ISD Welcome Home Alumni Celebration and Seminar

Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, Noon-1:30 p.m.

Noon-12:45 p.m. Seminar

12:45-1:30 p.m. Scrumptious Lunch

Lunch Menu: Chicken kabobs, three cheese ravioli, eggplant parmesan with herb-crusted tofu, roasted potatoes, Michigan salad, and chocolate-covered strawberries

SI-North, Commons Area, 1075 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Please RSVP by Monday, Sept. 19

Seminar: User-First Design Principles Matter


Dr. Amir Sabet Sarvestani

2022 ISD Distinguished Alumni Awardee, Design Science Doctoral Degree, 2015

(presented by the U-M College of Engineering)

Principal @ AWS Innovation Advisory Amazon Web Services

Speaker Bio

Dr. Amir Sabet Sarvestani is a newly named principal innovation consultant at Amazon Web Services. As he noted when taking this position, “I am joining a team of talented visionaries and creators that help and partner with enterprises to imagine a better tomorrow, and partner with them to build that future.” That could describe his work to this point. Before joining AWS, he spent more than eight years at IBM. While there, he held progressive positions, focusing on the design, development, and scaling of data-driven and AI-based solutions and products for variety of customers. In one role, for example, he led the “citizen-first” data and analytics operations for the COVID Response and Recovery efforts for several northeastern states. Before joining IBM, he was part of the World Health Organization’s Health Technology Unit, and a National Science Foundation (NSF) research fellow. His work focused on defining and evaluating the concept of usability for medical devices and health technology in low-resource settings. His research and fieldwork led to methodologies and frameworks for medical device design and products that are effective, intuitive to use and, better yet, inexpensive.


With the user-first mental model, we are contributing to the design and formation of a better future: our lives, our society, our businesses, and our world. Along the way, there are a few foundational pillars that can help us design and build better: 

  1. Design principles matter: having a methodology and approach on how to be “outcome-driven”, and empower diverse points of view on design teams matter.
  2. Frameworks of action matter: Once there are a set of principles to tackle a challenge through design and creation, having an operating model to implement and execute the strategy and approach is critical.
  3. Iterations matter: As the needs of users are identified, and the “to-be” state is envisioned, rapid prototyping and getting to minimal viable products is critical. This helps elicit continuous feedback from end-users, rather than waiting for “major” milestones.
  4. Zooming ability matter: How deep is deep, and how big picture is big? This is one of the most critical skills if we are to imagine and envision a transformed future.