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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
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October 23, 2019

Former director of user experience at Microsoft presents at APDesign

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Professor Surya Vanka, Industrial Designers Society of America, will present as part of the 2019-2020 College of Architecture, Planning & Design's Ekdahl Lecture Series at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, in the Regnier Forum, Regnier Hall on the K-State Campus. The event is free and open to the public. 

Vanka will present, "Modern Design Methods for Twenty-First Century Challenges." The design of digital products borrowed proven methods from the discipline of architecture. However, the 21st-century need to serve billions of customers at high velocity has birthed novel approaches that merge fields such as ethnography, cognitive science and experimental psychology. To design for a complex world, venerable disciplines like architecture can now adopt and adapt these modern hybrid methods, including service design, inclusive design, and data-driven design.

Vanka is a designer, educator and author who leads AUTHENTIC, a design studio that focuses on design strategy, UX, futures prototyping, service design and interaction design. He has been at the leading edge of physical and digital experiences for more than 25 years. He served as director of user experience at Microsoft, a tenured professor of design at the University of Illinois and a fellow at the prestigious Center for Advanced Study. Vanka has authored design books and other publications; lectured in more than 20 countries; and earned several industry awards. He's also the chair of the Industrial Designers Society of America's 50th anniversary International Conference, set for August in Seattle. 

"Design has become synonymous with innovation," Vanka said. "Corporations are betting on design leaders to show a path through unprecedented technological upheaval, heightened global competitiveness and radical business disruption. Professionals from other disciplines are augmenting their business and engineering backgrounds with a design-thinking mindset to become the new breed of corporate design leaders. To thrive and lead, designers, too, must supplement their own design skills with data-driven approaches, particularly of the metrics that matter. They must know the why, what, when and how to measure, and use that insight to manage change and drive design decisions." 

View a full listing of the 2019-2020 Ekdahl Lectures.

The Oscar S. Ekdahl Distinguished Lecture Series in Architecture and Design brings the finest professionals in the design and planning disciplines to APDesign and the K-State community. These individuals are selected to avail faculty, staff, students and regional professionals to the potency of design and planning in addressing the issues we face as a global society. The series honors Oscar Ekdahl who received his Bachelor of Architecture from Kansas State University in 1933 and was a founding partner in Ekdahl, Davis, Depew, Persson Architects PA in Topeka.