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27th January 2022

Our Design Team of the Year Interview | What Makes us Stand Out?

Ignys Design Team of the Year Interview 


Reflection, advice and the future

We recently won Design Team of the Year at Elektra. Perhaps you heard about it? Because we certainly haven’t stopped talking about it. Our business coach helped us create a monster video on our recent win, our recruitment drive and what makes us stand out. So, grab a coffee and have a good read.  

The writing below is taken from the video we made with Matt. Check out our YouTube channel to see our series of videos as they land, and a survey we did with our team. 

Download your 2022 Ignys brochure

The design team in the summer of 2021

First off. An introduction from Matt 

Matt Bull, MD of action coach in Loughborough “I’ve been working with Richard Fletcher and the team at Ignys for around 18 months now. They were recently awarded the global accolade of Design Team of the Year at the Elektra Awards, Electronics weekly. I’ve spent time with members of the team to ask them what winning the award means to them, what makes Ignys so great as a team and a place to work and what the future holds for Ignys.”

Can you tell me what winning the Elektra Design Team of the Year award means to you? 

Watch people’s reactions here

“It reflects the pride and the passion that we have within the business”

Richard Fletcher MD Ignys 20 years in the electronics industry

Richard Fletcher MD and Founder “I think winning is a validation within our industry. Elektra Awards are the electronics industry’s most prestigious awards and winning it shows that whilst we are in our own space and we are doing the right things, seeing that the industry respects and values that is a really big boost for us. It took a day for it to sink in and once it did, I was smiling from ear to ear. It reflects the pride and the passion that we have within the business. It reflects that we set out to do the right things and to do them in the right way. We always aim to ensure that we win, our employees win AND our customers win all at the same time. It’s that sense of pride that the team collectively have pulled together and are delivering fantastic work. Day after day. And creating some really great products.”  

“It means all the tireless effort has paid off…I had to shed a tear”

Stephen Keetley is our engineering manager who looks after the engineers and projects, ensuring everything runs on time and meets our customers’ satisfaction “It’s amazing to think that such a small business in the middle of the UK is now known and recognised in arguably the largest well-known electronics magazine in the UK. This is the start of some great things and testament to all the long hours and hard work put in by everyone. It means that all the tireless effort in the last year or two has paid off. To think that Richard started this just over 4 years ago in his bedroom is crazy. We’re now up to ten engineers and going from strength to strength, to think about the intense recruitment we’ve undergone, it’s a little business in Nottingham being recognised on the global scene with some very big names. I was there at the awards on the night, and I had to shed a tear; there was nothing greater than to accept that award on behalf of Ignys. It was a tireless effort from the engineers and the management team to get to this level.”  

Poppy Sinclair, Sales Manager at Ignys (left), and Stephen Keetley (second from right) accepting the award

Our customers helped us to become Design Team of the Year 

Poppy Sinclair “I’m the sales manager so I am usually the first port of call, along with my sales colleague Sadia, and I help you find out what you need and if we are a suitable fit to help you. Winning the award is a huge honour for us. We’ve only being going for 4 years so it’s a big achievement to get an award like Design Team of the Year. It shows how hard everyone has been working, how passionate we all are and it’s obviously a great thing for us to shout about when we are talking to people, especially to our existing clients, who actually helped us become Design Team of the Year.”   

Related Article: Meet Our Team

“It’s really nice to have our hard work vindicated”

Steven Richardson, Senior Electronics Engineer says “I mainly deal with the hardware projects that come in. Winning the Design Team award was absolutely wonderful news. We work so hard at Ignys to be the best, to deliver on what the customer wants, to get them the best solution possible. It’s a really prestigious award to win and it’s really nice to have that hard work vindicated. 

“To see that global recognition is absolutely incredible”

Hannah Ingram Marketing Manager: “It’s huge for us to be honest, I got a text from Poppy on the day saying we’d won, I couldn’t quite believe it. She was there with Stephen when the award was called, and I can only imagine how amazing that moment must have been. I know they were both bowled over by it. For me joining this business I felt an electricity from the start, I knew the people and business here were something very special and unique. So, to see that global recognition in the Elektra Awards, a huge award in the electronics industry, is absolutely incredible.”  

“We’re creative problem solvers” 

John McCrea Marketing Executive “It’s testament to the business that whilst we are still fairly new as a business, we have won such a massive award in the electronics industry. It shows how far we’ve come. It shows that we are trusted and respected. We’re creative problem-solvers and we get the job done.” 

