Good design is about people.

say think do feel cartoonHello and welcome to – the blog and portfolio of Imraan Aziz. I’m an award-winning industrial designer practicing in San Francisco, California.

My professional experience has been split quite neatly into three phases: After graduation from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991, I cut my teeth as a designer in the Technology and New Product Development group of a large (2000+ employee) global consulting firm in Boston, Ma. In 1997 I returned to California to work for a growing bay area design consultancy. Ultimately I became Director of Design and a partner of that firm and we grew it to 16 staff members at our largest. In 2003 I hung up my own shingle, and have lent my experience and passion for innovation to a number of start-ups and innovation consultancies.

The purpose for this site is two-fold: One, I’d like to have a single place to collect and show my work, and two, I’d like to explore sharing design process on the web; there’s a lot more to good design (as I see it) than a couple of flashy renderings or beauty shots.

Specific Interests

Design Research/ Ethnography- What makes for a breakthrough product? How do you develop key insights into a user’s needs? Why is it so difficult to deliver on for so many companies? Simply asking a user in a focus group isn’t going to do it; often they are unaware or unable to articulate what it is that’s confounding them. Instead of coming up with a solution (as inventors often do) and trying to shoehorn it into a problem, there’s a lot to be said for picking the right problem to solve in the first place.

Innovation & Technology Development- How do you innovate on demand? As co-developer of IP in fields as diverse as medical, military and space hardware, I’ve learned a little bit about how to apply rigor to the blue-sky world of innovation. This includes development of novel approaches to “seemingly” intractable problems, complex mechanisms, assemblies, and concepts.

Industrial Design- Form follows function, right? Sounds easy, but with a great product it should seem “obvious” regardless of how complex it might be. That means understanding how a product needs to function, developing the use model & function in parallel, and then bringing it all together sympathetically into a cohesive product.

Collaboration/ Team Building- What makes a good leader? How do you foster creative, collaborative environments? Why do some groups consistently succeed while others fail? It’s not about the money you throw at a problem or the number of people you poach from other successful companies; it’s about creating the right environment to get the most out of your team.

Hope you enjoy.