Tom Cobbenhagen

A business card and portfolio

Hey there.

I’man industrial entrepreneur.a manager of a inventor.a filmmaker.a geek.

I specialise in user-centred design and iterative design processes.

I am passionate about entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation.



Involving users in the iterative design process to ensure an intuitive solution with a high level of usability.


Always seeing business development opportunities and grasping it by the horns.


Being a creative individual who is not limited to graphical work and aesthetics, but also in decision making and finding solutions.


Being an active leader, managing all processes, without resorting to micromanaging.







Machine learning wastebin

Machine learning wastebin

Rotterdam 2018

Rotterdam 2018

Designing for a ritual

Designing for a ritual

Aesthetics of Interaction

Aesthetics of Interaction

Personalised Learning

Personalised Learning

Embodied Social Interaction

Embodied Social Interaction

Clue Clock

Clue Clock





SensUs promotional video

SensUs promotional video



Conduct 2016

Conduct 2016

The Past

Year 1 – Propedeutic Phase

A large part of the first year is pre-defined with little wiggle room available to its students. I was glad about that, as I had no idea how I wanted to develop myself as an Industrial Designer. I would say that this year had orientation as a main activity. By following introductory courses (such as From Idea To Design) that were based on the Reflective Transformative Design Process [1], I was introduced to the field of Industrial Design little by little. The results of these projects can be seen in my portfolio. After these preparatory courses, I managed to start with the development in a few competency areas, marking my readiness for Project 1.

A course that sparked my interest in the first year was ‘User-Centred Design’ by J. Terken. This was my first real introduction to Human-Centred Design, a term that was coined by a huge inspiration, Donald Norman [2]. During the course, I was not happy with the end results of the group’s project, which made it key for me to grab the course by its horns and learn as much as I could from that experience, as well as from the course itself. Mainly due to this course, I chose to follow the USE-line ‘Human In Technology’, a series of courses focused on Human-Centred Design and the psychology behind it.

The small ‘wiggle room’ in the propedeutic phase was mainly used to improve my competencies in Creativity and Aesthetics. By following the course ‘Exploratory Sketching’, I learned key skills in communicating ideas, one of the pillars of a design process. If I would not be able to explain my design clearly, miscommunications are certainly around the corner. A course that successfully connected with this thought, was ‘Visual Experience Design’, a course given by guest-lecturer Remco van de Craats, founder of institutes Edhv and Dutch Invertuals. During this course, I gained many skills within Creativity & Aesthetics that I still use to this day, even outside of my academic career.

Project 1 could be seen as the real start of my career as an Industrial Designer, where I worked on ‘Somnus’. This project helped me to gain knowledge in ‘Technology & Realisation’, as well as ‘Creativity & Aesthetics’, as the installation had to seem friendly and accommodating whilst it contained several forms of electronics. Furthermore, this experience was valuable in terms of leadership & teamwork, which made me realise at an early stage that this is a skill I have talent for. This was a large first step as a first-year Industrial Design-student, as I was thrown into the deep for both competency areas. In the end, the result was extremely satisfactory, with already having used skills from courses in the previous quartiles.

Year 2 – Research and deepening knowledge

My second year could have the competency area ‘User and Society’ as its motto. My USE-line ‘Human in Technology’ started and sparked my interest in the underlaying psychology of Industrial Design. With great joy, I followed all courses, resulting in a few research projects in office ergonomics, as well as analysing User-Centred improvements in language-learning for refugees; a completely different but interesting aspect of User-Centred Design.

Another motto one could apply to this year was ‘Research’. Many activities in this year were based on research. Wether it was literature or user-testing. As mentioned above, research was definitely a key element of my USE-line. Especially for the language-learning project, where we did desk research, but also held qualitative interviews with organisations such as Werkvloertaal (Helmond) and did user-testing of their current systems, in order to design an improved system. Evaluating whether the solutions are feasible, the competency of Business & Entrepreneurship show stark improvements. See ‘portfolio’ for results.

