R&D IN THE TIMES OF COVID-19
Research and development (R&D) is at the heart of what we do. At Elastic Interface®, we create products at the leading edge of cycling performance and comfort, and therefore R&D is a key part of our strategy. With the Covid-19 outbreak, R&D also needed to change. Meet Denis Bertoldo, Elastic Interface’s R&D Manager and the person who is responsible for ensuring constant innovation and high quality in our products. He talks about
Fueled by passion for cycling
Denis has been working for Elastic Interface® since October 2010. The company seems to be a very good fit for him, given his passion for cycling. He first jumped on the saddle at the age of 8 and hasn’t stopped since. He pursued competitive road and track activities until he was 24 years old, and eventually got into mountain biking. He currently alternates between the two disciplines, training for 4-5 times a week.
Working in R&D
Wearing his R&D Manager hat, he is constantly on the lookout for new materials and solutions. His focus is striking the perfect balance between sustainability and performance. He enjoys forging collaborations with professional athletes. He counts on their feedback to continuously improve and better go through the process of developing or perfecting materials and products.
His thoughts on COVID-19
“Just like everyone else, the uncertainty was unnerving at first.” He recalled his visit to ISPO in late January where he realized that the problem was not so far away. “Seeing people walking around the stands wearing masks, while being a trivial gesture, did not go unnoticed. The half-empty pavilions of the Asian exhibitors were a kind of foreboding.”
But he says Elastic Interface® handled the situation extremely well: “Hearing the official announcement by the Government of the closure was certainly not pleasant. I can say that we were ready, and the company moved promptly to ensure the continuation of the business in the best possible way.”
Working from home – R&D style
When asked what working from home has been like, this is what he has to say – “Communicating with other people, with all the tools currently available, was not a problem.” Working in R&D may require physically “touching” the materials and products, so his first thought was: “I have to change my way of doing things”. The “virtual” alternative could not always be effective, so he moved several containers full of material to his home and purchased the most recent generation trainer that he used for testing.
He found the mindset of “making do with what you have” and coming up with new ideas certainly stimulating. For instance, working with “homemade” solutions, such as asking his mother to sew a pad, was definitely an interesting new experience.
Silver linings and what’s in store
Italy may have been hit hard with COVID-19. But we like silver linings: in these weeks of forced quarantine, the R&D team has given particular attention to indoor cycling. Denis and his team have started work on developing products specifically for this, while bringing spotlight towards new sustainable foams.
Work is still in progress so in the meantime Denis is leaving room for mystery. What will be next??