How Culture Impacts Design Problem Solving - Jon Kolko

In Chapter 6 of 17 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, designer and educator Jon Kolko shares why understanding culture is fundamental to understanding design. He notes design is subjective, qualitative, and contingent on larger cultural context. Taking design in a problem solving context, he notes the challenges different cultural settings present using more scientific methods. Culture challenges the problem solving process and a design approach must be flexible enough to incorporate cultural differences. Kolko is the executive director of design strategy at venture accelerator, Thinktiv ( He is the founder and director of the Austin School for Design ( Previously, he worked at frog design and was a professor of Interactive and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He has authored multiple books on design. Kolko earned his Masters in Human Computer Interaction (MHI) and BFA in Design from Carnegie Mellon University.