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Episode Info: Welcome to the Design Thinking 101 podcast! I'm Dawan Stanford, your host. Today I'll be interviewing Tony Hu, who is the academic director at MIT’s Integrated Design and Management Master’s program. We’ll be talking about how Tony discovered design, human-centered design’s impact on students, and MIT’s unique program combining design and engineering management. We start our episode during Tony’s high school career, with his passion for writing. He started on the journalism team and edited the school newspaper. Additionally, he was interested in gadgets - this was during the Sony Walkman era. Tony was interested in working on a similar technology at the time. His father was an engineer and was a big influence on Tony’s career. He heard MIT was the route to take if he was serious about engineering, so he applied and was accepted, to the dismay of his journalism teacher. While at MIT, Tony studied transistors and Maxwell’s equations, which was not an enjoyable experience for him. He stuck through the course and found an interesting opportunity with an internship from the media lab working with the “newspaper of the future.” He graduated with an electrical engineering degree; however, he wasn’t actually interested in the field. Tony wanted to learn about other aspects of products and interviewed with IBM in Boston as a Systems Engineer. When he started getting bored selling computers, he decided to look into a career in advertising. He was pursuing a bookstore for advertising books when just a few shelves down he discovered books on industrial design and product design. He found out about night classes at a local college and was hooked! After talking with several people, he found out about the Stanford program and fell in love with Stanford. Tony talks about the challenges he faced in the early 1980s in the industrial design career. He realizes that students today are challenged with finding multiple solutions instead of just one engineering solution. Students are having to change their mindset and thinking, to offer numerous solutions. Another challenge is interviewing others, especially when they themselves are an introvert. During his journey, Tony has designed toys and been a consultant to numerous companies. He was the first designer and product developer at a small company that sold baby products. At this first position, he learned the value of testing products. He then went through a succession of companies, exploring his passion for working with toys. His primary interest was to see a product all the way through from design to marketing, and he still wanted to stay in the toy field. He started his own company creating toys and licensing them out to companies. One of his crazier designs was a bodysuit with casters which you could use to roll down a road! Another design he created was breathable, more comfortable protective gear for rollerblading. Throughout this time, Tony taught Visual Design at Stanford. He met his wif...
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