Corporate Unplugged


Ayse Birsel

Season 2, Ep. 26

What is design and who is it for? 

This loaded question is asked of Ayse Birsel, named by Fast Company as one of the Most Creative People in Business. Ayse is a beautiful blend of East meets West, born and raised in Turkey but who now calls New York home. 

“The combination of East and West, being Turkish living in the States, really allows me to see two sides of everything, which is a great quality, actually a superpower for designers, especially when those qualities are often in opposition to each other.”

And there is no better person to pose this question to: Ayse is a designer and innovator who has designed hundreds of award winning products and systems for Fortune 500 brands. She's known for bringing new solutions to old problems and for her humanistic design approach. 

She's also the author of Design The Life You Love, and gives lectures on Design The Work You Love to corporations. She's also the co-founder of Birsel Plus Seck, the award winning design and innovation studio and consults for a large number of big brand businesses. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). 

If anyone knows design, it’s Ayse (pronounced Eye-Shay). And she’s keen to show people that rather than letting the current pandemic get the better of us, we should use it as inspiration to redesign our lives. 

“Constraints are necessary for great opportunities. If this is the biggest constraint that we've ever had, this should be our biggest opportunity as well.”

In this podcast:

  • What is design and who is it for
  • Why Covid-19 is the perfect excuse to redesign your life
  • Turning constraints into opportunities
  • How the 2008 financial crisis created her now life 
  • The butterfly effect
  • Re-humanising our workselves


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