In 2 options: the professional summary, or the longer story:
The professional summary:
Saskia helps organisations to design better products/services faster. She specialises in improving productivity to help your team deliver a consistent flow of new products faster, better, and more profitable.
Saskia has a passion for progress and an obsession with implementation. She is driven to help people to deliver great work. She loves seeing teams deliver their craft together beautifully.
Saskia takes a practical approach, with a people lens. She makes the complex easy. It gives you time back in your day, so you can accomplish more.
Born in the Netherlands and based in Queenstown, New Zealand, Saskia is backed by the rare mix of a Master’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Technische Universiteit Delft (one of the best in Europe) and a marketing degree and has worked as a speaker, trainer, coach, facilitator, mentor with many of the top national companies over the past 20 years.
Once upon a time… (just kidding!)
Yes, I’m from the Netherlands, Dutch born & bred. My name gave that away, didn’t it? It’s a quick way to stand out. A Unique Selling Point.
I call myself an ‘import kiwi’. We moved to New Zealand in 2000 ‘for a year’. We love it so much, we forgot to leave.
I studied Product Development in the Netherlands. I have a Master of Science in Industrial Design Engineering from Delft Technische Universiteit (one of the best in Europe). Yes, I’m an engineer. And with that degree, I should have ended up at Fisher & Paykel Appliances designing the new DishDrawer or something similar. I went in that direction and did my graduation project at General Electric Plastics European Design Centre in the Netherlands, designing products using their new plastics. I learned there that the designers are briefed by the marketing team, and that that transaction is a bumpy one.
I figured that if I was going to be a designer, I would always be briefed by a marketing team. So I got myself a marketing degree as well, so I could speak their language and understand where the marketing team was coming from. I worked as a marketing manager for Siemens (the big electronics company) in the Netherlands. After a few years working my then-boyfriend (now long-time husband) and I thought the road to retirement looked rather boring. We wanted to go exploring. Experience living in another culture. What about New Zealand?
Looking for work, I figured I’d try the Dutch angle and approached Heineken (DB Breweries in NZ). The CEO recognised my degree and asked if I could help. Could I please create a manual on how to do New Product Development (NPD) at DB? He explained that the marketing team led the NPD projects at DB and that they all used different tools and techniques. It was hard for him to have an overview. That project became the start of my career. (And I can tell you now, a manual is not the solution!)
It got me interested in how companies develop new products.
After a fantastic few years at DB I started my own business and worked several years as a freelancer helping companies to develop new products. Over that time I worked with some great companies and brands (Nestlé, Griffins, Bluebird, Tegel, Sealord) and learned that all these companies had NPD projects that were running late and should have been launched already. I became the ‘rescuer’ of new product development projects. Although the companies, the teams, and the projects were different, the problems they were running into were quite similar.
I figured the solution might be in the process. I learned quickly that to change the process you need to talk to the management team.
Fast forward several years and I now work with organisations in a wide variety of industries, all over New Zealand and help teams to design a framework (set up, systems and skills) to develop new products faster, better and with more fun.
I love product development. I love the challenge of working with all the different specialists, the sales geniuses, the marketing masterminds, the operations wizards, the supply virtuosi, the technology mavens, and making all their amazing craft come together to deliver an elegant solution for a client. The thrill of the journey to launch is exciting. It is a fantastic feeling when it all comes together seamlessly.
What makes me unique (apart from my Dutch name and being female in this field) is my practical approach with a people lens.
When “PD is flowing, everyone is happy”.
Cause when you think about it, that new product touches everyone’s desk, doesn’t it?
I give you time back in their day, so you can accomplish more. Which makes you happy. And I like seeing people smile.
And live happily ever after…
“Saskia helped us design a process that’s clear for all, with clear responsibilities. Now, 3 months later, the number of loopbacks are significantly less. Which makes a huge difference for our BAU teams.It saves me a lot of worrying, easily an hour back in my day.”
– Simon Towns, CEO Constellation Brands, May 2020.
1 hour/day, that’s a 12.5% productivity increase & 6 weeks back in your year!