CAL alumni, what do they do now? Interview with Koen Bogers
Until now, we only posted about our current projects and graduation students. But what happens after graduation? What do our alumni do now? In this first edition of "CAL alumni, what do they do now?" we interviewed Koen Bogers, who graduated in 2018 on Care Tunes.
What was your graduation project about?
In my graduation project I developed Care Tunes, a concept that uses music to help nurses monitor their patients in a way that is more pleasant than the use of alarms. Alarms are excessively used by equipment in the ICU. These alarms can sound very harsh and thus cause stress and alarm fatigue. Care Tunes takes the parameters that nurses monitor and turns them into informative music to replace alarms.
How do you look back on your graduation project?
I very much enjoyed my graduation project. I was able to work in a context that was very much unfamiliar to me, which is something I generally enjoy doing. The environment of the ICU is very well organized, but all of the technology that it contains is completely focused on keeping patients as healthy as possible. At the Erasmus MC there is a lot of movement toward the well being of the personnel. This gives a lot of room for innovation that revolves around the experiences of patients, nurses, doctors and family members, making it a great context for a DfI graduation project.
Being in the Critical Alarms Lab during my graduation made it much more exciting, because we were able to work together, and get connected to a lot of people who we might not have run into on our own. It sort of felt like working at a design company!
I was able to work together with Rosel van den Berg who worked for van Berlo, and I even got to join Elif to the U.S. to discuss our work with people at Johns Hopkins and Sibley Memorial Hospital.
What do you do now?
I now work at Octo as a UX designer and front-end developer. Octo is a start-up that is building an information platform for facility- and asset management. Our platform gathers data from sensors that we place in buildings and from images we gather form street view and satellites, among other sources. We use computer vision to recognize parts of buildings and damages that it may have. This helps building owners with maintenance and general asset management. I design and build dashboards that present the data to the user.
How did your graduation project prepare you for your current job (or not)?
One of the things I learnt from my graduation project is that when I am designing something I can gain a lot of understanding about the topic by doing as much field work as possible. Visiting the context and talking to potential users gives me a much better picture than reading about a topic. This is very much applicable in what I do now, since we are still defining our product and I need to understand our users and stakeholders.
What is the most valuable experience you remember from your graduation project?
The qualitative research into the experiences of nurses I did together with Rosel in the ICU was a very valuable experience for me because it helped me get out of my comfort zone and gather a heap of information. I don’t think I would have gathered such a broad set of data if I had not been able to collaborate with someone. Rosel has a lot of experience in data analysis and presentation as well, which I learnt a lot from when we went through the data we collected in interviews.
What advice would you give current graduation students?
If you are designing for a specific context and user group, and you probably are, get out the door and visit that context as soon as possible.
Spend time talking to people who are there every day. I believe this will give you a level of understanding about your topic that you will never get from reading about it. It will also make your graduation a much richer experience when you are visiting new places and experiencing new things as much as possible.
Anything else you would like to share?
CAL was a great place to graduate for me, so a last tip would be: talk to Elif and try to graduate at CAL 🙂 You’ll have a lot of fun!