“Design is the occupation of straining our ears and eyes to discover new questions from the midst of everday life.”
“Design is innovative, useful, aesthetic, understandable, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting, environmentally-friendly, down to the last detail, and less, but better.”
“Whatever our condition, design can make us better!”
Hi, I’m Idrees — an urban challenge seeker and solver who uncovers, conceives & develops the themes and critical pieces of information that spark game-changing products, processes and places.
Born in Kabul, raised in London and nurtured in over a dozen countries — I’m an award-winning designer, with a focus on disruptive market innovation. I’m the Founder of X-Crop︎︎︎, a part R&D and part consultancy company specialising in making cities, organisations and people better by design!
I believe design should start from ‘small things’ — like a ‘tornado’ that starts from small ideas and gradually turns into a bigger one. A bottom-up approach and way of thinking that integrates the immediate context, resources, systems and processes to find the most important problems in our cities, organisations and communities through observing and noticing everyday life conditions, and then trying to capture and turning them into something that’s simple, thoughtful and impactful as well as easy to understand and share.
In the past 12+ years, I’ve been working with all kinds of cities, organisations and people, helping them solve issues of urbanisation in the 21st century through design, on both local and global levels. Trained at the Royal College of Art︎︎︎ and Imperial College London︎︎︎ — I cultivated my design leadership skills through extensive practice and collaboration with a number of world-famous architecture, design, engineering, and branding companies such as the Office for Metropolitan Architecture︎︎︎, Ramboll︎︎︎, and Fitch︎︎︎; with direct involvement in projects across a wide range of industries, including technology, automotive, energy, healthcare, transport, fashion, aviation, consumer goods, manufacturing, education, and construction throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
As a design academic, I’m an expert in the design and delivery of academic and creative development activities which embed active and inclusive collaborative learning and teaching practices. I spent over a decade developing and leading multiple design courses at Ravensbourne University London︎︎︎, building high quality academic experiences and stimulating environment for students and staff from various backgrounds at department and school levels, with a focus on combining pedagogic experimentation, creative imagination and cross-disciplinary collaboration to create the best propositions for the issues of the built environment. I am currently Associate Professor (Art & Design) and Deputy Head of Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University︎︎︎where I lead on the portfolio of Art & Design programmes and undertake academic leadership in teaching & learning, research & innovation, recruitment, external engagement and enterprise, as well as External Examiner and Course Development Consultant for the Department of Interior Design, School of Design, Architecture, and Interiors at Falmouth University︎︎︎, Visiting Lecturer for the School of Design at the Royal College of Art︎︎︎, and Member of the Board of Advisors at Digital Influx︎︎︎.
My pedagogy focuses on pioneering new methods and strategic models for partnering public and private sector organisations with academia to co-create prototypes that respond to everyday and future needs; investigating through world-class ideas and concepts that define the future of urban environments, mobility, energy, transaction and trade, well-being, living and working. My teaching focusses on encouraging an international and cross geo-cultural educational experience that challenges stereotypical approaches and methodologies to design education and practice through connecting the ostensibly unconnected, recognising the relationship and value of the local & the global as well as the importance of experimentation and the need to innovate for purpose.
I’m a doctoral researcher in Innovation Design Engineering, School of Design at the Royal College of Art︎︎︎. My practice-based research explores the concept of [Decolonised Innovation], which explores and examines the concepts of Human-Connected Design, Design in Crisis and Emergency, Autonomous Design, and Design Under Resource Constraints, and questions the role of borders and transnationalism in design and innovation across the least developed, developing, and developed economies.
My research aims to investigate the methods, principles and rules for design that are unbiased; free from the forces of globalisation and from externally imposed conventional methods and perspectives. It examines and integrates the moment of now in approaching the construction and longevity of products, processes and places as well as their suitability within specific culture and context.
PREVIOUS CLIENTS & COLLABORATORS
Ford / Nokia / Shenzhen Stock Exchange / Chelmsford Borough Council / British Council / Kuwait Catering Company / Ashfield District Council / Leaside Regeneration Company / Hitachi / Imperial College London / Seoul Design Foundation / Fitch / Aspire Logistics / Rio Tinto / Royal College of Art / Office for Metropolitan Architecture / Kuwait Hotels Company / Ramboll Group / Ravensbourne University London / Design Museum London / Deutsch Bank / InnovationRCA / Wates Foundation / University of Milano - Bicocca / Korea Advance Institute of Science and Technology / Qatar Foundation / China Central Television / KEIO University / British Olympics Authority / Lusail Development / Samsung / LG, Korea / Tokyo Department for Tourism / Leicester City Council / Greenwich Automated Transport Environment / Transport Research London / ESNE University / Robert Owen Nursery School / World of Hope / Ogilvy / Southwark Council / Metropolitan Police / Royal College of Physicians / Creative Ken / Methodist Church / City of Kamaishi / Atlantic Pacific / Nebama Mind / Croydon Council / United Natioans Development Programme / Unilever / Vestre / Dubai Design Week / Canadian University of Dubai / The Culture Capital Exchange / Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation / Institute for Innovative Global Education, Kansai University / CERN / Logitech / World Health Organisation / World Humanitarian Forum / Emergency Show / Digital Influx / Falmouth University