Interact with these doodles to jump to the topic in the video

00:00:08 Hi everyone I m Kadambari Sahu. I'm the head  of design at Value Labs. Welcome to the first  

00:00:14 Episode of Design Inspire an initiative to connect  designers across the global design community.  

00:00:21 Just a brief about this initiative.  Design Inspire is the web series of  

00:00:25 passionate innovative and young inspiring  designers. The web series dive into their  

00:00:30 passion inspiration and what makes them go. It's  an effort to understand how they are navigating  

00:00:36 their career path and how they are investing  their creative energies. We believe hearing  

00:00:41 their bold moves and inspiring stories will  ignite interest and inspired the next generation  

00:00:46 of budding designers across the globe. So let's go  forward with our guest today Sebastian. Sebastian  

00:00:52 is a strategic designer who designs brand-shaping  and positive human experience. Besides designing  

00:00:59 future digital mobility experiences at BMM Group  he is also running the Design drives Podcast  

00:01:21 where he interviews design leaders from around the  world about the impact of design. He gained many  

00:01:23 international design awards and had the chance  to be invited to speak at conferences around the  

00:01:23 world on design and innovation. In addition to his  international work experience, he gained a Master  

00:01:24 in Advanced Product Design in Sweden as well as  a Bachelor in Industrial Designs at the Folk Wang  

00:01:31 University in Germany. Welcome Sebastian. So yeah. Thank you so much for the invitation.  

00:01:38 I'm super happy to be here. Hope everyone  is doing well. My name's Sebastian Gier. I'm  

00:01:41 going to talk about why and how design drives  innovation mainly from two backgrounds, of my one  

00:01:47 working at BMW in the UX design team, working on  future mobility experiences on one side on the  

00:01:54 onboard experience. So meaning the Inca experience  and on the other side of port experience,  

00:02:00 meaning, the experience of, apps and services  and then, this second part is, I'm also running  

00:02:06 a pilot called design drives started with podcasts  in 2018 and then also turn this year into, a  

00:02:12 conference in February and then after in some live  stream, sessions, the way I interview regularly,  

00:02:14 design leaders from different backgrounds. And  actually I had the chance in the last over a year,  

00:02:15 basically to interview over 60 all kind of  different from in house experience, but then also  

00:02:19 they're running down because I didn't see so on,  entrepreneurship ventures even. And, it was very  

00:02:25 interesting to learn about is different  perspectives and different learning's about  

00:02:29 how design can contribute to innovation and, can  really drive an impact. And this is something I  

00:02:35 would really like to, facilitate with the podcast  is to in raise the awareness of the impact,  

00:02:40 of design and, talk about these different stories  and give, facilitate a space for this. So what I'm  

00:02:46 going to do is I'm going to talk about two things,  that alone, like one side, the input part and the  

00:02:51 other one, the output part, learnings from, my  own projects, but then also a lot of the podcasts,  

00:02:56 experience itself. So the first being about  designing the input, and actually why it's  

00:03:02 important to facilitate that process and, the  insights together and, why it's as important to  

00:03:07 design this because it's going to influence the  output. And then from a personal side, before we  

00:03:11 jump into the podcast, examples it was, internet  design works, in LA and, we worked on, business  

00:03:17 seat experience. And essentially I was a lot  of virtual design. So you design it in 3D  

00:03:22 on your computer but at the some point, like  there's so many things, economic things to solve  

00:03:28 experience topics to solve. That you just hit  a dead end, when it comes to the digital design  

00:03:34 process, even if you have VR etc. you need  to somehow try it out and see how the whole  

00:03:40 flow works. The whole journey for user in order to  determine, some of the decisions you need to make,  

00:03:46 they actually spend a lot of time in this  project, building things in cardboard.  

00:03:50 So actually cutting cardboard, gluing it together,  sitting on an office chair, and sort of designed  

00:03:57 a cardboard space, around that. And, basically one  person was the person bringing the food and as a  

00:04:03 person was a dependent, giant, and we flipped  roles and, somebody played the neighbor. So we  

00:04:08 used a lot of role playing a really great tool.  All these kind of things, especially if you talk  

00:04:12 about spatial experiences and just tried it  out and try to get an understanding, how does  

00:04:17 it feel? Okay. I get into the plan, where do I  put my personal items? Okay. Now the situation,  

00:04:21 what happens if I start to work, right? Where  do I place? My, what if I have a bigger laptop?  

