Professor Olaf Diegel was born in New Zealand, but has spent much of his life in countries such as the USA, Canada, South Africa, and Japan. Olaf is both an educator and a practitioner of product development with an excellent track record of developing innovative solutions to engineering problems.
In his role as professor of product development, in the department of design sciences of the faculty of engineering at Lund University, in Sweden, he is heavily involved in all aspects of product development and is widely published in the areas of additive manufacturing and rapid product development. In his consulting practice he develops a wide range of products for companies around the world. Over the past 10 years he has developed over 60 commercialized new products including innovative new theatre lighting products, security and marine products and several home health monitoring products and, for this work, has received numerous product development awards.
Over the last 20 years, Olaf has become a passionate follower of 3D printing (additive manufacturing). He believes it is one of the technologies that has been a real godsend to innovation as it allows designers and inventors to instantly test out ideas to see if they work. It also removes the traditional manufacturing constraints that have become a barrier to creativity, and allows us to get real products to market without the normally high costs that can become a barrier to innovation. In 2012, Olaf started manufacturing a range of 3D printed guitars and basses that has developed into a successful little side-business (and gives Olaf the therapy he needs in allowing him to make things that are a blend of high-technology and traditional hand-crafting). To find out more check out www.odd.org.nz
Olaf’s other research interests centre around anything that allows us to develop better products, and get them to market faster. This includes
- Tools that better allow us to understand customer behavior and needs
- Tools for co-design, in which the customer participates in the design process for their own products
- Methods for maximizing the chance of innovative outcomes in new product development
- Technologies that allow us to better, and faster, transform customer requirements into real products
- Technologies that allow us to manufacture these products in the most efficient and most sustainable way
Olaf also has an interest in smart-home environments and technologies that allow people to live in a more seamless and integrated way with their environments, and that can be used to assist users that may have special needs.
Olaf’s personal interests include home renovation, theatrical lighting, music (50s and 60s Rock & Roll) and his dumb but loveable Cocker Spaniel (Atom).