Start-ups and Accessibility to Space at the World AI Summit

I was invited by Spacefluencers to join them in a round table at the World AI Summit Amsterdam 2021 to talk about my experience in getting a start-up off the ground and achieving results with minimal infrastructure. I spoke about rapid prototyping, agile and lean approach, and DIY microsatellite design, to inspire young entrepeneurs and engineers to follow their dreams.

The session was recorded and made available as a podcast episode, sharing the conversation wtih Maaike Smelter from Space Campus NL. Together we explored the challenges and opportunities facing individuals and groups when trying to enter the space sector and we shared some of their experiences and best practices. 

You can listen to the podcast here.

Design Thinking and Smallsat constellation business opportunities

“What is a Smallsat constellation, and what can we do with it?”

Combining my love for Space and my expertise in business transformation was an opportunity I could not pass, so when Spaceway approached me to answer this question for an audience of engineersresearchers and those working in the advanced technology industries in a webinar/workshop format, how could I refuse?

As part of a webinar series by Instituto Pedro Nunes (innovation and technology transfer) and INFANTE (the first Portuguese satellite of the Portuguese industry), the first webinar was given by Spaceway and covered Space Mission Fundamentals and what a Smallsat Constellation is (and what we can do with it).

My (follow-up) webinar was focused on “How Design Thinking and Lean methodologies can help identify business opportunities leveraging smallsat constellations”, where I covered the basic Design Thinking framework and how to combine with Lean Business methodologies to leverage technology and identify the ideal customer and Business value to deliver a portfolio of use cases that can then be tested and business cases built around them.

Rather than a lecture, I run the webinar the way I facilitate workshops: using virtual whiteboards, engaging with the domain experts and participants, and demonstrating what a workshop dynamic where collaboration, rapid decision-making, and time-boxing are applied.

The greatest feedback I received was how some participants really understood what it meant to shift their thinking from technology-driven to business-driven, getting very concrete very quickly. To shift an engineering mindset from solution-thinking to one of customer-centric took some guided effort, but was totally worth it.

These principles apply to start-up companies, are useful in hackathons to identify use cases with lightning speed, but are also applied in some of the largest organisations in the world who embark on a tech-leveraged innovation and transformation journey. It’s what I do daily – and it is exciting to help the Space industry getting on board.

If you face similar challenges, or are interested in Business Transformation in the Space Industry, please get in touch – I’m always happy to discuss!

3D Cubesat Structure designs

I have no patience, so when it was time to get my 2D designs into 3D, I was looking for something fast.

Many years ago I knew how to use Maya, and I had started learning Blender, Solidworks, CATIA and Fusion360… but today I just didn’t have the patience to start the learning curve for a fully-flung 3D software.

For now, TinkerCAD seemed the fastest way to upload my 2D SVG’s to create an approximate visual of the two structure designs I’m working on.

Check them out!

HAB Model (Plywood, stratospheric). On the right, with PCB and batteries.
ED Model (aluminium, space-grade). Shown with four rods and spacers.