He might walk among us and even look like us, but Yves Béhar is not one of us. He is a man from the future and don’t let his charm and acumen trick you into thinking otherwise. Béhar might have one foot in the present moment, but the other is firmly rooted in tomorrow. He is not merely clairvoyant – he doesn’t simply see the future, he lives there. In fact, he creates the future. That is why he has been called “industrial designer for the future” and that is why Time magazine has featured him among its 25 creative visionaries of today.

“What I do is a combination of predicting the future and taking risks,” the scruffy haired designer and entrepreneur says. For him, “good design accelerates the future”. He thinks “the next 20 years will see a radical change in the way everything is made, shipped, and consumed.” So far, his predictions have been spot on. When Béhar founded his San Francisco based industrial design and branding firm fuseproject in 1999, few of his clients thought design could actually mean more money in their pockets. So Béhar – an industrial designer of Turkish-German descent who grew up in Switzerland and now lives in Silicon Valley – wanted to reinvent the relationship between design and business.After a number of early hits with heavyweights like Hewlett Packard and Birkenstock, big conglomerates started owning up to Béhar’s vision that design – not marketing – can actually play an immense role in creating the products that consumers want and would buy. Béhar not only had revolutionary ideas about what design can do, but also what design is and how it is done. “For me, the ideas drive projects, and not the other way around,” he indicates. His work is based on the notion of design “from the inside out”. “I see design less from a style standpoint than in terms of innovative experiences,” he points out, adding that his company “considers not just the outer shell, but the relevant functional purpose and emotional connection of the product itself.”

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Game changer
“We create brand building innovations by developing conceptual narratives and messages that are communicated through a product’s experience and a complete brand experience,” reads the fuseproject Website. Béhar stresses the importance of the human experience of any product or service, which needs to be “delightful, attainable, and intelligent”.

In his book, a successful product can “build a company, build a brand, and completely delight the user.” It should also be a catalyst of social change. Good design, he says, pushes forward “the adoption of new ideas”, and these ideas must be for the betterment of the world we inhabit. “Design is a real agent of change. We need to initiate an emphasis on the notion of ‘Design for Good’; we have a responsibility to the world around us,” he goes on to say.

 

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