Tek-Jin Nam

Tek-Jin Nam is an associate professor in the Industrial Design Department at KAIST.

Posts By Tek-Jin Nam

Patina of things

Posted: Thu, August 29, 2013 - 11:18:03

I tend to use things for a long time. It feels as if my belongings take on aspects of myself. So it is difficult for me to throw my possessions away. When our building was renovated a few years ago, I kept all my furniture, even though it was not the best fit to the new interior. The furniture was…

Hair of the Monkey King

Posted: Wed, June 19, 2013 - 10:31:48

Technologists are like magicians. They make dreams reality. In mythical stories, magic is the art that makes the impossible possible. Seven-League Boots is the art that contracts space. People using the spell can travel a thousand miles in one step. Clairvoyance is the power that can enable a person to see a scene from a distance. The powers of listening…

Recursion: A thinking utensil in the creativity kitchen

Posted: Wed, April 17, 2013 - 9:48:28

If I had to recommend a book about creative thinking, it would be Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein’s Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People [1]. I read the book on my flight to London, and I was particularly interested in the section on abstraction, which discusses how great artists like Pablo Picasso and Henry…

Enlightenment by lesson, rather than by lecture

Posted: Mon, March 18, 2013 - 10:02:06

Today is Friday, but I am suffering from Monday sickness. It is the illness that many professors face at the beginning of a new semester. Korean universities commence the spring curriculum in March. As the winter break ends, I become increasingly aware of the pressure to prepare a good course for my soon-to-be new students. This Monday sickness, which so…

Intellectualized instinct for a dazzling dance of design

Posted: Thu, February 21, 2013 - 6:09:45

Great design practitioners seem like masters of intuition. They design by habit and instinct. They often produce brilliant concepts instantly. Seeing them work, I ask many questions: Do their thinking skills and their creation of great concepts stem from instinct or education? How can we train young designers to develop such skills? Is it possible to systemize or develop a…

Chef of user experience

Posted: Tue, January 29, 2013 - 1:41:15

Preparing a meal is an analogy that I use to explain the roles and expertise involved when designing and collaborating in a user experience (UX)-oriented product or system development team. I think the relationship between foods and eating experience is similar to that between products and associated user experience. Preparing a delicious meal requires several steps. The first is to…

Design and interaction talk by Lab Rat

Posted: Fri, January 04, 2013 - 11:47:58

My name is Tek-Jin Nam. I am an associate professor in the Industrial Design Department at KAIST. KAIST is one of the top science and engineering universities in Korea. The Industrial Design Department (we call ourselves IDKAIST) is the smallest department at KAIST. Since 1986, IDKAIST has been a test bed for design education. It was one of a few…