The digital years
In 1996, Johan van Mol graduated in Product Development from what is now University of Antwerp. But before graduating, he realized his passion was the emerging world of the Internet. This was the time when internet gurus were envisioning a new world, where paradigms shifted, technology would save us all, and graphic design came from outer space. Johan would start working as an interaction designer and developer.
In 1999, Johan started his own digital agency, Atomik Studios, together with a former class mate. Johan increasingly focused on all the technical stuff and programming. Atomik Studios grew. And in 2009, it was acquired by one of the leading Belgian advertising agencies, Duval Guillaume. As managing partner, Johan integrated the different digital teams into one digital business unit. Next to that he would develop digital, marketing and communication strategies for key accounts.
The consulting years
In the meantime, Johan had gone back to school part-time to work on his MBA. In the advertising world, digital is reduced to digital communication, while we, as a society, are in the midst of an incredible transformation where digital technology is playing a major role.
This convinced Johan to leave advertising in 2011, to become an innovation, strategy and transformation consultant, ready and eager to adapt the old ways of thinking into the new, connected world. With this goal in mind, Johan worked across different domains and functions, spanning digital strategy, corporate strategy, marketing, service innovation, organization and process design and coaching.
The design years
Johan had worked with designer and all-round creative Peter Van Riet on a number of projects previously. Both Johan and Peter were searching for a new direction in their career: they both realized that innovation, product design, service design, business model design, branding and go-to-market are all blending together. A mere product design approach or a mere consulting approach would not lead to sustainable and meaningful results. They understood that the role of a design studio is to integrate the customer perspective with the business perspective.
On Januari 1st 2015, Johan became managing partner of Before The Wave. The mission of the studio is to be a creative and strategic design studio that creates meaningful products, services and strategies.