Related Services: The problems we solve 

A wonderful surprise as a new starter 

Jason Jibrail specialising in FPGA design, software defined radio and software architecture. “Winning the Design Team of the Year was a surprise, being a brand-new starter, I didn’t know we’d entered, and it was a wonderful surprise to know that I’ve joined this new team and they are already accredited and recognised. It gives that extra level of confidence that you get from an external award, it’s really nice to know that I’m part of a winning team.” 

We have room to express our individuality 

Elias Jesus “It is a great recognition for all the work that has been done both individually and as a team. We do work nicely in a collaborative way, and winning this award shows we are moving in the right direction. We are doing the right thing by working together as a team but work in such a way that we have room to express our individuality still. Working together reflects itself in the progress we make as a team. That was fantastic recognition which proves to us that the more we work as a team the greater successes we’ll achieve.”  

More thoughts on the award 

John Crouchley, Firmware Engineer “Ignys is always changing for the better, it is nice to see that recognised. Different challenges are exciting.” 

Toby Lane Hardware Engineer “I haven’t been at the company for that long yet, but it is fantastic to see how ecstatic everyone is to receive Design Team of the Year. It really goes to show just how hard everyone works, and that that really can pay off!” 

How has the business changed from your perspective since you joined, to where it’s now internationally recognised?  

The cupboard 

Richard “I started Ignys as most businesses start, in your downstairs bedroom, in July 2017, full of lab kit and working away and I soon realised that there was lots of demand for electronics design and software development services. I started to employ people including our first engineer Steven Richardson and moved into a small premises within Nottingham University, which was a great starting point. We had to fill that small room with furniture, so it didn’t look like we were so small! So people didn’t see us as a one-man band. We quickly outgrew that little office, and our lab was lovingly called ‘The Cupboard.’  

Adapting to change 

“In the end we had got more people than desks, so people had to work at home by necessity rather than by choice. It was a very close relationship; we were almost sat on top of each other. We had grown to 7-8 people by that point, and we had to move premises in order to grow. We moved from there into our current premises, on Nottingham Science Park, in March 2020 which is an interesting date because we moved in 2 weeks before Boris decided to lock the country down. We managed to move in, dump all the stuff in the offices and then move out and Work From Home. To some extent we are still moving into the building currently as a result even though we have been here for quite a while. We’ve now grown to 16 people and still going so we have a bunch of engineers delivering on both the hardware and software side of projects, but we also have sales and marketing departments and bookkeeping. We’ve put in structure and processes; we are evolving all the time so we can reliably continue to grow and have quality procedures around it. For the next few years, we have quite ambitious plans to continue our growth.” 

IPC training session for our hardware engineers

Delivering high-quality engineering from day 1 

Matt “Steven you’ve been with the business since just after its inception, how has the business changed since you joined?” 

Steven “The company has gone through so much growth in the 4 years I have been there. I was the first employee to join, and it was a really great idea for Richard to set up Ignys because there is a lot of engineering out there that needs to be done properly. That was the goal from day 1 – to deliver good engineering and over the years we’ve pulled together an amazing team, we’ve hired the right people at the right time, we’ve grown well, we’ve not suffered overly from growing pains which has been remarkable from a management sense. And as a small business we’ve got the right people to do the right jobs and deliver high-quality engineering to all of our customers.” 

We’ve levelled up massively as a design team

Poppy “I joined 2 and a half years ago. When I started, we were in a very small office in a University Park building; now we’ve got our own office and two labs. The team has grown, I think all 3 departments technical, sales and marketing have all doubled this year, over the pandemic, so our team is now totally different in size. We’ve been levelling up massively and everyone has been working really hard.”  

Ignys Ltd Electronics Design consultancy Nottingham Science Park

The home of Ignys design team

Everyone brings something truly unique to the table 

Hannah “I joined in June 2020 very much in the midst of the pandemic, so the onboarding process was interesting, but hugely welcoming. When I joined there was just 8 of us, there are now 16 so we have affectively doubled in size. I’ve seen us grow as a business in terms of our processes, we’ve grown our sales and marketing side into a team of 4 highly creative people. It’s been great seeing all the different characters come in, everyone brings something truly unique to the table, in their personalities as well as their skillsets, so that’s been an amazing journey for us as a design team.” 

Transformational Change 

Stephen K joined in the Autumn of 2020 “Over the year I have been here I have seen a transformational change. From being 5 or so engineers and 8 people in total, managing the smaller ends of the projects, we have grown so far through to the professionalism that we now have. We have strategies in place to do development, we have quarterly goals, we have a strategic outcome for the next ten years and next 3 years of direction to always have that clear visibility on where we are going and what we are about, at our core. We’ve instilled values and some real, professional aspects to the business. Going from ‘little old Ignys’ to almost Big Ignys. And really starting to get recognised globally is only going to help with that. It’s regimenting it a little bit and following some of these best practices for growth which has been important over the last year; which I and the rest of the management team have helped in making that happen along with the dedication of our engineering team.”  