In projects 2 and 3, I learned in-depth how to conduct user-testing and use psychological trials to assess a user’s state of mind (such as the Stroop test [3]). Furthermore, I further explored the RTDP framework and got the opportunity to work on my competency areas. In Project 2, Technology & Realisation took the lead by being the main responsible for building the prototype, as well as researching technology to make the concept feasible. My Creativity & Aesthetics competency saw stark improvements in project 3, as it was in the Crafting Everyday Soft Things squad. The territory of this squad was completely unchartered territory for me, but has greatly improved my skills in this.

Furthermore, the second semester of Year 2 provided the preparatory course ‘Design <> Research’, Project 3: Design Research and Making Sense of Sensors, where the competency ‘Math, Data & Computing’ shone through, together with ‘User and Society’. In both the courses as well as the project, it was vital to process data, talk to users and use iterations of a prototype to do research.

Year 3 – An international event and Bachelor College courses

Bachelor College

In the first quartile of my third year, I had the option to go on an internship or abroad. However, I chose to stay at the TU/e and maintain aspirations to go on an internship or abroad in my master’s. The reason I did this will become clear under the subheading ‘Extracurricular’. During this quartile, I followed courses at other faculties, to broaden my knowledge and further improve upon my competency areas. This I found particularly crucial, as I felt that the TU/e had much more to offer than I experienced so far. By following the course ‘Introduction to Psychology & Technology’, I gained a great deal of insight into the science behind Computer-Human Interaction (CHI). Although this was only an introduction and not deepening, it made way for insights and using psychology as an inspiration for future projects and interactive prototypes. Although I find it difficult to place this course into one competency area, I feel like it relates the closest to ‘User and Society’.

Next to that, following a course ‘Technology Entrepeneurship’ gave an extraordinary boost to the competency ‘Business and Entrepeneurship’. Through hands-on projects, concrete examples and guest lectures, it became an enriching experience to mock the idea development within a start-up. By extensive literature and themed lectures, I gained a lot of knowledge that I was able to implement in a business I started, as well as future projects.

The course ‘Interactive Intelligent Products’ built further upon my explorations in the competency ‘Math, Data and Computing’, as it dealt with the construction and development of machine-learning. In the course, I received the resources, knowledge and opportunity of hands-on prototyping and development to build a machine-learning system. This was one of the most educative experiences, as this field of technology was completely unknown territory for me.


In the beginning of my third year, I had the option to go on an internship or abroad. However, I chose to stay at the TU/e and maintain aspirations to go on an internship or abroad in my master’s. The reason I did this, is because in this quartile a large-scale event would take place that I had been organising for about two years beforehand. This was Rotterdam 2018 – the 88th International Session of the European Youth Parliament. I have been a volunteer for the European Youth Parliament (EYP) since 2015, a debating organisation across the continent that allows young adults to debate, discover Europe and improve professional skills. The event took place in October 2018, where 300 people from all over Europe came together to debate about global issues and engage socially/culturally. I was on the Core Team of the organisation of the event. As the EYP is a non-profit organisation, the entire event had to be fundraised. To do this, we managed to raise 200,000 euros to organise this 11-day conference for all 300 participants.

Later this year, I also took a seat as EYP The Netherlands’ Secretary of the Board in the board-term of 2019-2020. I manage day-to-day tasks and oversee the organisation of multiple conferences in The Netherlands, as well as take care of our foundation’s policies and the upholding of our mission statement.

Furthermore, I joined the TU/e innovation Space. Currently, I take care of their graphical output, community management and give advice to student teams about design and User-Centred Design. Working in such a professional environment allows me to further build upon my professional skills; learning from experienced co-workers and developing competency areas such as ‘Business and Entrepeneurship’ by working closely with their educational programme and ‘Creativity and Aesthetics’ as my main task: To develop clear information and communication to the diverse array of target group the innovation Space has.


[1] Hummels, Caroline, and Joep Frens. "The reflective transformative design process." CHI'09 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2009.

[2] Norman, Donald A. The psychology of everyday things. Vol. 5. New York: Basic books, 1988.

