products. In September, 2021, on the sixth birthday of the company, we completed a successful business sale and were acquired by one of the premier product design agencies in the country.
My career and academic interests have, from one perspective, been one long pursuit to find a better way to innovate. To find the optimal intersection between economics, empathy, intelligence and technology to carry good ideas from fragile genesis to doing good in the world. Some of the recent projects I’ve been proud of include:
A night-time activation project to create safe, immersive sites from dark and dangerous ones. We ended up creating a DJ-deck like structure (“the nest”) that participants could arrange origami flowers in to create colourful light displays in nearby trees. If you completed a particularly neat pattern of flowers, you could even set off a bonus light display.
An emergency response to the ventilator shortage in our country in 2020. In less than 2 months we assembled a team of collaborators, learnt what a ventilator was, determined what characteristics were important, designed and created ventilators from materials that could be sourced in very unusual and unpredictable circumstances. After extensive testing and assessment, that design ended up being granted “permission to supply” under our national regulator’s emergency provision.
A novel small wind turbine controller. From bench experimentation, through to enclosure prototyping, electronic production and test, field performance analysis, and now in manufacture and rolling out across the country.
A STEM program for 8-10 year olds that gets kids off computers and using their hands to prototype, explore and explain.
And finally, the privilege to see a rocky ride over the last 6 years, from starting a business, to now becoming a sustainable entity with the best team I’ve ever worked with.
Who knows? Working with kind, intelligent people who like tackling tricky problems that people care about? That'd do.