I’m a global design researcher, innovation strategist, entrepreneur, storyteller, linguist (Mandarin Chinese 中文 and Japanese 日本語), musician, and writer.
A veteran consumer electronics leader with over two decades of experience in tech, I started my consultancy Culture Loft, and this blog, because I saw so many talented teams struggling to create value for their customers .
I have directed user-centered innovation and communication strategies for global projects in the semiconductor, mobile, cleantech, connected home, smart beauty products, connected retail, connected car, indoor air quality, aging tech, and robotics sectors. At Panasonic, I led the MIT Media Lab, Stanford ME310, and other university projects related to emotion detection systems, smart city and home, and smart car.
Design research can lead down many paths! I connect my foundational approaches to actionable constraints in app prototyping and testing, Internet of Things experience, business solutions, organizational design, and social impact.
I have a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from Pomona College, an MA in the Translation of Chinese and Japanese from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and dual MBAs from the University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business and Columbia University in New York.
Here are some examples of my work:
Uncovering opportunities for improving quality of life for older adults at home
In 2014, it was clear that the needs older adults were facing were much greater than the available tools. Panasonic, with its brand promise of creating a comfortable home life and its developing Internet-of-Things technologies, established a Health and Wellness innovation team to address this trend. This is the story of how I helped the team understand and stay aligned with the unique needs of these potential customers while designing new products and concepts.
In 2012, China faced an air quality crisis. They faced well-publicized external air quality challenges, including severe increases in PM2.5 levels. Less publicized, but well-known by word of mouth, were the internal air quality challenges, including VOCs (emissions from furniture, etc.), odors (tobacco, waste, etc.), and viruses, compounded by pollution entering from outside. Indoor air quality (IAQ) was 5 to 10 times worse than outdoor air quality, and most people spent 95% of their time indoors.
Panasonic’s Housing group wanted to create a breakthrough and life-enhancing solution for improved IAQ for Chinese urban homes, basing the solution on observed inherent and unmet user needs. I structured a multidisciplinary design team from Panasonic members in both countries and sponsored a team of students in Shanghai’s Tongji University (同济大学). The business unit got some great product elements that they incorporated into their China lineup, they gained an actionable list of product constraints for this new market, and they learned new ways of collaborating to innovate. This case focuses particularly on the power of using story in innovation.
Helping Japanese mothers teach their children life skills with a shared cooking app and IoT service In Japanese families in 2012, mothers, both stay-at-home and working, were the primary parent in charge of home management and child rearing. I joined two Japanese women engineers who hypothesized that young mothers were struggling to manage their responsibilities…Read more Mother’s Helper ママのヘルパー