Interview with Mohammed Shais Khan for FlexiLap

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Mohammed Shais Khan

Mohammed Shais Khan is a Product Designer passionate about innovative, user-centered design, backed by six years of experience and a Mechanical Engineering bachelor's with a specialization in Engineering Design, plus a Master's in Science from the University of California, Davis.

Interview With The 2023 NY Product Design Awards Winner – Mohammed Shais Khan

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.
I am a Product Designer with a passion for creating innovative and user-centered designs. With a strong background in engineering design and a keen eye for aesthetics and I have been working in the design industry for over six years. I hold a bachelor's degree in Mechanical engineering with a specialization in Engineering Design and a Master in Science as a student at the University of California Davis and have gained valuable experience through various design projects and collaborations with renowned companies.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a product designer?
I have always been fascinated by the intersection of art and functionality. The need for new products after the end of each product cycle. The idea of designing products that not only look visually appealing but also enhance people's lives intrigued me. This passion for creating meaningful and well-designed objects led me to pursue a career related to product design.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
In my current role, I work as a teaching assistant in Engineering Design and a freelance industrial designer. As a product designer, I usually conceptualize and develop new product ideas, conduct research and user testing, create prototypes and collaborate with cross-functional teams to bring products to market.
4What does “design” mean to you?
To me, design is the process of finding creative solutions to problems while considering the needs and desires of the end-users. It involves crafting experiences, shaping aesthetics, and integrating functionality to create products that are not only visually appealing but also intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable to use.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
I am particularly drawn to sustainable design. Creating products that have a minimal environmental impact and promote a more sustainable way of living is something that deeply resonates with me. I find it fulfilling to design products that not only serve their intended purpose but also contribute positively to the world we live in.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
A good design is one that seamlessly combines form and function. It should solve a problem effectively and efficiently while also considering the user experience and aesthetics. A good design not only meets the functional requirements but also evokes an emotional connection with the users, enhancing their overall experience and satisfaction.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
My design style can be described as modern, operational and minimalist. I believe in the power of simplicity and clean lines to create timeless designs. I strive to eliminate unnecessary complexities and focus on the essential elements that truly enhance the user experience. I also have a strong emphasis on sustainable materials and manufacturing processes in my design approach.
8Tell us about your design process.
My design process typically starts with in-depth research and an understanding of user needs, market trends, and technological advancements. This is followed by ideation and concept development where I explore various possibilities and sketch out initial ideas. Prototyping and user testing help validate and refine the concepts, leading to the final design solution. Collaboration with stakeholders and feedback loops throughout the process are also crucial for successful outcomes.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Absolutely, my country's cultural heritage plays a significant role in shaping my design process. It provides a rich source of inspiration, traditional craftsmanship techniques, and a unique aesthetic perspective. Incorporating elements of my cultural heritage into my designs help create a sense of identity and authenticity while also celebrating the diversity of global design.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 NY Product Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Winning the 2023 NY Product Design Award is a tremendous honor for me. It is a recognition of our hard work, creativity, and dedication to delivering exceptional design solutions. This award serves as a validation of our expertise and provides a platform to showcase our talents to a wider audience. It also motivates us to continue pushing boundaries and striving for excellence in our future endeavors.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 NY Product Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The winning work I entered into the 2023 NY Product Design Awards is a FlexiLap-Multifunctional Laparoscopic forcep. The laparoscopic forceps is a versatile and innovative medical device designed for laparoscopic surgery. It addresses challenges such as longer wait times, reduced recovery time, patient anxiety, and the high dexterity required for complex procedures.

The device offers superior accuracy, control, and multi-functionality. It features a flexible actuated shaft, interchangeable forceps heads, and a built-in camera and LED light for better motion-to-display synchronization. The laparoscopic forceps reduce the number of incisions required, improve patient outcomes, and is portable and easy to use. It represents a significant advancement in laparoscopic surgery technology and provides surgeons with a more efficient tool for complex procedures.

The decision to enter the laparoscopic forceps project was based on its potential to revolutionize laparoscopic surgery, address critical challenges, and provide significant benefits for both surgeons and patients.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge with the laparoscopic forceps project was likely overcoming the limitations and drawbacks of traditional laparoscopic instruments. These included the need for multiple incisions, longer wait times for surgeries, reduced recovery time, patient anxiety, and the high dexterity required for complex procedures.

