Meet Rob Hamblen, Co-Founder at Takes, Founder at Leap:
Rob Hamblen boasts nearly three decades of expertise, commencing as a visual designer before diving into the nascent realm of mobile design pre-iPhone era. His career path traversed roles at Qualcomm, freelance collaborations with tech giants like Vodafone, and a stint as Creative Director of UX at IBM in Dubai.
As a pivotal figure at AJ and Smart, Rob revolutionized product design sprints, partnering with global titans like Twitter and Adidas. Founding “Be The Leap,” his Berlin-based agency, Rob blends enterprise design thinking with rapid innovation, delivering end-to-end solutions that redefine business strategies.
As an entrepreneurial visionary, Rob Hamblen continues to drive innovation, shaping the landscape of design and technology with his forward-thinking approach and a passion for transformative solutions.
Listen Up: Rob Hamblen, Co-Founder at Takes, Founder at Leap — Full Podcast Episode on Spotify
Watch Now: Vit’s In-Depth Talk with Rob Hamblen
Quick Read: Rob Hamblen, Co-Founder at Takes, Founder at Leap, Interview Highlights
In the latest episode of the Default Global Podcast, I, Vit Koval, had the pleasure of interviewing Rob Hamblen, Co-Founder at Takes and Founder at Leap. Hamblen, a seasoned design expert with a three-decade-long career, shared valuable insights into his entrepreneurial journey, the impact of design thinking, and the potential of artificial intelligence in design.
Journey to Entrepreneurship
Hamblen’s journey is a testament to his adaptability and foresight. He began as a traditional graphic designer before transitioning into mobile design in the early 2000s. Despite the challenges, he recognized the potential of mobile technology, which has significantly shaped his career. Having worked with Snapdragon, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, IBM, and more, Hamblen eventually founded his own agency, Leap, which combines enterprise design thinking with a rapid innovation framework.
Design Thinking and Its Impact
When asked about design thinking, Hamblen clarified that it’s about empathizing with customers and understanding their pain points. With design thinking, businesses can create more customer-centric solutions, benefiting both parties. As an example, he cited a project with local government healthcare in Dubai, where design thinking helped save hundreds of millions of dollars by creating digital customer experiences for diabetes and pregnancy care.
Attracting Big Clients
Hamblen attributed Leap’s success with major clients like American Express and Santander to relationship building and reputation management. He emphasized the importance of being efficient, reliable, and transparent, which encourages clients to return and to recommend the agency to others. Hamblen also noted that being a boutique agency, they are currently focused on growth experiments and expanding their network.
The Role of AI in Design
Discussing AI’s impact on design, Hamblen acknowledged that AI tools like chat GPT have transformed certain aspects of design. However, he asserted that the human element in design can never be fully replaced by AI. Hamblen believes that AI will heighten the importance of human connection and conversations, making them more prominent and relevant.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Designers
Hamblen’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and designers is to focus more on being human and knowledgeable. In a world increasingly reliant on AI, authentic human conversations and a deep understanding of one’s craft will become even more valuable.
In conclusion, Hamblen’s insights highlighted the significant role of design thinking, relationship building, and the human element in entrepreneurship. His journey from a traditional graphic designer to a global entrepreneur serves as an inspiration for many in the field.