Guest: Willem Mees van der Bijl
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Since his childhood, Willem has been passionate about visualising future scenarios. After he graduated from The University of Technology in Delft, The Netherlands, realising these future scenarios has been key in his career. After realising innovations and start-ups around medical products and saving the lives of dolphins, Willem joined Indes BV. There he worked on the development and manufacturing of a wide range of products, from Child Restraint Systems to Medical Devices. Willem then headed up the Design & Engineering team at Indes for several years. It was in 2013 that Willem emigrated to Sydney with his wife Mieke. His passion outside design is sailing.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, the ide Group Product Development Manager Willem Mees van der Bijl is here with us to help us learn more about the various projects that they tackle. The ide Group was launched in 2003 to address the need for a complete product development service and since then they have been growing in number and refining their processes for the service of commercialising profitable and user-friendly products for their clients. Their goal is to create products that change lives, grow new organisations and build better futures.
Health Professional Radio
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. Today my guest is Willem Van Der Bijl. Now Willem is the product development manager at IDE Group. Willem welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Willem Van Der Bijl: Thank you very much. Thank you for the invitation.
Wayne: Now Willem IDE Group is not a kind of name that immediately tells me what you do. Can you give us some insight into your products and services?
Van Der Bijl: Yes, certainly. We are a development group of mainly medical devices. So what we do is we develop, we design, we engineer, but also in some cases we manufacture the products that we design. And we’ve been doing that with a group of people here in Sydney but we also have some people in the USA.
W: So give us some insight in the what sort of devices we’re talking about here.
V: Okay, so we’re a development group who can design different kinds of products. So we could do anything basically, but our design approach and the way we work is actually pretty much tailor made to designing medical devices. So it means that the way we work, the way we design products, the way we develop products, the way we actually implement them and bring them to production is very much tailored for medical devices. We’re are ISO certified so that mean that how we do things really works for a complex products like a medical equipment. You can think of diagnostic devices or disposables that are used to diagnose for example for HIV or malaria that are test strips. But we also work on more complex projects where we have to deal with electronics, how complex use interfaces and also the management of information that have comes out of that.
W: I see now most of our audience Willem are health professionals of one kind or another. We’ve got lots of our listeners are working in acute care centers, doctors, nurses, allied health professional. If they’ve got a good idea, is IDE group the group they should be talking to about developing that idea? Do you take that ideas from that level?
V: Yes, definitely. So the people that we work with are people around us in our network and that can be big pharmaceutical companies, large multinationals but certainly also people from the medical field, doctors, nurses, sometimes even patients who have a good idea or have a product idea and want to realize this. And when we meet people like that, we always try to help each other out to understand much better what you would like to achieve and how we can realize that. And many of the people we work with are actually clinicians, doctors or professionals who’s identified the problem or a need and translated that into an idea or solution. And together we would like to look at opportunities like that and find ways to make it happen, to improve that future. And that’s what we like to do best. We always call it we would like to be in this together, we like to understand this new feature that we want to realize and together put out how to get there. And whatever challenge comes up on the way we’re gonna pick it up together and realize that.
W: Now challenge is always interesting when I’m talking to people who provide interesting services. Willem in every industry there are misconceptions, for you in the design group what’s the biggest misconception about your work that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?
V: Yes, so I’ve been thinking about that because that was actually something that I thought would be valuable to talk about now, especially in medical device development there are misconceptions. And one of the biggest ones is that a lot of people who are not aware of how to realize a medical device or any other product. Things that with a good idea and some good design sketches, your product will become a great success once you’ve develop a number of products and implemented them and even in manufacturing you know and you learn that there are a lot of challenges that you may find on your path. So for example, there maybe technical challenges but also what to do with intellectual property, how do I make sure my product gets regulatory approval. And where do I find the funding if for example I need to go and invest in tooling or I need to do clinical trials. How do I deal with that financial situation? And for a lot of startups or people with great ideas who are starting a new business, there are also the challenges of starting a business and making sure that you have the right expertise on board. And those challenges can be as they’re coming up with the right idea. And those actually are the challenges that we like to tackle best. So we always get excited when people come to us with great new ideas because we know there is a challenging and exciting way to go forward.
W: Well Willem with a bit luck this morning, we will have stimulated some thinking in most of our audience and they might be some great ideas headed your way.
V: Wow, that would be great.
W: What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?
V: Yes. So we have a website where people can find a couple of the examples of projects that we’ve been working on and products that we realized. So the website is www.idegroup.com.au and there you will find also the people on our team. We have a team of over 30 people, experts in either people with the design background or engineering background or a background in manufacturing and realizing products. So any of the people from my team are happy to talk about new opportunities, new challenges and we would love to have a chat just to see if there are any challenges that we could help and solve and help you get your idea realized.
W: So Willem Van Der Bijl product development manager at IDE Group, thank you for your time this morning. It’s been a pleasure having you on the air.
V: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure.
W: Now if you missed that website, it was www.idegroup.com.au to get in touch with Willem and his group. And if you missed the interview, well the good news is we have a transcript for you at www.hpr.fm that’s the station website. You can also hear an archive of the audio of this interview on both SoundCloud and YouTube and there are links to that on our website as well. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.