More Than Kimchi & Cash: Designing for Cultural Identity

Session Title

More Than Kimchi & Cash: Designing for Cultural Identity


Kipum Lee, Marriott International

Session Type: Presentation

This project was motivated by one question: Can products be instruments for designing and shaping culture?

We know that there are products that can destroy a culture or cultural framework. For example, the Nazis came up with sophisticated products to annihilate various groups of people. More recently, many of the visually impaired have complained about not being able to hear hybrid vehicles before crossing the street. If certain products are destructive to a culture, can other ones enhance it?

My hypothesis is that there are products or a class of products — centered around appropriate activities — that can support an environment for people to participate and shape. This project focuses on a specific cultural environment — Asian American culture — and the impact a product could have in facilitating relationships and participation in that context.


Kip is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s graduate program in Interaction Design and has had experience working at design firms including frog design and IDEO. Currently, he is a Senior Designer at Marriott International’s Product Development group. His projects and research focus on the guest experience at Marriott, a leader in the hospitality industry. Much of his work consists of vision and strategy planning with upper management, process redesigning, and leading design research to strengthen the User Experience group within Marriott.