[3] MacLeod, Colin M. "Half a century of research on the Stroop effect: an integrative review." Psychological bulletin 109.2 (1991): 163.

At the time of writing (June 2019), my Final Bachelor Project is finished and handed in. Through extensive field and desk research, I discovered that travellers on the Dutch railway network are often disoriented and lost when disembarking a train. They are aware of which station they are in, but not exactly where in that station. More importantly; the user is unaware of where they should go next. The lack of this knowledge often leads to the user trying to find the necessary information, which then could lead to them missing a train connection. OPWIS (Onboard Preparatory Wayfinding Information System) is a transparent display embedded into a train door’s window. During the journey, the display is turned off and functions just like a regular window. However, just before arrival at the station, this display shows routes through the station and real time travel information. This way, the user is trained to memorise a certain path to the transfer they are looking for, moments before actually having to wolk that path. As soon as the train doors open, the user knows what direction they need to go.

Below, I will evaluate the development of my competencies as per the Education Guide of the Department of Industrial Design [1].

– Creativity & Aesthetics

Although some skills, such as sketching skills, have not seen daylight in my FBP, other skills in this competency area have made up for that. For example, I have had the opportunity to increase my skill in 3D modelling (which had not been high, as this were remainders from high school) to recreate train stations in The Netherlands. Spending a lot of time researching and trying out how to create 3D models is a skill that I will benefit from greatly in the future, especially for the next time I will use 3D printing for rapid prototyping.

Much as the way I presented my concept in the final report, thanks to the course ‘Visual Experience Design’, given by guest lecturer Remco van de Craats (founder edhv and Dutch Invertuals). During the course, I learned how to bring across a concept or idea in such a way to convince a client. Next to that, a course such as ‘Design for Debate’ gave deep insight into pushing my own boundaries. Throughout that course, I learnt to look further than ‘out of the box’ by learning not to be afraid to step out of comfort zones in extreme cases. This did of course did not occur within my FBP, but I still pick the fruits from being able to that since having had that course.

A large part of C&A that went into my FBP was building the final prototype. It was important to make the user experience the prototype, rather than it being on a clinical display. To do this, a 1:1 scale mock-up of an actual train was provided by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen for us to use to showcase the designs. I spent quite some time to make sure the aesthetics of the final prototype were of high standards, planning and handcrafting the entire chassis and wall it was housed in, giving me a great deal of practical skills in the development of large scale prototyping.

– Technology & Realisation

I wanted to make sure my final prototype was of a high standard, by using a original approach to present the information. Combining my passion for technology and being able to think outside the box, I was able to build an expensive type of technology in a cheap way, due to my technical insight and expertise thereof (transparent displays).

By taking an active role in the prototyping part of almost all projects (1, 2 and 3) and several courses, I have managed to become very competent in this competency area. This shone through in my FBP, as I was able to quickly prototype a demonstrator or perfect a realistic-looking demonstrative prototype. My passion for technology paired with a capable set of hands meant the developed of a high-fidelity prototype that could almost easily be implemented by the client.

Through basic courses such as Creative Electronics and Creative Programming, I laid the groundwork for a good basis of knowledge in electronics in programming. Only to surpass and perfect this knowledge to a higher standard, with courses about Machine Learning (which will be explained in another competency area) and Interaction Design. The latter being an important course to work with designing systems and products, without resorting to semantics, but focusing on the interaction and the quality thereof.

– User & Society

This is by far the furthest developed competency area. Not only through the USE-line I took and thoroughly enjoyed, but also through courses such as “Introduction to Psychology & Technology” have greatly helped the process of my Final Bachelor Project. A recurring team from this course in my FBP is that a large part of the system is based on memory encoding and remembering shapes, structures and orientations.

At the beginning, a large questionnaire was conducted to try and reach multiple target groups of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen. As the target group for this project would be very wide, it was important to get both qualitative and quantitative data from the user. Later on in the process, to evaluate the usability of certain parts of the concept, the UEQ-method was applied (User Evaluation Questionnaire) [3]. Having conducted such a usability evaluation, I was able to make further design decisions in a next iteration that was based on quantitative data, which was a large step in my development.

