This is the interview of Dennis Lenard, Entrepreneur and Founder of Creative Navy, an award wining and experience UX design agency in London, UK that adds value to digital products and focus on delivering high quality user experience design.
Tell us a little about yourself
Born and raised in Germany, but a global citizen at heart. My sister and I still remember the magic and excitement that was floating through the air when we got our first computer.
My educational background is fairly diverse: I have degrees in law, psychology, economics, and philosophy.
I’m the co-founder and CEO of Creative Navy. I’ve coordinated over 500 design projects to this day.
I like to think that digital product design lets me pursue my passion for cognitive principles in the context of the industrial and medical sector.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I had the chance to observe how much speculation and agony was involved in building a digital product back in the day.
Everybody attempted to champion their ideas without the research to support any of the claims.
It really made me appreciate how well knowledge systemization worked within the scientific community. The entire experience reinforced the importance of using an empirical process.
One group of professionals was way ahead of their time though: German engineers. They were making robust products using empirical data even then.
Seeing them in action completely changed my perspective of what the digital design process should be like.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?
Creative Navy’s specialties are UX/UI design, user research, user testing, design audit, and product strategy.
What is unique about your business?
Our practices incorporate cognitive psychology principles, which means that the digital products we design become user favorites.
Our aim is to go beyond creating something that is simply beautiful. We increase the product’s value by making it easy to use and ensuring that it is free of cognitive strain.
When designing interfaces for the medical industry or embedded GUI, the stakes are very high. People’s lives are on the line.
So we use scrupulous research practices in order to prevent user errors and reduce training time.
What made you choose this type of business?
I can tell you what didn’t: strategy. The choice came to me naturally because I identified the areas where I could make a valuable contribution using my previously acquired skill set. I knew I could raise the bar when it came to digital design, so I pursued it relentlessly.
What was your mission at the outset?
In the beginning, I was focused on developing an approach that combined design practices and empirical research. I also looked for a team that valued scientific thought and a methodical approach to work.
How many employees in your organization?
We are a tightly knit collective of 15 senior designers.
What’s your company’s goals?
Creative Navy strives to make digital products that change the lives of users and stakeholders for the better. We would like to be the driving force behind the improvement of medical UX/UI solutions.
Keeping in mind that we’ll all be patients some day, we want medical devices to have the best possible interfaces so that they can be used to offer premium care.
Additionally, we’re also interested in bringing the best in class interface design to the dynamic industrial sector.
The screens in most industrial devices pose various design constraints. We find that it is precisely these limitations that challenge us and help us perfect our craft.
In one sentence, our goal is: Making the world a better place, one interface at a time.
How do you build a successful customer base?
Because there are several factors which come into play when building a customer base, for us it was mostly an experimental process.
The experience of working iteratively with various different people has taught us how to see where we can bring added value.
Within a design agency, you’re always thinking about who would benefit from your work and what might be stopping them from reaching out to you.
Maybe they haven’t heard of you, or the timing isn’t right, or they don’t understand your work. It’s on us to find them and provide answers to all their questions.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
You can fail in more ways than one when running your own business. Looking back on the mistakes I made, I realized I didn’t do things in due time because I thought I wasn’t ready. I thought I didn’t have enough experience.
I learned that I shouldn’t try to chase after too many things at once if I wanted to gain experience. Focusing on doing one thing at a time has turned me into a fully rounded professional.
It has also given me a confidence boost. The same philosophy is true for my teammates as well. They are all masterful within their respective niches. That’s what makes our work so high quality.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
To put it simply, it’s the people around me. Your abstract values can seem crystal clear, but applying them to real life situations takes a lot of sustained effort.
I’ve always asked myself how to make my desired outcomes a tangible reality. Whenever I needed answers, I looked to my business partners or my team mates for help and moral support.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
I’ve definitely underestimated how important publicity and marketing are to the health and longevity of a business.
This was a major faux pas that probably cost us a lot of clients. I’m also guilty of taking on a few disproportionate risks, but those situations have only made the team stronger.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Be patient and persevere. Great results don’t just happen overnight.
Does your company help the community or society?
We make our contribution to society through our ongoing startup scholarship program. Creative Navy supports early phase startups that want to bring improvements in the healthcare or environmental sector. We are committed to helping them create and launch their first prototype.
We choose to work on these ideas because they stimulate us and push us to dig deep in order to uncover the best possible solutions.
There are certain problems that seem so vast they even manage to scare off angel investors. We believe we can make a difference.
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