Kristian Simsarian : 2010 Plenary Session


Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Location: Fisher Conference Center, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"IDEO + CCA - Educating Today's Designers"


What happens when you equip new design students to go out into the world in order to discover what's missing? The practice of going out observing, learning, and becoming inspired by the needs of people and situations in the world is fundamental to Design Thinking. We call this "design research" and teaching this "by doing" is integral to the core curriculum at the California College of the Arts Graduate Design program. The skills learned can be leveraged throughout the rest of the design curriculum, through the student's thesis work and ultimately leveraged throughout the career of a curious designer who is skilled enough at learning to adjust with changing needs. Designers are often known for the craft of their heads and hands, and through design research, we can also learn to continually inspire our hearts and souls. Ultimately, this is about closing the loop between what the world needs and what design, in turn, offers.


Dr. Kristian Simsarian believes in the power of design to simplify, enrich and transform our lives and the world. His work focuses on bringing innovative human-centered design and strategy to meaningful fruition for companies and institutions, from pixels to processes. He brings a deep, diverse, and international background to his project work and to the creative teams he leads that span from healthcare to high-tech. In addition to his own publications and patents, Kristian's work has been featured in Business Week, The New York Times and Metropolis Magazine, as well as being highlighted in business books on innovation and interaction design.

Kristian co-founded the Software Experiences practice at IDEO and is currently Practice Director in the Systems at Scale practice with a focus on creating innovative organizations. Kristian has led design innovation initiatives for Nokia and other equally large brands. He is also adjunct professor at the graduate school of design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He lives in a fixer-upper Victorian in San Francisco with his psychologist wife and his obsessively-tuned biodiesel VW Golf.