Professor Tsai Lu Liu is head of the Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design at North Carolina State University, where he and his students have been working on user research and product design projects for companies such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Johnson and Johnson, Lowes, Under Armour and more. Before teaching, Professor Liu managed new product/service design and marketing for 12 years in the toy, healthcare, gaming, semiconductor and communications industries. Professor Liu holds an MBA in marketing from Georgia State University and a Master of Industrial Design from Auburn University.
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Pluriverse Publication Chapter: Tsai Lu Liu
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Tsai Lu Liu is a designer, professor, and head of the Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design teaches at the North Caroline State University College of Design. Originally from Taiwan, Liu has worked in many disciplines that regard design and how design can be incorporated into different fields such as healthcare, gaming, toys, etc. In his position at NC State, he and his students have been working on user research and product design projects for companies such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Johnson and Johnson, Lowes, Under Armour and more. Before teaching, Liu managed new product/service design and marketing for 12 years in the toy, healthcare, gaming, semiconductor and communications industries. Liu holds an MBA in marketing from Georgia State University and a Master of Industrial Design from Auburn University.
To Liu, his design work is about reflecting the identity of who he is designing for, and the market he is designing in. He takes a more universal approach to his design work, and his thoughts on design and social innovation themselves. Liu sees that social Innovation and design processes like design thinking should be universal across all professions. That even if you are a teacher, or working in any field not directly in design, you can still use the processes and methods of design and social innovation, design processes and methods should not be specific to designers and the design field.
Liu emphasized that as a designer, you need to be empathetic in your research and in your designs. When describing his definition of design thinking, empathy was a major factor. We spoke about how in healthcare there is so much technology being created to better our lives. Technology can replace certain jobs, but it will never be able to replace a human’s ability to empathize. Empathy is so important in every discipline because it allows humans to connect, share ideas, trust each other, etc.
Liu’s advice about design was to understand your audience and who you are trying to design for. A design is only useful if it caters to the needs of the person. That being said, what you are designing should be sustainable, useful, and wanted by the consumer. Liu applied this advice to a project he was especially proud of that he created while working in Taiwan. He was working as a project manager to design furniture for low-income disabled children, and when doing so, he had to design furniture parents would want for their children while marketing them at an attractive price because not everyone was able to afford expensive furniture. He was especially proud of this product because it incorporated design and empathy, key concepts that he uses to make sure the product he is making is useful to the client he is working with.
The Hello from the Pluriverse Podcast aims to open up and create a space to have conservations about the pluriversality in design.
This podcast is a project of the Design Thinking for Social Innovation Program at the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University.
Executive Producer: Lesley-Ann Noel, Ph.D
Hello from the Pluriverse 2020-2021 Student Team
- Natalie Hudanick (LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nataliehudanick/) and
- Michaeline Anglemire (LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaeline-anglemire/) – Podcast Leads
- Tiwani Oseni (LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiwani-oseni-651516a2/) – Editor
Hello from the Pluriverse 2019-2020 Student Team