00:04:26 What if I have, it's a smaller laptop, etc. So  you can really try them out and then determine  

00:04:32 where are great spaces to do this. What does it  feel? What does feel comfortable? Right if you  

00:04:36 get the food and you finish earlier instead, like,  is it, does it fit if you want to play that later  

00:04:37 on somewhere? So all of these things, you can  determine it, I can resonate just recommend to you  

00:04:39 and this is, you know, great for designers because  we are we're to prototyping these things. So  

00:04:46 it's good. Sometimes to designer desks, basically  second example, brought here was, actually my  

00:04:52 master, prefer BMW about two years ago. And,  I strive to spend as much time in the actual,  

00:04:58 car journey as possible. So, especially I think  if I'm a customer experience, journey is a  

00:05:03 little bit more complicated, complex than its. For  example the seat experience I just wrote, if you,  

00:05:04 if you have, has happened at different  locations, different situations, different  

00:05:08 users. So, you know, try to experience this and  try to be in that situation or location both for  

00:05:14 example, if you design an F on hospital, Try to  spend as much time on and to help in a hospital,  

00:05:19 try to get like a room in the hospital, a  try to facilitate brainstorm sessions there.  

00:05:23 because just being at the location, being in  the, near the situation or Rhonda situation,  

00:05:26 if even better would be in the situation,  you would come up with completely different,  

00:05:30 ideas. And that was really striking to me  brainstorming while driving on driving experiences  

00:05:37 is definitely something that really shifts, like  the insights you gather, the ideas you get. So  

00:05:42 yeah, I try to make the vehicle, the design studio  basically, and, you know, try to spend a lot of  

00:05:48 time there. And, I think, you know, take, would  use us with that journey and, tried to facilitate  

00:05:50 prototyping and brainstorming that space. And  yeah, looking backwards. I think it was really  

00:05:54 driving empathy and, contextual insights for net  new ideas. And I was the example in here from the  

00:06:00 podcast I have with me is we're first, actually  the first episode, what was sheriff plats. And,  

00:06:05 she was one of the first designers on the Amazon  Alexa. A team. And basically she talks about  

00:06:12 why contexts super important  and why you need to design that  

00:06:15 input phase. Like I was saying in the  introduction, they basically, she was talking  

00:06:17 about having different rooms for getting. The  context for different situations they're worked  

00:06:23 on. So with voice experience, especially, it's not  so much about doing completely new interactions,  

00:06:28 but often about doing interactions that  feel better in the moment. And in order  

00:06:31 to determine this, you really need to be in the  context because you maybe use motion modality  

00:06:36 as an approach, right? Because don't listen to  actions or some of the things, but it just. It  

00:06:37 via touch on a smart phone or some other way. So,  basically they had, she was talking about these  

00:06:39 different rooms. They had, for example a bedroom,  they had a bathroom that the kitchen and try to  

00:06:41 play out these different in actions in these  different rooms before they, they actually  

00:06:43 designed the device and designed the, like the  whole system, because you need to come up with  

00:06:44 the use cases and meet, to get an understanding.  Are they feeding, right? Right. Okay. Like, try  

00:06:45 it out. Like I get up in the morning. Is there  something that feels right to say to session  

00:06:50 devices say situation that comes up, but let's  play out different situations. Like let's say the  

00:06:51 situation is you get up in the morning and do you  need to go to work? How would a weekend situation  

00:06:52 role play again as a tool to determine these  different use cases and get an understanding  

00:06:57 what kind of modalities make sense? And it's  like impossible, you know, sitting in front of a  

00:07:02 computer and doing it, and, just have a, software  application in front of you writing, you need to  

00:07:03 be in the situation. So again, I think, especially  when it comes to innovation, you know, context is  

00:07:05 super critical, and not. I think wait to design it  and put fear is to take on different perspectives  

00:07:09 and the topic of inclusivity and accessibility.  So I talked to Laura silver. She is VP of  

00:07:15 accessibility technology at bank of America. She's  also a UX lead. And before that, she worked at  

00:07:21 Amazon and she basically was saying her vision  to technology is that technology is ultimately  

00:07:27 adapting to us, meaning the user and staff the  other way around, because that's how it is at  

00:07:33 the moment. And there's so much to improve on that  end. if you, if you think you hit a dead end where  

00:07:38 it comes to innovation to a, product or service,  that's always, at the, I think at least then  

00:07:39 I think you can look into this but better even  before, because, especially thinking about, you  

00:07:40 know, inclusivity, accessibility is, like so much  to improve on all kinds of products and services.  

00:07:45 And since we maybe haven't considered in  our design. So I think it's important to  

00:07:50 take a different perspectives and think about  other users that are maybe not the target user.  

00:07:55 Situations that are maybe not in a happy  place and that the happy flow, did they  

00:07:58 do a designing. And, try to see how the software  applications playing out in that scenario. Because  

00:08:00 first of all, I think new use cases in  new scenarios are going to rise that,  

00:08:03 will, open up or surface spaces for innovation  that you hadn't thought about. And second step,  

00:08:08 it will be beneficial for a lot of users  talking especially about inclusivity.  

