Posted on September 16, 2019
Emma Excell talks about tapping into the talent from Imperial College London to breathe fresh ideas into fitness:
Why have you chosen to employ placement students from Imperial College London to support the development of Fisikal?
This was really by chance – Rob and I are Scout Leaders and as part of the Scouts communications training, we met with the Deputy District Commissioner in charge of communications. He was an inspirational guy who was in his last year of studying Design Engineering at Imperial College London.
When we heard more about his degree, and the six-month placements that all the students have to complete, it sounded like the perfect fit for us – the chance to reach out to young minds at the start of their career, support them in further development and challenge the creativity and thinking of those not necessarily within the fitness industry but with the knowledge, foresight and fresh ideas to help us design and develop the very best products.
Tell us more about the six-month placement student who has joined you this year
We welcomed Nirav Ganju-Cass to the Fisikal team in April of this year and he has been an incredible addition to the team since day one. Reflective of his study and expertise in Design Engineering, Nirav has brought fusion of design thinking, engineering knowledge and the practice he has gained within a culture of innovation and enterprise at Imperial College London to our team.
Nirav has a particular interest in overcoming challenges through the careful combination of hardware and software, clearly taking pride in seeing projects through from inception to delivery.
Why do you think it is important to source talent, creativity and innovation from other industries?
If you only know what you know, you will struggle to see and think outside of the box to create new opportunities and ways of delivering outcomes. We can always learn from other industries because they do things differently, think differently. The fitness industry is still young and fairly inexperienced, but without a doubt it is fast-growing and holds a lot of potential and opportunity. It has been slower than other industries to adopt digitalisation, so learning from the digital innovations that other industries are already implementing can put the fitness industry on a fast track to further digital innovation.
What projects has Nirav worked on during his degree that made him stand out from the crowd?
Nirav has experience in CAD (computer aided design), electronics, mechanical, programming and User Experience (UX) design. From designing an autonomous vehicle of the future and creating an electro-mechanical ‘Think Tank’ debating platform through to developing a Robot Chicken that could detect obstacles in its path and either avoid or analyse them, Nirav has demonstrated across countless projects his innovative ideas and inventive problem-solving solutions.
It is his ability to draw from multiple design and engineering disciplines that enables him to develop truly innovative and unique solutions to problems or challenges faced.
How has Nirav’s design engineering knowledge and experience already helped Fisikal?
From the day he started with us, Nirav has brought fantastic ideas and solutions to the table. Without giving too many secrets away…. he has helped us with the design of mobile and web flows, applying understanding of UX/UI (user experience and interface design) to create new features that integrate into our existing Fisikal platform.
He has also improved our digital communications using graphic and digital design, as well as implemented his programming skills. We have also worked together on the design of new functionality for the Fisikal product – researching existing solutions before creating bespoke designs that worked within Fisikal and could be created by the developers, giving clients the functionality, they needed.
In your opinion, which other industries demonstrate key opportunities and learnings to support the fitness industry in its own growth and evolution?
I believe that algorithms to predict consumer behaviours and to improve member experience will be key for the industry in the years ahead and the data relating to members engagement will be used more and more by insurance companies in the future to set their premiums and create consumer incentive schemes. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the fitness industry, and we intend to keep learning from outside experts to better our offering for our clients, their staff and their members.