Kristian Simsarian

Associate Professor, Chair

Kristian Simsarian is a leader in design, creativity, education, and innovation with over 25 years of industry and academic experience.

He believes in the power of design to humanize, enrich, and positively transform the world.

He has worked at the foremost technology invention labs around the world and has served as a design and business leader at IDEO for over a decade. (He continues his work at IDEO as an IDEO Fellow.)

He leads creative team efforts to improve organizational and business success. He has also helped create and scale excellent user experiences and futures and has shaped design strategy across a variety of industries around the globe.

Notably he has helped a number of organizations increase quality control, create design teams, and scale design for organizations in healthcare as well as global giants such as P&G, Microsoft, Nokia, and SAP.

He holds several patents and his work has been featured in business and design books and periodicals including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Time, and the Huffington Post, as well as the BBC and MSNBC.

As the world faces increasingly complex challenges that require new ways of thinking, working, and collaborating, Simsarian sees design as a key part of the answer. He has focused his academic career on developing radically new pedagogy, processes, and toolsets for increasing the capacity to humanize technology.

As Founding Chair of the Graduate and Undergraduate Interaction Design Programs at California College of the Arts, he has been highly influential in creating educational experiences that incorporate design thinking and deep craft.

Simsarian led the effort to create CCA’s ground-breaking, cross-divisional multidisciplinary Hybrid Lab, a space where artists, designers, and architects unite to work with technology.

He is a sought-after instructor and speaker who has taught and lectured at the University of Virginia, University of Chicago, Stanford University, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, The University of Edinburgh, and The University of Tokyo.

In 2014 he coauthored Udacity's first design MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with Don Norman, titled The Design of Everyday Things, which enrolled tens of thousands of students around the world.

BS, Columbia University
MS, University of Virginia
PhD, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm


Lilia RustomMDES, Chair