Mike Peng is a Partner, co-managing director and co-founder of IDEO Tokyo. In his role, Mike works with colleagues to set the strategic direction of the business in Japan, mentor designers, create new offerings, and lead client relationships and projects in Asia. Prior to Tokyo, Mike helped start-up IDEO’s New York office and lead its design research discipline. Mike has taught at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID). He's also a visiting lecturer at University of Tokyo, Keio University, and Kyushu University. Mike graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in cognitive science and an emphasis in neuroscience.


As design professionals, we know we must always balance money and heart -- the things that our users/clients/customers need and want with the things that we personally need and want. But how often do we find ourselves tipping the scale, making sure others get what they need but personally feeling uninspired, dispassionate, and/or lacking the spark that kindles our creativity?

Having lived in Japan for almost 10 years, I am constantly finding myself immersed in creative inspiration. But like with all things in Japan, the most interesting finds are usually hidden beneath the surface. In my talk, I will share some of these finds and the Japanese cultural philosophies that may have inspired them.


We acknowledge the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the lands on which our events are held, as well as traditional owners of lands on which we work across the region. We recognise that sovereignty over these lands and waters has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

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