What Makes Ignys Stand Out?  

Matt Action Coach “Winning an award is hard enough and a big enough achievement let alone Design Team of the Year, what do you think it is about Ignys that made you stand out?” 

The People, Mutual Wins and Great Quality Engineering 

Steven “We aim to deliver high-quality engineering, we have stringent review processes, we work collaboratively together in the team, everything gets passed from person to person to make sure that it meets that top level of quality. We have everything set up at the front, we have the templates, we have the process, we have great engineers. If you are working in a one-man band this often leads you to get trapped in your own engineering mistakes so having that resource to be able to pull on, engineers have different skills and better capabilities. There is always someone who can help, always someone who can drive your project to the next level. It basically means we can give the customer the best engineering service possible.” 

Related Service: Design Reviews

Diversification is key 

Stephen K “The diversification of our team is absolutely key for us. We have a mixture of hardware and software engineers but now we adapt to our environment, we really understand what the customers want and need. We help ourselves work with our customers and always strive to remain open and honest at all times. For example, people who aren’t ready for us right now but may be later, we can help them in another way or point them in the right direction. We are about helping and being honest with customers and delivering that passionate attitude that we have with people. And you can’t really do that without having a diverse culture, ethics and everything that comes with People. We’ve got engineers that are quite reserved and very skilled, much louder engineers, we’ve got every personality you can think of. We have quality engineers that are all individuals here at Ignys which is great.  

Our company values

Innovation with a Heart 

Hannah “Our software and hardware mix and our specialisms combined set us apart, but also our softer side. Our Innovation with a Heart company values, where we actively turn down projects that harm people, animals and the environment is something that attracts people to us. We also take great pride on taking on projects that make the world a better place, whether that’s entertainment, helping people’s lives to become easier or actively helping the environment. For me it’s huge that through my job I am actively changing the world.”  

Our Open Honest Approach and Ambition 

Richard “Our open and honest approach. I think with Ignys we set out to do what we say we are going to do, there’s a very strong tendency in the world of engineering to ignore the outside world and carry on doing ‘some stuff.’ When things don’t go right it’s about that communication, it’s not going quiet and continuing to talk to customers even if it isn’t going swimmingly, so they always know where they are in terms of their project and always enjoy close collaboration with us. We find recruitment very difficult because we only employ top people and won’t settle for people who lack the passion and drive needed to create mutual wins as part of this award winning team. 

Capable Intelligent People  

Jason “From the short time that I have been here Ignys seems to be made of very capable, intelligent people, both engineers and managers, everyone is incredibly committed to what they do and they all seem to really enjoy their work. I think that that really embodies what makes a good design team and that sort of pride and diligence comes through in the excellence of the work we do.”  

Our Morals and our Values 

Poppy “I think our morals and our values are so core to what we do and I think that is really reflected when we are interacting with customers, when we are actually doing the work with them as well as our general presence in the world. We really care about what we do, we are really passionate, we work on projects that we believe in and I think that has been our secret to success.  

Our rapid progress 

Elias “Our rapid progress overall as a team, from the scale of the projects we are taking on to the amount of content we produce” 

What does the future hold for Ignys? 

A crazy beautiful vision 

Hannah “I love our crazy vision! Where we are going, our plans are absolutely massive, so the future means stepping up, really growing the consultancy side of the business, along with a number of exciting plans up our sleeves for the next few years” 

Expansion to give people the tools they need worldwide 

Richard “The future holds continued growth in the side of the consultancy and will also see us expanding into tools and other ways to help people develop products. We can’t directly help every person that we want to, globally, to develop a product, there isn’t enough of us and there never will be, so we are going to develop ways to help many people do this themselves or with our support. Through tools, techniques and services meaning other people can get the benefit. In addition we do get off-the-wall enquiries asking if we want to jointly develop a product and for the right opportunities we’d love to expand to be able to do this. In fact we have started doing this already on a couple of projects.  

These expansions are great for the team, it’s great for the business, it shows that we do what we say we are going to do, and we can get the results. We set the Vision for us to be in 20 different technology-based cities around the world, because innovation is a global business. Sitting in Nottingham is great but being around the world in various places would level us up significantly to take us to the next stage.” 

