Published on: 05 March 2018

Auke Ferwerda: entrepreneurship with a prototyping mind-set

Auke Ferwerda: entrepreneurship with a prototyping mind-set

Tenant in the spotlight

Chris Beemster thought of the name in the late summer of 2007. That WEAREREASONABLEPEOPLE was the perfect fit for the company he started with Auke Ferwerda became clear much later. Reasoning, fairness and collaboration are important elements of WEAREREASONABLEPEOPLE. The company finds solutions for technical issues and design flaws for leading innovators such as Philips Lightning, ING and Port of Rotterdam. They always work in collaboration with the client.

How do you manage that? “By working very hard.”

Growth

Auke Ferwerda is Business Director and co-founder. In 3 years’ time, the company has grown 877%. During this period, they moved 3 times within the Groot Handelsgebouw. This year, Auke Ferwerda expects to be working with a team of about 50 people. Last year, their efforts earned them 8th place on Deloitte’s Fast50 list. How do you manage that? “By working very hard. We started the company in Kleinhandel. It was a nice work environment, but we never even touched the ping-pong table. The growth was never an aim in and of itself, but always a by-product of the desire to take on ever bigger projects.”

In search of a solution

“Customers often have a solution to their problem in mind. This is before establishing the correlation between the problem and the solution. We help customers define their issue. WEAREREASONABLEPEOPLE often uses prototyping to validate the solution. Not on paper, but with running systems.

“The big lessons are learned through failure, not through success.”

Prototyping mind-set

“People are often suspicious of prototyping. To be innovative, you have to be prepared to fail. If you are scared of falling when you are learning to ride a bicycle, you will never learn to cycle. You have to have that youthful impetuousness, knowing you will land softly. That is the essence of prototyping.”

Auke sees the prototyping mind-set as a way of running a business. “You have to give yourself the room to take risks. My story is one of 12 cities and 13 accidents. The big lessons are learned through failure, not through success. Our business culture is: we want to achieve something.”

www.wearereasonablepeople.nl | Unit C2.070
Photo: Antim Photography – www.antim.nl | Unit E1.174.2

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