Mentor Spotlight - Steve Fyke

Meet Steve Fyke - Design Strategy Mentor

January 27, 2021

Originally from Fort Erie, Steve came to Waterloo Region to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and he’s been in the region ever since.

When he graduated, Steve was offered a job at RIM where he worked a few different positions for nearly 15 years. During his time at RIM, Steve managed a small product development team that was focused on staying ahead of the industry. Steve’s team was responsible for major product innovations such as the first trackball integration and putting a QWERTY keyboard on a 5-key cellphone keyboard. It was during this time that Steve also became very well-versed with the patent system and was a member of RIM’s Expert Patent Committee.

When Steve was laid off from RIM, he took some time off from work. This break eventually led him to the Accelerator Centre in 2015 when he joined the team of mentors. Joining the AC made Steve realize that there was a need in Waterloo Region for Design Strategy consulting, which prompted him to start Snap Pea Design, a product design and development house that focuses on client needs.

Steve’s approach to product design is to deliver what you need and not what you want. He’s always looking to solve problems, but says companies often fixate on the problems they know. New businesses can have trouble stepping back and identifying problems that aren’t right in front of them. With both AC and Snap Pea clients, Steve challenges every assumption in the early stages of product development and will encourage discussions about how new products fit, or don’t fit. He believes every great product starts with an argument.

With AC clients, Steve uses a holistic approach to product development. He looks at the overall product experience from start to finish — he isn’t one to offer just UI or UX feedback. Steve’s approach is to take a look at marketing, advertising, the end user need, the story attached to the product and the overall experience. He easily adapts to clients to offer support at whatever stage they may be.

With 240 US patents, Steve’s been around the block. He rarely focuses on achievements or successes of the past, but rather looks forward to the next big problem to solve.

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