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The Midlands, the UK, and the World’s Best Consultancy 

Stephen K “We are currently going through a stability phase, we are growing rapidly, we’ve doubled in size over the course of the year, this has been during the pandemic which is not easy. Whilst other people are having to make cuts we are still growing which shows you our strength, it shows you our direction and our passion for growth. Where are we going? We want to be the Midlands best, the UK’s best and then the world’s best and that’s the easiest way of saying that. We strive constantly to achieve more; we have a passionate leadership team who can do that and leaders within the business. We don’t just have engineers who work on projects, people who do things. We have leaders and grow leaders within the business. This pushes us on with our development, we want to be recognised on a global scale, people come to us because they know we can help. Word gets around. Maybe we can develop a graduate scheme in the future where we have people coming in who want to work at Ignys. We want to become an employer of choice, which is already happening, we are not just a ‘next’ job to someone. People want to work for us because we’re Ignys and I think that’s where we want to be.”  

Growth is the big word 

Jason “Growth. I think is probably the big word. Ignys has roughly doubled in size in the past year, there seems to be lots of plans for a larger team and much bigger projects as well as other interesting endeavours, so onwards and upwards.”  

The end goal will always be high quality engineering 

Steven “At the current rate, a lot more people, a lot more projects, bigger projects. The growth over the last year has been exponential. We’ve seen more people in, we’ve been able to help more people, we are continuing the growth by adding quality engineers, it makes recruitment more difficult, but we make it work. We find the culture fit and people who are passionate about electronics and we keep going, we introduce new services so we can better help our customers. The end goal will always be high quality engineering. The aim is not to dilute that by just adding more people for the sake of it. So, getting those right people in, working with customers to deliver our services to them, utilising and strengthening our close partnerships with external companies to offer things we can’t do in-house all help. Ultimately just growing and being that resource out there for people to really get what they want out of a design service. 

Striking out into a bright future 

John M “We’ve got big growth ambitions, we want to really strike out into the market, we’ve got a solid base, certainly since the business was started a few years ago, I think the future’s bright. Winning an award, especially at the Elektra Awards, it shows we are an established name, we’re getting our name out there, people are starting to notice us, we’re not just little Ignys anymore.” 

If anyone is reading this thinking I’d like to work for Ignys what would you say? 

Matt “The journey Ignys has been on is truly inspirational. What would you say to someone who wants to join the team?” 

Do you have the right passion to join this design team? 

Stephen K “Have a think about where you are right now and where you want to be. Do you want to have a fun place which has lots of technologies, where you have a lot of freedom and be quite agile in how you work without the usual draconian ways of ‘This is how you do things.’ It depends on where you are in your path and your journey. If you are someone who likes that guidance and likes that mentorship and freedom, then Ignys might be something for you. But you have to be a leader, to be passionate, have that attitude: That you want to do well and do well for the business as a part of our Mutual Wins culture. You need to have that ability to accept the freedom we offer. The consultancy route isn’t for everybody but it’s definitely fun it keeps you on your edge, it’s very edgy to some extent, you get to see a lot of different technologies, a lot of emerging technologies and it keeps you very fresh and we are not a business who has this standard management style, we like to create freedom, we like to empower people, we like to create autonomy with people which is very important to make sure they can run as free as they can because if you do that then we deliver the best quality work.”  

How to apply: our careers page 

Do you want variety in your work? 

Matt “You’ve built an amazing business, a high growth business, yet maintaining the core sense of purpose. If anyone is watching this and thinking ‘I fancy finding out a bit more about this team as I’d like to work there’ what would you say to them? 

Richard “If you are interested in joining Ignys check out our website and find out what we are about especially our company values. We know what we are about and where we are going. If you are ambitious and want to work hard and enjoy variety in the industry, through your work, then get in touch, even if we do not have an active vacancy on our careers page. If you are the right person for the business, we may well be able to make you a role to fit. We are very ambitious but we are also quite dynamic so we can juggle things around and accommodate where we can. However, you have to be a good credible person.  

It’s a great company to work for, for a million reasons 

Hannah “I’d say it’s a great place to work, it’s very welcoming, in fact many of our staff comment on how inclusive we were from the start, we hear this time and time again. We also have it written into our values, the importance of life outside work. We care about the mental health of our staff. There’s a great community spirit here. We meet up as a whole team fortnightly to share updates and projects and have our infamous coffee chats on a Wednesday morning, usually virtually at the moment as you can imagine! To just catch up between us all and keep that bond between us. Do sign up if you are interesting. Send us a CV to”  

Poppy “100% join. It’s a great company to work for, for a million reasons. My biggest bit of advice would be making sure you are aligned with our values, that we’re the kind of place you want to work.” 

