It was 1998 and as a self employed contract trainer/facilitator, Rob was travelling the country delivering various training programmes both for himself and other companies.

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The Realisation

During this time he was delivering programmes on the subject of Customer Service for a large training provider.  As part of the trainers kit, they were supplied with printed flip charts. They were simply designed, mostly words rather than graphics and in black only print, no colour. In use, Rob was amazed how effective these printed flip charts were and set about finding a way he could afford to produce his own pre-printed flip charts.

In 2003 he was able to start up in a very small way, producing pre-printed flip charts in his back garden office. Having produced these for himself, it wasn’t long before colleagues working with Rob got interested in the pre-printed flip chart, and so he ended up producing some for them as well.

Something Missing

Having used countless conference and training rooms in different parts of the UK, it struck Rob how much the equipment for the trainers varied from location to location. One thing in particular, was the lack of flip chart stands, or, if they were available, what state they would be in. Missing clamp bars or hooks to put your flip chart on, or even missing legs meaning it had to be propped up on a wall.

It started Rob sketching and developing his initial ideas for a Buddy Board (it was always going to be called this). It came out of a need to be in control of the equipment and materials he took with him to a training session.

The Design

One of the first major design guides was to get away from traditional legs on a flip chart easel, too many times Rob had tripped over them, this was critical.

The initial designs started back in 2003 and were based on a wooden construction. Over the years, Rob redesigned and attempted to find a way to make it more light-weight and practical.

Life is busy and time went on with this idea still on paper for a long time.

In 2017 an opportunity to use a laser cutter presented itself and so Rob tried cutting The Buddy Board concept out of ply-board, with quick lock hinges and other design additions. It worked functionally, but was still too heavy for carrying around and fixing to a table top.

In the meantime, technology had been moving forward rapidly and the development in 3D print technology in particular had really accelerated to a point that has made it viable to prototype and develop the component parts to make the Buddy Board Rob had dreamed about over 16 years ago.

With the help of chief designer Josh, a number of design iterations and prototypes, the first real practical Buddy Board was created. Now on Version 15, our product is finished and about to go into production for the first time.

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