Nick Foster is a designer, creative leader and futurist based in Oakland, California.
He was born in Derby, a city most notable as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, and the home of the jet engine. His father (a railway draughtsman) taught him technology and engineering, and his mother (an occupational therapy professor) taught him empathy and ingenuity. As a young man he was twice named the ‘Young Engineer for Britain’ by the British Engineering Council, in 2001 he received his Masters from the Royal College of Art and in 2018 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Nick has made his career working at the overlap of technology and design for manufacturers such as Dyson, Sony, Nokia and Google, helping to shape new products for emerging needs and users. Through the early part of this career, whilst working as an industrial designer at agencies in London, he began developing a suite of tools and approaches to vividly render future scenarios, building on emerging academic and practical approaches to design.
Nick is currently the Head of Design at X (formerly Google X), and a partner at the Near Future Laboratory, where he works in the pioneering field of Design Fiction. He also leads the Speculative Design effort across Alphabet, bringing educational resources and public discourse to the entire organization. All of these roles focus on creating detailed depictions of the future to aid in present day reflection and decision making.
Nick is a globally recognized design leader and works to continually push the influence of design and its relationship to technology through vividly portraying the cultures it creates.
X [formerly Google X] (2016-present) Head of Design - Leading a multidisciplinary team of designers, prototypers and researchers in early stage, technology driven, world-changing projects.
Google (2015-2016) Industrial Design Lead - Leading design strategy, product exploration and creative hardware prototyping for a new family of products and services.
Nokia (2009-2015) Creative Lead - Advanced Design - Working with a cross functional team developing new products, concepts and approaches for emerging technologies.
Sony (2005-2008) Senior European Designer - Industrial design vision work across multiple consumer electronic verticals.
SeymourPowell (2001-2004) - Industrial Design and strategy projects for clients including Jaguar, Tefal and Nokia.
Dyson (1998-1999) - Design, research and engineering for emerging and experimental products.
FUTURES working group - Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, 2019
Casper - speaker, San Francisco, 2019
Worldz Cultural Master, Los Angeles, 2018
Primer Conference, keynote speaker, Berkeley 2018
PTTOW summit, Los Angeles, 2018
Mercedes Benz - MeConvention speaker, Frankfurt Germany, 2017
PTTOW summit, Los Angeles, 2017
IDSA awards, judging panel, Detroit 2017
Interaction 15, speaker, San Francisco, 2015
dConstruct, speaker, Brighton UK 2015
It’s Grim up North, presented to IDSA, Silicon Valley, 2014
An Evening of Design and Fiction, speaker, IDEO San Francisco, 2014
Emerge conference, speaker, Arizona State University, 2013
Interesting North, speaker, Sheffield UK, 2010