We’re a very open business 

Steven “Reach out to us we are a very open business. We are often hiring so we nearly always have positions to fill, but if you have the passion, the drive and the skillset I’m sure you will be welcomed at Ignys. We are always growing, we’ve got work coming in and more people can only give us more time to do extra projects.” 

John M “Go for it. Give us a call if you have the right technical skills. There’s a great culture here. There’s a very can-do attitude. We are very creative. We are problem solvers.” 

Daniel Szlamp Design Engineer- “Working at Ignys means interesting challenges and fantastically knowledgeable people.”  

Seamlessly welcomed and wonderfully interesting work 

Jason “Join. It’s a wonderful team. They’ve made me feel incredibly welcome. The work that I have started doing is already wonderfully interesting and there looks like there is going to be a great future here.” 

Elias “Get in touch and let them know that we do work mostly as a team. Each individual is important, but the overall success is a joint achievement.  

What inspired our newcomers to join  

John McCrea Joined December 2021 – “The range of projects they do here at Ignys is so varied. It’s a really talented bunch of people that can turn their hand to anything, we have loads of experts in-house and actually from a marketing perspective that’s a dream because you’ve got so much to work with.”  

Jason Joined November 2021 “I particularly like the idea of joining a smaller company where you are a large part of the company itself, you can have a large amount of impact in everything that you do, it feels much nicer to be close to the work and have a 1 to 1 relationship with your colleagues rather than being part of a large monolithic organisation which can be a bit faceless at times. You are accountable and responsible for your own work. 

What was it like to join Team Ignys? 

Elias Joined 6 months ago “I saw early on that we work as a team with a lot of knowledge sharing with a real focus on growing together, we do help each other a lot. This inspires me to be part of a team rather than just working as an individual engineer.”  

To our current customers 

Thank you for helping us become Elektra Design Team of the Year and sharing your amazing projects with us.

Stephen K “Thank you for your help, understanding and focus towards the common goal of developing innovative products. It’s what I enjoy the most about working for Ignys.” 

Daniel Szlamp “It’s been great working with you all” 

John C – “There is nothing more satisfying than a happy customer.” 

Elias “It was amazing to have had the opportunity of playing a role on your projects and contribute to your success.” 

To our future customers 

Steven “Give Ignys a call because realistically we can do anything from the ground up. Talk to us about existing projects you’ve currently got questions about, we can do design reviews for your ongoing projects, look at design for availability to tackle the component shortage issues which I know everybody is suffering with. We can offer a service no matter what level you are at yourself whether you have an idea on the back on an envelope or you are a multi-national company who has got a fleet of your own engineers, and you are struggling to meet the demands of the time pressures you are under, we can help, big projects or small projects. Whether you are an engineer yourself or completely new to electronic product development, we offer something for everyone. 

Related Service: Feasibility Studies

What does the future hold for you personally? How excited are you? 

A force for creativity 

Richard “I love it. I think we could really go somewhere and help a lot of people. And that’s both through the internal team as we grow and create great opportunities, and it’s also all of the companies that we touch and help through our work. I see Ignys as a force for creativity that someone has that idea but can’t unlock it. We help with that. There is nothing like seeing a Thing that you’ve designed and developed being in front of you or better still on the TV being sold. We’ve seen some TV adverts for a product that we worked on and the amount of Slack messages that we get out of hours going ‘we worked on that have you seen the thing?’ It just fills you full of pride and satisfaction from doing the job in a way that means it’s done professionally, properly and without taking away from people. We don’t use engineers by overworking them and not valuing them, we make sure they feel valued and have a progression route. Not doing it at the cost of someone.”  

Poppy “Big things. We are all very driven and ambitious, sometimes a little too ambitious, so I think we are going to keep on growing and developing as well as branching out into other areas within the industry. Watch this space.”  

Be pushed to be the best version of yourself 

Hannah “I have never worked somewhere where I have felt so included in the business. They really push me here, I can’t stand still as a person, they constantly push me outside my comfort zone to grow and as a result I’ve seen huge personal growth, constantly learning, constantly growing as a human being. I think that push to be better in yourself, not just in terms of working harder but your full potential, I think that’s really strong here.” 

Matt closing comments to Richard and the team: “It is no mean feat to be running a business at the moment let alone achieving the results which you are achieving. The awards are an acknowledgement of the work that you’ve all done, it’s been a tough 18 months, however the growth at Ignys is nothing short of remarkable. So congratulations on my behalf and I wish you all the success moving forward.” 

Congratulations from Matt 

To Matt. “Thank you for doing this video for us!”

Keep your eyes out for our upcoming video series on our YouTube channel.