Why Do I Write the Book?

When I studied industrial design at university in Taiwan, luckily, I had a great chance to read Thoughtless Act by Jane Fulton Suri, IDEO Partner Emeritus. I was very inspired by the way she viewed the product, our environment, people’s behavior and their interesting interaction. She expressed her very subtitle observation skills on daily items that most take for granted with strong empathy for people. It is a great book that makes me pause and think and will influence my future career path in a profound way. The attachment and love have been growing inside me and gradually become part of my personality as a designer while I create things and observe my surroundings.

 

I appreciate EMMA Creative Center for providing me a 3-month designer in residence scholarship at Pforzheim, Germany, which allows me to freely experience the beautiful scenery, to visit the amazing university, to be part of the creative culture, to know the city’s history and most importantly, to meet with lovely people. I’ve been keeping the humanity-centered sprit and design method along the journey with me.

 

All photos and videos I’ve taken are from my 3-month stay in Pforzheim, Germany. My iPhone, GoPro and Camera are used to document lots of images every day and record my exciting residence journey. Therefore, it contains more than 90 photos in the small book. Mainly I captured moments that I felt interesting and thought-provoking during the time I jogged at the public park in the morning, the co-working place I shared with other creative talents, the dorm I lived with other international artists, designers and students, the supermarket I went to and other life experiences I’d been through. They are not visually attractive compared with professional photos, but are mostly relevant to people’s daily lives. The method I’ve applied in the book is dividing “see” into 3 different layers with different definitions accordingly: Observation, Consideration and Interpretation through an inquiry-driven process.

The 1st layer - Observation

What you see

The photos of the object, the space and the people that we captured via camera are what we see in the world of 2D. We may or may not really see on the spot when we took the photos; we just observe the facts.

The 2nd layer - Consideration

What you perceive

In front of a photo or image, we need to ask ourselves “Do we really know the story behind the scene?” People easily get fooled by what we think we’ve seen on the surface. The second layer is about understanding and knowing the hidden message from the photos we captured for people to “read” the photos from multiple angles.

The 3rd layer - Interpretation

What you conceive

Once people truly understand the message from the photos we captured, we as human beings will naturally start to digest most of the information and reflect on ourselves and things we’ve seen before in real life. What you conceive means that you have your own interpretation and points of view on the things you’ve seen, the journey you’ve gone through and the feeling you’ve had.

About the Author

Sheng-Hung Lee is an industrial and product experience designer, maker at IDEO and an adjunct associate professor at Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, Fudan University. He is inspired by multiple domains of knowledge, different perspectives, and he thrives on creating new value for clients in multi-disciplinary teams. He is trained as an industrial designer and electrical engineer, and his approach to problem solving is influenced by his passion for how design and technology impact on and can be integrated into society. He has collaborated with IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America) to inform their strategy, service and user experience for the Asia market, this work was been published in the book <IDSA Blueprint in Asia>. Sheng-Hung has been focusing on organization design that creates systemic impact. Recently, he has redesigned Shanghai Library Innovation Space with the librarians and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government to reshape the public learning experience and make a scalable social impact through humanity-centered design methodology. It is a year long project covering product, space, service, organization and experience design and luckily the work is going to be launched and prototyped next year in Shanghai.

 

He was invited to be a jury for multiple international design competitions including IDEA, Spark Design Award, IDA Award and A’ Design Award and Competition. He also worked as a researcher at the National Science Council in Taiwan and is a member of respected institutions such as Taiwan Society of Technology and Sociology, Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society, China Technical Consultants Inc., World Design Organization (WDO), and Industrial Designers Society of America Society (IDSA). Sheng-Hung graduated with a double Bachelor’s degree (Hon.) in Industrial Design and Electrical Engineering from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Taiwan. His work has won prestigious awards including IDEA Gold, Braun Prize, Core77 Design Award, Red Dot (Best of the Best), Spark Design Award, European Product Design Award (Gold) and iF Award. In his spare time, Sheng-Hung teaches product design at Fudan University Shanghai Institute of Visual Art and Detao Masters Academy. He is also an avid learner and a keen student in computer science, taking regular online courses on Coursera and sharing his design philosophy and personal story at TEDx FuxingPark.

Observation comes from your MIND.
Inspiration originates from your HEART.

Acknowledgement

 

The book project was written for a duration of 3 months. It’s more like my personal photo diary at Pforzheim, Germany, since I love to capture interesting moments every day. The pictures were taken while I was jogging, walking on the street with my team or hanging out with creative talents at the university. The project was completed thanks to the efforts of a great team. Many people have contributed to it along the journey with me. I would say the book project will remain at a work-in-progress stage forever, as my life journey continues and there is no turning-back. I believe it is the same for others.

Thank IDEO Shanghai studio for allowing me to explore my craft and potential in design. Thank Jane Fulton Suri, IDEO Partner Emeritus, who wrote a wonderful paragraph for my project. She is also one of my role models who always inspires me in the field of design research. Thank Daniel Huang, my IDEO colleague and craft buddy, who constantly encourages me on the path of becoming a better product designer. Thank EMMA Creative Center team: Almut Benkert (Head of Creative Industries, Director of EMMA Creative Center), Fabian Jäger (Property Management), Alexandra Vogt (Project Management), Benedikt Adler (Exhibition Designer), Erwin Wagner (Videographer) and Matilde de Sousa Outeiro. EMMA Creative Center team has taken care of all the scholarship winners including our life condition, travel, accommodation and so many other small yet important things. Thank all scholarship juries: Tim Storti (Creative Director of PEARL CREATIVE), Mirjam Hiller (Jewelry Designer) and Bettina Weiss (Senior Designer at Adidas). They have been encouraging me and other creative talents and given me insightful suggestions on my design works and life. Thank Zhou Xuan (Professional Translator) who’s helped with the presentation of my story in English. Thank my two awesome teammates: Ganit Goldstein (Fashion Design Scholarship Holder) and Dabin Lee (Jewelry Design Scholarship Holder) who always instill positive design energy in me and EMMA Creative Center. Last but not least, I want to give a big hug to my family, who always support me without any complaint and keep backing me up.

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© 2019 by Sheng-Hung Lee