Where I’m from: I was born in the year of the metal monkey in the city of Kaohsiung. When I was four years old, my family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where I grew up. After that, I studied in Boston, Barcelona, Paris, and Lund. Then I taught English in a small town in Japan for three years. New York is now my adopted hometown.
What I do: I design with communities, teach creative leaders, and make podcasts. In short, I craft conversations. I also enjoy cooking, making music, studying languages, and playing capoeira, a Brazilian martial art disguised in dance. I once appeared in a viral yodeling music video where I used capoeira to fight a giant rat.
I design with communities.
I’m a design entrepreneur with international experience. David Colby Reed and I launched Foossa in 2013. We are a community-centered design practice. Our focus areas are service design, design thinking, and futurecasting.
Here are some highlights of our work at Foossa:
- Exploring design-centered approaches to veterans services in New York City with West Point cadets
- Improving the long-term effectiveness of financial counseling services in NYC with the Parsons DESIS Lab
- Rebranding/relaunching IFAD, a specialized agency of the UN;
- Co-designing with genocide survivors in Rwanda
Prior to launching Foossa, I started the design practice at Purpose, a design and strategy agency that helps clients harness participation for meaningful social impact. While at Purpose, I had the opportunity to work on social impact projects across the US as well as in India, Brazil, and Western Europe.
I’m also a community-builder. Currently, I’m also the design education manager at AIGA, the professional association for design. My role involves supporting the AIGA Design Educators Community, as well as producing and hosting the Design Future Now podcast, the Design Future Live Instagram show, and various webinars and online events.
To learn more about my design journey, watch this video of my keynote at the 2020 AIGA Portfolio Festival. In the first 12 minutes, I synthesize highlights from the festival. After that, I share stories from my creative journey, and introduce a method for giving and receiving creative feedback.
I teach creative leaders.
I teach design in university programs. I’m an adjunct professor at New York University, the Parsons School of Design at The New School, as well as the School of Visual Arts, where I have taught classes on social innovation, entrepreneurship, storytelling, and futurecasting.
Previously, I taught at the College of Staten Island and at Cornell Tech. I began my career on the JET Programme where I taught English as a foreign language in Nakatsu, Japan.
I also make podcasts.
I produce and host AIGA’s Design Future Now podcast, a show about designing the future and the future of design.
And my new podcast is Easy Cook Bear. It’s a food and culture show about how we cook, connect, and create. My guests and I share stories, swap recipes, and explore the creative processes of people who make art, culture, food, music, and more.
I also enjoy appearing on other people’s shows. For instance, in October 2020, Anne-Laure Fayard interviewed me on the Design Thinking Roundtable podcast.
Let’s start a conversation about creative collaborations, podcast interviews, and opportunities to speak and facilitate workshops. Please don’t ask to “pick my brain” unless you’re casting me for your zombie apocalypse movie. But I’m always open to exchanging stories and ideas.
- Email: ls (at) foossa (dot) com
- Instagram: @leesean
- LinkedIn: @leesean
- Medium: @leesean
- Twitter: @leesean
- YouTube: @leesean