Michael-Owen Liston

Nationality: Canadian

Area of Expertise: Creative and Critical Generalist

Michael is fascinated by the emergent properties of design; not just the capacity to craft objects and experiences that are useful, beautiful, and compelling, but the power of the practice of design itself to reshape people, discourse, and cultural systems in ways that are often not anticipated.

In particular, Michael is curious about the complex and frequently conflicted roles played by values in the design disciplines. From the sustainable use of materials, to the ethics of human interactions with networks at scale, he is passionate about the continued challenge of the question: What does a practice of design rooted in principled advocacy look like?

Prior to entering the design field, Michael could variously be found informally designing experiences as a professional double bassist, a mental health and harm-reduction worker, and as the manager of a not-for-profit venue and bar. In Interaction Design, he finds a synergy for his appreciation of hands-on craft, with the desire to effect systems-level change. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to hone new skills and ways of collaborating at CIID.

Most recently, Michael has worked as an Interaction Designer in Toronto, both with in-house product teams and consultancies. He co-founded Service Design Toronto in 2013, which strives especially to animate service and public service design topics.

He also enjoys dabbling in the emergent properties of knitting, eSports and conventional sports, and plant-based cuisines from around the world.