Tomomi Sayuda

Design innovation talk at Central Saint Martins

I was recently invited to join Central Saint Martin‘s Innovation Management PhD candidate Tsuyoshi Amano, for a presentation about our views on design innovation for University of The Arts London’s Japan society at Central Saint Martins. They are currently hosting a series of talks aimed at building UAL’s Japanese creative network. As an innovation designer and a UAL alumni, Tsuyoshi invited me to join him for his session.

The event’s main speaker was Kinya Tagawa, co-founder of Takram Design Engineering, (which is one of the most influential design innovation firms in Japan) and visiting professor at The Royal College of Art’s Innovation Design Engineering department. We felt very privileged that our talk was scheduled just before Kinya’s talk.


You can view our full talk below (In Japanese).

Before starting his PhD, Tsuyoshi worked as a PR, retail and marketing consultant.

I have previously worked with interactive exhibitions, on TV sets, and in the advertisement and web design fields, prior to becoming an interaction designer at Fjord. When Tsuyoshi and I first met each other 8 years ago in London, it never crossed our minds that we would both end up working within the same field.


Our talk was about why design innovation trends are becoming popular, which is a main theme in Tsuyoshi’s PHD research topic.


With an increase in computing power, our daily tasks are slowly but surely being taken over by artificial intelligence , and our focus as designers must be on problem solving. The traditional relationship between business and design used to consist of design teams being placed in a separate silo.

But now, firms have started to realise the importance of breaking the existing siloed system. Business leaders and designers increasingly try to work in a flat structure to create something together – co-creation.


The new ideal business environment is often referred to as a “play ground” in comparison to a past more competitive “battle field”. Business thinking now requires an accompanying creative and playful mind-set for the human centred era.


I went on to introduce the basic work flow we use for service design at Fjord.

We tend to start our design projects with user research and co-creation workshops, then draw up business strategies., We then visualize and design digital products. Often our brief will be expanded to re-imagining broader experience design between human and digital communication.


So what is my role in all of this?

My role is empowering our consultancy projects, making them tangible and real, and by deploying my practical and entertainment-focused background, to make business development projects fun.



In our talk we also looked at how the role of a designer will evolve in the future. We thought this would be an interesting topic for students looking at their career options, particularly for designers looking for industry gateways and who want to be design innovators.

The conclusion is: no one knows. The definition of a designer is changing dramatically. The title ‘designer’ is becoming broader than ever before, and will continue getting more diverse. We need to constantly re-imagine ourselves and ask questions about the role of designers, to stay relevant and successful, rather than just ticking off the well-known boxes.


Our future is living and constantly changing, therefore the future is happening now as we’re already in the third area of digital, Living Services


Tomomi Sayuda

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