– Business & Entrepeneurship

Next to my studies, I have also started a creativity agency. As of April 2017, I was registered at the Chamber of Commerce as a freelance filmmaker, which has now developed into a creative agency producing visuals, graphics and digital media.

Following the course ‘Technology Entrepeneurship’ gave an extraordinary boost to the competency ‘Business and Entrepeneurship’. Through hands-on projects, concrete examples and guest lectures, it became an enriching experience to mock the idea development within a start-up. By extensive literature and themed lectures, I gained a lot of knowledge. I was not able to focus on this competency within my Final Bachelor Project, but has already been well developed over the course of my entire Industrial Design career.

In my career as an Industrial Designer, I have been able to successfully construct business models, execute them (in a preparatory form) and evaluate their success. Next to that, in courses such as ‘Multidisciplinary Innovation’, I have learnt how to save a business model; propose amendments to a business model that may seem water tight, but

Lastly, the course ‘Interdisciplinary Innovation’ was different than I expected, but has contributed to this competency a great deal. In modern day society, privacy is an increasing right as well as a risk. In the course, I was able to show my skills regarding the building of value propositions and business models, but construct them around systems that could potentially violate a person’s privacy. Throughout this course, I learnt how to design systems in such a way that a user feels comfortable with such a system, but from a B&E point of view, all the different types of ways this data can be used in a value proposition.

– Math, Data & Computing

As mentioned in the competency of ‘User & Society’, I worked with the UEQ-method to evaluate the usability of a prototype. However, because there were three different types that would be compared with each other, statistics had to come into play. A Repeated Measures ANOVA with Pairwise Comparisons had to be run to analyse the data, to be able to make conclusions from the results. This was my very first introduction to statistics in general, which proved to be a very difficult nut to crack. A large part nearing the end of my FBP was spent on learning the basics of statistics and being able to analyse such a dataset; making sure that I do not make mistakes in the interpretation of the statistics, as well as making sure to apply the valid corrections to the set of data, such as to the assumption of sphericity.

Furthermore, I followed a course to become an intermediate at Machine Learning. With the resources made available by the course, we were able to construct a wastebin that would separate different types of waste, as well as learn from that. This to solve a societal and environmental problem of waste not being separated correctly. Before we got to this end-prototype, a lot of other assignments allowed us to develop our technical skills in machine learning; being able to craft a system to also recognise speech, facial expressions as well as music.

Basic courses, such as Calculus, Applied Physics and ‘Introduction to Modeling’, have contributed to the groundwork of this competency. Through these activities, I was able to understand the contents of deepening courses, as well as build further upon this groundwork.

– Design and Research Processes

In my bachelor’s degree, I have had many opportunities to involve in academic research, as well as user research and the development of concepts through iterative design processes. In my Final Bachelor Project, I made the use of the Double Diamond process [4] and followed it tightly. This made it easy for me to plan a timeline and conduct a strategy. By using an adapted version of this, with more detail and more steps, I could align my customer’s expectations much better with mine, by showing them what I would be able to offer them and which stages I would go through.

Furthermore, past courses (such as Human In Technology USE line) have made it possible for me to flourish in the field of academic research, but as I chose to conduct a Design Project, I did not write a paper. However, as part of the preparations of my Final Bachelor Project, I made sure to research the possibilities and current phenomena thoroughly.


[1] Department of Industrial Design. “Competency Framework.” Education Guide, Eindhoven University of Technology,

[2] Wensveen S.A.G., Djajadiningrat J.P., and Overbeeke C. J. "Interaction frogger: a design framework to couple action and function through feedback and feedforward." Proceedings of the 5th conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques. ACM, 2004.

[3] Laugwitz, Bettina, Held T., and Schrepp M. "Construction and evaluation of a user experience questionnaire." Symposium of the Austrian HCI and Usability Engineering Group. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2008.

