Thomas overthun is an associate partner and the design director at IDEO in san fransisco, a human-centered design consultancy and firm with a design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate.
At IDEO, overthun holds the position of the director of design programs, and has been working for the company since 1993. prior to IDEO, overthun was part of the internal design team of the dutch electronics company philips; since then he has gone on to develop a strong expertise in the areas of contract furniture and ergonomic seating, office and consumer electronics, kitchen tools and appliances, personal care and sports products. his client list includes audible, balanced body, brooks england, cisco, eastman, fizi:k, microsoft, national panasonic, oral B, OXO, proctor & gamble, selle royal, steelcase, western digital and zyliss. in addition to his work in the telecommunications and computer products design group, he has also contributed on projects covering the broad portfolio of the company, such as consumer electronics, medical systems, domestic appliances and lighting.
in this exclusive interview, overthun talks to designboom about his history at IDEO, some of his most memorable work experiences and reflects on over two decades of industrial design.
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