00:08:13 The next aspect is about the importance of  unlearning, and breaking something. This was  

00:08:17 coming up over and over on the podcast, but  especially in the episode where a Meyer from  

00:08:21 Moines, who is a design leader in Singapore,  and he wrote a book about content to activity.  

00:08:27 And I think it's great, especially as designers  say we come in with less assumptions into a  

00:08:32 project and then if you're an expert in  the field, you maybe want to consider  

00:08:36 to find ways to unlearn before you want to work on  an innovation project. And there are great tools  

00:08:41 for this. Talking about Mario and he spoke about  content to activity he's talking about, especially  

00:08:47 one example, maybe some of you already heard about  this. It s from waltz and he was a mechanic in the  

00:08:52 Second World War in Eastern Europe. And basically  he was asked by his leads to look at the planes  

00:08:59 that came back from the war fights look at  these areas that planes were hit the most  

00:09:04 and you need to improve these areas because  these are the areas where plains hit the most,  

00:09:11 maybe the areas where plains are hit the most  typically it's maybe the area we shouldn't improve  

00:09:16 because upon power they'll come back. The planes  were hit all the areas we don't see any damage,  

00:09:21 that probably means they fall off the sky because  they're weak in these areas. I think if you go  

00:09:26 into a project and especially again with leapfrog  innovation, try to list down all the assumptions.  

00:09:32 You would never question about, your product or  service or the fields you're designing and right  

00:09:37 and then you try to flip them. So you say it's the  opposite how would that change the whole landscape  

00:09:41 we're looking at and the second part, I would  like to talk about output and designing output  

00:09:45 one side to design impact. And then also on  the strategic side to define requirements,  

00:09:50 they'll have again, be accepted from my side.  Before we jump into the podcast. Examples  

00:09:54 one is about designing especially envision. So,  again, basically this was the execution part of  

00:10:00 the teases I was touching on earlier, where it  was about exploring inside the car. And basically,  

00:10:05 what the project went ultra was an interactive,  side window where, you know, people can get better  

00:10:10 connected to the location outside and basically  looking into how does, it change the passenger  

00:10:15 experience and so DS basically they come back in  time and shorty also passengers in the vehicle,  

00:10:20 what you discovered outside especially if you  drive a fortune for people. If you think about  

00:10:25 bigger technical innovations, from an experience  side, I think it's important to design visions,  

00:10:32 or designed U X visions because this vision is  going to help out, I think, first to evaluate  

00:10:37 if the future actually makes sense that's great  roof design because we can prototype these visions  

00:10:41 and make them feel real, even though they are not  real. And you can basically look at the prototype  

00:10:46 okay, this is the experience we want to hit in  three years. That's how it would feel like what  

00:10:51 kind of context you're designing, what kind  of industries let s say if you design an app  

00:10:54 line scenario, I think an app line I think  the development process, like 10 years. So,  

00:10:57 and then obviously if you work on an app, maybe  you don't have to sink lawn and half a year,  

00:11:01 one year. So it depends on the context, like  where's this scenario happening, etc. You  

00:11:06 get that on assumptions that you have gathered on  insights. You have maybe on technical innovations  

00:11:11 that you see coming up or could be developed on  business opportunities. Let's say, how would a  

00:11:16 new business model impact your experience? And you  can design these visions and basically look into,  

00:11:21 okay, that's our feedback. And then you can  evaluate it you can have a discussion or at least,  

00:11:25 right, because otherwise you will never  have the discussion because we would just  

00:11:28 do it. In current incremental innovation, but  you never know, we know where the road is going.  

00:11:31 And before investing the time we need to determine  if that actually makes sense to go that path.  

00:11:37 Another thing that comes up over and  over and up in the podcast, but it's also  

00:11:40 something I experienced myself, was a project with  Quana designing a vision in order to talk about  

00:11:47 a business problem. So or business opportunity,  let's call it like this. So basically Katina's,  

00:11:52 business is especially running on the summer  because they are sitting guarding it towards.  

00:11:56 So during the winter they have less income  and as you know, farming is a big space. So,  

00:12:01 basically try to design a best case scenario for  the user where we think people adapting to this.  

