Wim Poelman was born in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 6 june 1948. In 1967 he finished his VWO pre-university education. The same year he started his study Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, which he finished in 1974. From that year Wim Poelman worked for several companies, varying from product manufacturers to information industries. Since 1984 he runs his own consultancy company, specialized in design research, design management and design education. In 2000 he was appointed as associate professor Product Design & Engineering at the University for Professional Education in Utrecht, Netherlands. In 2004 he became associate professor at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Delft and in 2008 he became full professor Product Realization at the University of Twente.
Wim Poelman carried out his PhD research project at the Section for Environmental Product Development, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Poelman has published various books, reports, papers on product development and technology management. He was co-founder of a council for industrial design and a society for material design in the Netherlands and of several magazines within this disciplines. He presented many post academic courses and participated in many juries and commissions in the field of industrial design engineering.