Laszlo Sztana

Innovation Manager- Zalando, Owner- LSD


Laszlo Sztana is an industrial designer highly invested in digital fabrication and rapid prototyping. He is currently working as Innovation Manager at Zalando where he is part of the "Slingshot" team, the company's internal accelerator for bottom-up innovation. He guides people through the innovation process using techniques such as Design Thinking, User Research, and Prototyping. He started his career as a Lab Manager at Fab Lab Berlin where he has been working with laser cutters, CNC machines and 3D printers.


Laszlo is a citizen of the world having worked and lived in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Bruxelles, and London, among others. He speaks four languages ​​and holds a bachelor's degree in Industrial and Product Design from Brunel University London.

Citizen of the World

What led you to this career?

There are pictures of me as a one year old, playing with an orbital sander (unplugged, of course). I’ve always loved building stuff, fixing stuff, and occasionally braking stuff. A career where I get to experiment and attempt to create something new just seamed like a natural choice.

What’s the greatest challenge you regularly face in your work?

Expectation management. When working with new technologies, people often overestimate what is currently feasible, and the time commitment it takes to get things done.

What did you do at work yesterday? What’s a typical day for you?

Yesterday was a busy day! I gave a workshop on Design Sprint methodologies, conducted some user interviews, and laser cut some awards out of acrylic.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently professionally speaking?

So far, nothing! I’ve managed to gather a lot of information and experience regarding innovation, user centred design and emerging technologies. All topics I find fascinating.

What’s your next big dream/project?

I would like to work with more Innovation Labs, working on some crazy new technologies and looking how they could solve user pains in the long run.

 

Someone who inspires you?

Adam Savage. He’s got the knowledge, skills and tools to build so much awesome stuff!

A good book you recently read?

To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell. Also enjoy a good dystopian novel, every now and again.

A sport/activity/hobby that helps you stay balanced?

I’m not big into sports, but I like to cycle everywhere.

Any music that helps you be creative/effective?

Depends on my mood, but I always listen to something while I’m working.

Stories to READ/WATCH

Pioneering Spirit

What led you to this career?

After getting a degree in clothing engineering, I was still interested in fashion and technology but couldn’t see myself working in the traditional clothing industry. I was really fascinated by electronics and digital manufacturing and started creating my own designs. I started a little more than two years ago and now I have my own studio in Berlin with tools like a 3D printer and soldering station to a traditional sewing machine and mannequin.

What’s the greatest challenge you regularly face in your work?

I’d love to learn so much more about certain creative tools, electronics and software. Technology is evolving very fast and it’s important to keep up with it. But in the end there’s only so much I can learn and focus on. For that reason it’s great to collaborate with other specialists.

What did you do at work yesterday? What’s a typical day for you?

Most days are pretty different depending on the project I’m working on. But checking emails and paperwork are as much part of my routine as researching the latest technologies and working on new designs. That’s what I really enjoy about being a freelancer; working on very different projects, traveling and meeting interesting people.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently professionally speaking?

I wish I’d have had a nice portfolio before starting my professional career but everything happened faster than expected. I had many inquiries to show my projects but in the end not enough designs.

What’s your next big dream/project?

A new design I’m currently working on. I had the idea in mind for a long time already and now it finally comes together.

 

Someone who inspires you?

I really enjoy watching Boston Dynamics Robots running and doing back flips. That’s very inspiring.

A good book you recently read?

I always enjoy reading Scandinavian crime stories.

A sport/activity/hobby that helps you stay balanced?

It’s great to bike everywhere within the city.

Any music that helps you be creative/effective?

Music depends on the mood but doesn’t necessary help me with being creative and/or effective. I need it to be quiet around me when I need to focus.

Stories to READ/WATCH

Lina Wassong

Engineer, Author, Designer

Berlin-based engineer, Lina Wassong, is a pioneer in integrating digital fabrication and electronics into fashion. She has designed impressive pieces using 3D printing, laser cutting, and infrared sensing technology. Through her work, she wants to make more emotional and appealing.

She is Supervisor Interfacelab at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Prior to this, she worked as a designer in residence at ElektroCouture. She also studied and lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She holds a degree in Clothing Engineering from Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.

She is also the author of three books on electronics and programming for well-known publishers like Make and O'Reilly.

Florian Reichle

Founder & CEO, Trinckle 3D


Florian Reichle is CEO and co-founder of trinckle 3D, Germany's first Online 3D Printing Platform. Founded in 2013, trinckle 3D.


Prior to founding trinckle 3D, Florian taught and conducted research at ESCP Europe Business School on the reorganization and digitalization of industrial value chains. He holds degrees in finance and management from the Free University of Berlin and the School of Economics and Management at Lund (Sweden).

Trinckle 3D brings product configuration and design automation to a whole new level. By enabling customer-specific adaptation of any product and automating complex design tasks, it eliminates the need for CAD know-how.

The Builder

What led you to this career?

Ha! Ha! Career sounds so smooth and successful. I think my “career” is not exactly what people have in mind when thinking about a more traditional career. It’s better to describe what drives me.

I like to talk a lot about ideas, visions and actions to improve the current status. But I find it very unsatisfactory to just talk and not do anything. I’m a big fan of getting things done. One of the best ways to do so is building something by yourself.

I got to know some of the founders in the berlin startup scene. It was inspiring to see how fast and big some young people were able to build their company.

So when I met these two physicists (my two co-founders today) who told me about 3D printing, I knew that was our chance to get something done. Although we were a little bit early with our idea, we stayed the course and ended up benefiting from that learning period.

What’s the greatest challenge you regularly face in your work?

I always thought that the biggest challenge was raising enough money. But today I think that the most important part is having good employees and creating a very productive and motivating working environment. With good people almost nothing can go really wrong.

What did you do at work yesterday? What’s a typical day for you?

Yesterday I flew to Chicago, so it was not a very representative day. A typical day is quite unspectacular: many mails, calls, meetings, etc. It is therefore very dangerous to lose yourself in the many small tasks and the operative business.

I really push myself to discuss together with my team what are the real goals and important projects. I also take the time to having honest talks with some important customers. There is nothing more valuable than customers who provide honest feedback. It can be sometimes difficult to hear, but it helps me to better understand their needs and improve our product.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently professionally speaking

I would be less risk-averse and work and act with more courage. If you want to build your big dream you cannot lose yourself in the small details of your website or of your terms and conditions (AGB).

 

What’s your next big dream/project?

Ha! Ha! My company is still my big project! Since the business is about to take off, it seems like it will stay my big project for a while. When I start something I need to concentrate fully on that.

 

Someone who inspires you?

Ehssan Dariani, the founder of studivz. I met him in the very early days of studivz. At the time his project seemed impossible to me. But he proved me wrong.

My Mom also inspires me since she gets things done.

A good book you recently read?

I had a lot of fun with Martin Suter’s Abschalten- Die Business Class macht Ferien. It contains many short stories describing how serious managers try to go on vacations often with their family. It is a pleasure to read. For me it reminds us not to take business too seriously and not forget to take nice vacations.

A sport/activity/hobby that helps you stay balanced?

Cycling in the nature and climbing. When you hang on a wall you have nothing in your head except than the next move.

Any music that helps you be creative/effective?

Unfortunately I am not able to listen to music when working. I need a clear mind and no distractions. I prefer listening to music to relax and party.

Stories to READ/WATCH

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