[4] Nessler, Dan, and Dan Nessler. “How to Apply a Design Thinking, HCD, UX or Any Creative Process from Scratch.” Medium, Digital Experience Design, 19 May 2016,

The Future

After the graduation, my plans are to continue the spirit of Industrial Design by taking on the Master programme of Industrial Design at the TU/e. More specifically, I want to start a journey in the DLE-track (Design Leadership & Entrepeneurship). This is a logical next step, when looking at my past and professional identity.

After this journey, I plan to follow ‘Innovation Management’ at the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam). The reason this is at a different university, is that the focus is much different, with professors having a business-management background rather than a technical one. I think this would allow me to flourish even further in the field, as I would be able to identify myself with both backgrounds.

Concluding my education-career, I aspire a management/leadership function in a technological development firm. I see people such as David Kelley as a huge source of inspiration, looking at their contributions to the field and style of innovation development and management. By getting the industry’s knowledge in my bachelor’s degree and Industrial Design Leadership & Entrepeneurship as well as Innovation Management in my master’s degree, I would be well prepared to take on such a role.

Intuitive, rich-interaction and smart products in a completely digital world.


It’s hard to keep up; society is rapidly changing. Everything is becoming digital and connected to the internet. We speak of the “Digital Society”, but this phrasing would make it look like our society has came to be, only due to the developments of technology [1]. Would we want to define our society as such? I think it is inevitable, as the developments of technology do certainly have a long-lasting and positive impact on the world and continue to make us interact in many different ways. We also call ourselves ‘digital natives’, share everything on social media and look at our smartphones more than we look in the mirror. We have become hugely dependent on our smart phones [2] for entertainment, information provision as well as for social media.The increased usage of the smartphone has had many positive effects on us; we are able to stay in touch 24/7, we have the entire internet in our pocket and they make great moment-capturing devices. However, they do show a clear link with increased stress levels [3].

This is where I feel that devices such as the mobile phone are in a huge grey area. We have become so reliant on devices to present us with information through a small display, and we use it to interact with people around us too. I feel that there is a tendency for designers to be lazy. Many solutions to everyday problems end up being a mobile application, whilst the idea of such a solution could also be implemented in a rich interactive product. Many great solutions go lost in a simple form of UI design, hidden in an app store with billions of other apps.

The power of Industrial Design is that we devise systems and products that are intuitive to use; that engage you, that give you feedback or feedforward. Systems and products that do not use your full attention, but can give you information through your peripheral senses. My vision as a designer is to refrain from solutions ending up in simple forms of UI-design, but by developing smart ways of replacing the functions that a mobile phone have taken over. Instead of having our main focus on our device for entertainment or information, we should have multiple ways of getting to that information, without that process taking up all of our attention.



I have always had an intrinsic curiosity to explore. Whether it was to see the world, or by taking apart almost all electronic devices to see how they work inside. Next to that, I have always been a creative individual; from a young age I was already building websites, or simply solving everyday problems in creative ways. All of this, paired with a passion for technology and innovation, was the reason why I also chose to become an Industrial Designer.

User-Centred Design is a large aspect of my identity; in all concepts and ideas, I aim to include the user as much as possible. Paired with my vision, this an important aspect, as intuitively relates closely to usability, which is defined by the user. Through iterative design processes, such as the Reflective Transformative Design Process [4] or the Double Diamond process [5], I aspire to develop concepts which are intuitive and enriching to use.

I flourish as a team leader; not only in my studies, but also in professional circumstances I am comfortable and capable with taking the lead in the process. Managing tasks, managing team morale and taking on the responsibility are roles that I assign to naturally, which is why I aspire a master’s degree in Innovation Management, too.

I have an entrepreneurial mindset. I always seek new opportunities and challenges to be able to reach my goals. I hold a position in several different types of organisations where I can use as well as develop all of my professional skills. I run my own creative firm, which started off as a cinematography and photography firm and has expanded its reach within the first two years. In this line of business, I apply the same kind of User-Centred Design thinking to ensure a good customer-business relationship. Next to that, I am a secretary for a non-profit foundation (European Youth Parliament The Netherlands) which helped me develop my team leading skills, as well as cooperation, communication and strategy skills, as I am responsible for the upholding of the foundation’s mission statement and the development thereof.



