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5 minutes with Vaiva Kalnikaitė


Vaiva Kalnikaitė is the founder and CEO of Dovetailed. She dreamt up the idea of designing and building the nūfood Kitchen Robot 3D Food Printer just over a year ago. We sat down for a quick coffee to get her perspective on where nūfood is heading next.

I am a scientist with a keen interest in business and an eclectic imagination. I love combining science, technology and arts to bring together the most intricate ideas to life.

I am so lucky to be working as part of such a creative and fun team. I feel the team has really grown into a dynamic machine. We are so productive and we have lots of fun while we are at it.

I think the best designs are unnoticeable. And seamlessly blend into everyday life.

The values that define my work are taking pride in getting it perfect, not cutting corners. Gold plating is a good thing!

I wish I designed the iPod shuffle, the hovercraft…or the domestic cat.

Cambridge is great for running a multi-disciplinary company. There is so much talent around and we have also been getting a lot of applications from across the country, London in particular. I feel Dovetailed has got traction as an innovative small company.

The workplace is very important to me. I want it to be unbounded, creative both scientifically and artistically. But it is really the people that make the space great! So it was amazing to see how everyone was so involved redecorating the office recently. It has become very colourful and even more vibrant. We have also kitted out the kitchen so we can cook lunches and dinners for each other.

nūfood is a an adventure. I did not expect it to be so popular, but it has really captured people’s imaginations. However, we have been working hard to better understand its place in the modern kitchen and create a really practical product for people to enjoy.

A mistake people often make is treating user experience as an afterthought when designing a product. It’s crucial! That and pronouncing and spelling my name!

To me, innovation is being brave, but pragmatic. But it really depends what it is. As designers we are taught to listen to what people need now. But as innovators, we need to think beyond what people need today.

I like my coffee like I like my music – it’s got to be well made, wake me up and put me in a good mood.

Connect with Vaiva on LinkedIn or on Twitter for all the latest updates.