Insights from a 30-Year Career in Product Design w/ Mike Van Staagen

Solutionology Podcast: Ep #19 | 38 min


In this special episode, we got 30 years of wisdom from renowned product and aviation designer, Mike Van Staagen. Mike is extremely passionate about sharing what he’s learned on his professional journey which started with architecture and led to his current position as VP of Advanced Design and Development for Cirrus Aircraft.

Among Mike’s many career achievements, he helped to envision, design and lead teams for the best-selling Cirrus SR20/22 aircraft. He was also the creator and driving force behind the Cirrus SF50 Vision personal jet. If you’re looking for inspiration, take a listen!


  • 01:41 Thinking like an architect changes your perspective
  • 06:25 If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then models are worth 1,000 pictures
  • 07:33 Making bold moves can create bold results
  • 18:17 A design is never, ever finished
  • 20:11 Accidental discovery is a superpower, so create opportunities for it to happen
  • 25:56 Models and prototypes are the best possible ambassador for your design
  • 32:14 Polygon modelers are easy to manipulate and like having digital clay