The goal was to design a device that could address these challenges and provide a more efficient and effective tool for surgeons, ultimately improving patient outcomes. Overcoming these challenges required extensive research, innovation and collaboration between experts in the fields of medicine, robotics and design.

13How has winning an award developed your practice/career?
Winning this award has brought increased recognition and visibility to my practice and career. It has opened up new opportunities for collaboration, both locally and internationally, and has garnered attention from industry professionals and potential clients. The award has provided a boost to my credibility as a designer and has inspired me to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation and design excellence.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

The opportunity to make a positive impact: Design has the power to shape the world and improve people's lives. Having the ability to contribute to positive change through design is incredibly fulfilling.

Constant learning and innovation: The design industry is ever-evolving, with new technologies, materials, and trends emerging constantly. This dynamic environment keeps me motivated and challenges me to continuously learn and grow.

Collaboration and interdisciplinary work: Design projects often involve collaboration with experts from various fields, such as engineers, marketers, and manufacturers. Working together in interdisciplinary teams allows for a holistic and comprehensive approach to problem-solving, leading to more innovative and successful outcomes.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
My country has a rich cultural heritage and a diverse design landscape. It is known for its traditional craftsmanship, which often blends seamlessly with contemporary design practices. The unique cultural influences and design traditions of my country provide a distinctive flavor to the design industry, creating a rich tapestry of styles, materials, and techniques. This diversity and cultural exchange contribute to a vibrant and globally recognized design scene.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5-10 years, I believe the design industry will continue to be shaped by advancements in technology, sustainability, and user-centric design. The increasing integration of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and virtual reality will revolutionize the way we design and interact with products.

Sustainability will become a central focus, with designers incorporating eco-friendly materials and circular design principles. Furthermore, the importance of user experience and inclusivity will further drive the industry, resulting in more personalized and accessible design solutions.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring NY Product Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

I would advise aspiring designers to be passionate about their craft and constantly seek inspiration from various sources. Embrace a mindset of continuous learning and be open to experimenting with new ideas and technologies. Building a strong portfolio showcasing a range of projects and demonstrating problem-solving skills is crucial.

Networking and collaborating with peers and professionals in the industry can also provide valuable opportunities for growth and exposure. Finally, never underestimate the power of perseverance and resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Books and publications: Read design theory and industry-related books like "The Design of Everyday Things" by Don Norman and "Design as Art" by Bruno Munari.

Online courses and tutorials: Take advantage of platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare, offering a wide range of design courses taught by industry professionals.

Design communities and forums: Engage with online design communities such as Behance and Dribbble to connect with fellow designers, seek feedback and participate in design challenges.

Workshops and conferences: Attend design workshops, conferences and events to learn from experienced professionals, network with industry leaders and stay updated on the latest trends and technologies.

Internships and mentorships: Seek opportunities for internships or mentorships with established design firms or professionals to gain valuable insights and hands-on experience in the industry.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Throughout my career, I have been inspired by various designers, both past and present. The works of Dieter Rams have greatly influenced my design philosophy with his emphasis on simplicity and functionality. Jony Ive, the former Chief Design Officer of Apple, has also been a significant inspiration for his ability to merge technology and design seamlessly.

Additionally, I draw inspiration from nature, architecture, and everyday objects, as they often offer unexpected insights and innovative solutions.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

The key to success, in my opinion, is a combination of passion, perseverance, and continuous learning. Being deeply passionate about what you do fuels your motivation and drives you to overcome challenges.

Perseverance is essential in the face of setbacks and failures, as it allows you to learn from them and grow. Never stop learning and stay open to new ideas, technologies, and perspectives. Finally, always strive for excellence and never compromise on the quality of your work.

21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to participate in this interview once again! Design is a dynamic and exciting field and I am honored to be a part of it. I believe that through collaboration, innovation, and a user-centric approach, we can continue to create designs that positively impact society and improve people's lives.

Thank you for the engaging questions and I look forward to seeing the continued growth and innovation in the design industry.

Winning Entry

FlexiLap | 2023

FlexiLap | NY Product Design Awards
The FlexiLap laparoscopic forceps is a versatile and innovative medical device designed to address the challenges …
(Read more at NY Product Design Awards)

Mohammed Shais Khan

Mohammed Shais Khan is a Product Designer passionate about innovative, user-centered design, backed by six years of experience and a Mechanical Engineering bachelor's with a specialization in Engineering Design, plus a Master's in Science from the University of California, Davis.

Read more about Mohammed Shais Khan’s interview for the 2023 MUSE Design Awards!