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On this episode of Unconventional Genius, I’m joined by Simon Sollberger, Vice President of Brand and Design at Innovative Partners to talk about the inspiration of emotion. Innovate Partners is a company that combines venture capital and private equity with an incubator model for launching companies. They have a unique, hands-on approach that involves leveraging design to launch companies and products.
Innovative Partners are known for their Bluetooth headphones and speaker companies as well as a footwear company. They also developed PEAR, an app that delivers dynamic and interactive workout sessions to you in real-time. It’s like having a personal coach in your ear.
An unconventional start leading to unprecedented success
Sollberger’s interest in design was sparked when he was a school age boy. He walked by a shop where concept cars being painted and was mesmerized. From then on he wanted to be a designer.
Sollberger first went to art school, but after encouragement from his father, he also studied engineering. His educational background and experience has helped him understand what it takes to bring a product to market and gives him the ability to work well with engineers.
Looking for the inspiration of emotion with style and substance
Simon Sollberger finds inspiration for design by considering the emotional needs of the consumer. Even something as mundane as a Bluetooth headset should be designed well. He wants the end-user to find not only a high-quality product that functions well, but also a product to which they are emotionally connected.
In order to discover that emotional connection that a consumer has, Simon tries to identify products that are resonating with them. He then digs deeper to understand why they are experiencing that connection. Simon says, “Designers are kind of an antenna for what’s out there and the best of them are able to distill what’s out there and channel it into a product or service.”
The best way to build a successful company
Having been a part of several successful start-ups and helping other companies launch, Simon Sollberger has learned some of the keys to success. He says that beyond just developing a good product, an entrepreneur should focus on assembling a great team. Simon stresses that chemistry is so important when trying to start a business.
Ideally, you want to combine world-class talent with relational compatibility so that in every aspect of business you are pushing each other toward success. One of the ways to ensure that compatibility is through mutual respect. Simon says that having both a background in art and engineering has helped him to bridge that gap on the teams with which he has worked.
A glimpse into the future
While Simon sees the benefit of connectivity, he also has concerns about the negative potential of technology. He believes that technology could be the demise of relationships. During our conversation, he shares candidly about the distraction of technology and his desire to at times distance himself from it.
For the future, Simon Sollberger says that he would like to see how to leverage connectedness in a way the benefits designers and creators. There are so many small companies who are making incredible products, but they can’t get market share due to competition. Simon would like to create a platform where those creators are celebrated and given the opportunity to market their products. Listen to this episode of Unconventional Genius to hear more from my conversation with Simon Sollberger.
If you are with a consumer technology company planning to launch a new product at CES or are even looking ahead to CES 2019, the Max Borges Agency can help you succeed. To learn more, check out: www.maxborgesagency.com.
Topics Featured In This Episode
- [1:04] Introduction of Simon Sollberger, VP of Brand and Design at Innovate Partners
- [5:32] How Simon Sollberger got started in the technology space
- [9:28] Some of the first designs that Simon worked on
- [11:12] Given all of his accomplishments, what is Simon most proud of?
- [13:14] How to balance substance and style when creating a product
- [17:04] Past mistakes that Simon made that he wishes he could have avoided
- [18:36] Simon Sollberger gives his predictions for the future of technology
- [26:11] Can we leverage connectedness to benefit designers and creators without allowing corporate agendas to take over?
- [30:39] What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self if you could go back in time
Resources & People Mentioned
- [36:26] Simon Sollberger shares the one message he would share with the world if he had a platform
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