00:12:08 And for Gardena setting also products basically  do during the winter time because Indo farming  

00:12:14 you can visit it too all year. So we designed  the app, which designed the prototype for the  

00:12:19 product. The journey would be from somebody who  would heard about the brand, you know, being,  

00:12:25 trying it out to a small degree of getting like an  entry product and then sort of building out their  

00:12:30 home and to all the way, one year a user. How  has that relationship changed with the brand and  

00:12:37 how would that interaction play out and give  to them and they could talk about this and  

00:12:41 can evaluate if it makes sense. Is it actually  possible on the technical side, in the long run  

00:12:46 you have something to talk about and to  make a decision. Visualization in the end  

00:12:50 that, you know, creates a knowledge for decision  making in a way. And also aspect of where this  

00:12:54 comes in, a very different way interviewed  Shan he, she was one of the founding members  

00:12:59 of Yuba visualization team. She was on the podcast  and basically she is working on data visualization  

00:13:05 but again, it's visualization, although to make  decisions but they can also visualize this data  

00:13:12 because what they figured out we could have  them on a spreadsheet, but you know, it  

00:13:16 going to take some time to make a decision. They  actually made a visualization tool open source.  

00:13:27 It's called Kappa GL it's, similar to  the examples I brought up before, where  

00:13:31 it was more, what is an efficiency is what these  amortization, but these things are tied together  

00:13:34 because it's visualization and contextualization,  that provides knowledge for decision making.  

00:13:42 So one thing that comes up over and over in the  podcast is the aspect about confidence in futures.  

00:13:48 And it's, it's again, touching on the examples  of what, before. So, I talked to a Brett Lovelady  

00:13:54 he's global design leader running his design  studio, Astro studios since over 20 years. And  

00:13:59 on top of that he founded a couple of companies  including Astro gaming. So an astro gaming, he  

00:14:05 founded with the assumptions that are not premium  products out there for gamers really, the user  

00:14:10 group was not really, taking seriously for a long  time for a lot of, brands different obviously to  

00:14:16 the E gaming space right now, because now everyone  takes it seriously. So he had an instinct he  

00:14:21 believed in something. And what they basically did  because they designed everything from brand to,  

00:14:28 through the product experience for the product  itself and then later on, even calling upon us  

00:14:33 to manufacture it and, made it the real thing. It  gives confidence for the stakeholders for internal  

00:14:37 team because they can see what actually building  it gives confidence for external stakeholders as  

00:14:42 well because they can see what you're trying  to achieve and then make a better decision if,  

00:14:47 it actually makes sense to invest. It's a tool for  confidence. So design is a tool for confidence in  

00:14:51 a way for all sort of different components.  And then a few years ago to lobby take for  

00:14:55 $85 million. And I think it's a great story of  designer being involved in entrepreneurship.  

00:15:00 This one is a bit entrepreneurship meaning  internal entrepreneurship. So what if you  

00:15:04 work in a corporation? So, I talked with Shiva  Jaini. He is a Product Design Manager at Google.  

00:15:09 And before that he was working at YouTube for a  long time. And basically the at Google half, this  

00:15:13 rule of 20% using 20% of the time for their own,  creative ideas on, projects basically with, with  

00:15:17 other colleagues, also they basically  have a chance to pitch certain, topics  

00:15:19 and basically what they look into  working at YouTube. They said, well,  

00:15:23 you know, they have a lot of. Parents give  the phones to kids. Right. And isn't the  

00:15:28 experience a design to experience needs to  be designed a little bit different for kids.  

00:15:31 So they started to interview parents. they started  to see how kids are interacting with YouTube and  

00:15:37 they saw all of the things that don't work. They  don't, design the prototype of YouTube for kids  

00:15:44 basically. And again, went back to promise treads  out. try to figure out what all of these things  

00:15:48 they need to adjust on the user experience.  And, later on they made a video, a pitch video,  

00:15:52 and it was shot out into, in the company, as  an idea and then they made it a real thing,  

00:15:58 right. Because before it was just a prototype, it  was not a finished product. Right. So it's chatted  

00:16:02 around the video. of how a kid would interact with  YouTube and it's called you tube kids is nowadays  

00:16:04 even an actual product. You can, Download from the  app store. Visualization of what future would mean  

00:16:10 before they actually had larger investment and you  need that in order to make it again. This is again  

00:16:15 where designers or design comes in order to drive  that forward, right or to help out with debt.  

00:16:23 because obviously you need to solve more things  than just the day experience itself. Obviously  

00:16:27 there are business topics, there are taking you  through the things you need to solve. Right.  

00:16:31 And another story about having design evolves or  design making contribution. So, yeah, I think this  

00:16:37 is all from my side. It actually, think about  the input side and the outputs. I changed some  

00:16:42 things around the podcast and some, on learnings.  And, yeah. Thank you so much for listening.


Sebastian is a strategic designer who is currently designing mobility futures at BMW group. At BMW, he focuses on digital services, concept cars, strategic Interior design experience prototyping & AR/VR in the context of mobility. In this episode, he gives an inspiring presentation about his views on interactive design and the importance of context setting in design.