Undertaking the quest for solutions together

Roel Truyen

Roel Truyen, Philips Healthcare - Clinical Science and Application, Director. Coach and supervisor of ST trainees on final projects.

'I first came into contact with the Software Technology (ST) designer program around eight years ago via my manager at Philips Healthcare. He asked if I would be interested in supervising PDEng trainees. Before then we had worked with PhD’s and Master’s students on a regular basis, but the design assignments for PDEng trainees are of a different caliber and that is something I found challenging. Together with a few of my colleagues, I supervise two to three trainees each year. Our department has now supervised more than ten trainees.

The nice thing about being a supervisor is the exploratory nature of the assignments. In the course of a design project the trainee joins us in the search for an answer to the question ‘what is it that we actually want?’ It is not just about the ‘how’ but also, and largely, about the ‘what’. It concerns projects that are not contained within our focus and for which we have no solution ourselves. The trainee’s solution is, therefore, often surprising. I find it interesting to take that journey towards a solution together.

A trainee has to be independent and socially competent. The trainee is expected to make contacts and build up a network. As a trainee you also learn to deal with conflicting input, to think from a variety of perspectives and to express your decisions in the right way. It may occasionally be tricky but it will certainly prepare you well for your work as a designer in industry.’