[1] Martin, Allan. "Digital literacy and the “digital society”." Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices 30 (2008): 151-176.

[2] Ahn, Juyeon, and Yoonhyuk Jung. "The common sense of dependence on smartphone: A comparison between digital natives and digital immigrants." New Media & Society 18.7 (2016): 1236-1256.

[3] Vahedi, Zahra, and Alyssa Saiphoo. "The association between smartphone use, stress, and anxiety: A meta‐analytic review." Stress and Health 34.3 (2018): 347-358.

[4] Hummels, Caroline, and Joep Frens. "The reflective transformative design process." CHI'09 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2009.

[5] Nessler, Dan, and Dan Nessler. “How to Apply a Design Thinking, HCD, UX or Any Creative Process from Scratch.” Medium, Digital Experience Design, 19 May 2016,


Tom Cobbenhagen

Tom Cobbenhagen

084 884 0804

innovation Space 1.350, Groene Loper 10, Eindhoven





Master Industrial Design


Focusing on Design Leadership and Entrepreneurship.


Bachelor Industrial Design


Currently focused on Human-Centred Design and intuitive user experiences. My Final Bachelor Project is in cooperation with the Dutch Railway (NS).


English Language and Literature – Higher Level (HL)

International Baccalaureate

Bilingual Education (TTO) on VWO (Dutch University Preparatory Education)


Graduated in bilingual education (NL/EN) within the Dutch curriculum profile of N&T (Nature and Technology). Courses included in the profile where physics, chemistry, calculus, advanced mathematics, business management, European & international studies, Culture and art development, Science for public understanding as well as German.



Secretary of the Board


I took a seat in the 2019-2020 board of Stichting Europees Jeugdparlement Nederland as the secretary of the foundation. I am responsible for overseeing the management of multiple conferences, the foundation’s data administration, school recruitment as well as writing/maintaining policies and strategies of the organisation.


Student Assistant – Resources Cluster


The TU/e innovation Space is a community and facility that supports interdisciplinary hands-on education, engineering design and entrepreneurship. At this institute, I am responsible for a majority of its graphic formgiving and hands-on technical development on-site.




A small freelance creativity firm that I set up with a group of like-minded designers and developers through which we provide design and media productions.


Chief Media


I was the leader of a small team of ~10 people responsible for all the photographic content of the magazine. The UNiD magazine is released thrice a year, containing time-pieces about industrial design. Over the last few years, the magazine has featured interviews with remarkable people such as Donald Norman (author of Design of Everyday Things), Jamie Hyneman (Mythbusters) and Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine).


Project Manager


Project Manager for two years for the 88th International Conference of the European Youth Parliament that took place in Rotterdam in October 2018. The event hosted 300 participants from all over Europe that discussed issues and matters on a European and global level. This event was of high standing and supported by people such as Philips CEO Frans van Houten, former Prime-Minster Jan Peter Balkenende and many more.




A filmmaking business I started with two like-minded peers. During our teamwork we have worked with several organisations at the Eindhoven University of Technology, such as the Department of Industrial Design, Team FAST, Plugged Festival, Study Association CHEOPS and Study Association Lucid. The business later split up into two separate companies, one focusing on filmmaking and the other, my latest venture (KEI Creatief) on design.




Tom is a very pragmatic, efficient, and professional worker. He makes sure that he is able to do his work in a structured and well thought through way. He is also very strong at helping others and cooperating in teams. Tom makes sure his opinion is heard and he is not shy to reach out when he wants to implement changes or when he believes he can be of assistance. Tom has a practical view on problems and decisions, which makes him a very valuable asset when it comes to group work.



Tom delivers. And no matter what you would ask him to deliver, it will be of high quality. Often seen with a camera in his hand, he is used to looking at things from a different perspective and analysing what aesthetics means. This thirst for design is possibly only surpassed by his hunger for technology.


If you want to learn more, see my recommendations or connect with me, head over to my LinkedIn profile!