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Joseph Nelson, Chief Designer at Niu Innovation Lab

Joseph Nelson, Chief Designer at Niu Innovation Lab

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :

I’m Joseph Nelson.

Your current job :

I’m the Chief Designer at Niu Innovation Lab which is a start-up I founded with a friend. We design and manufacturer mobility solutions for urbanites. Currently these solutions happen to be in the form of smart electric scooters.

In which city are you located?

I’m currently located in Shanghai.

A word to define what kind of worker you are :

Visualizer. I’d rather communicate a solution through a quick sketch or dirty mock-up than by describing it. I struggle to explain with words what’s in my head sometimes.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

Copic markers, 0.3 Fine liner, Moleskin.

What does your office space look like?

Chaos. My office is a design studio, workshop and a library of parts. We have motorcycles and scooters in various states of disassembly scattered throughout the space then mixed in with my own personal projects. 

Then I have my desk (that’s where the magic happens) and it’s a bomb site. Empty desk, empty mind.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?

Usually some rock like Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits etc. Not sure why but I personally don’t enjoy anything post 2000.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?

I make a list of the most important tasks I have to complete that day on a post-it note and slap it on my desk.

 Then I remain pretty flexible and turn my attention to whichever design task is most urgent at that time.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?

Turn off the social media.

You’re better than your colleagues to :

My colleagues are the best at what they do. Everyone has their own unique skill that we like to find and then grow. For myself, I believe it’s seeing the big picture: budget, timeline, manufacturability, brand fit and then taking all that and still creating a cool design that people will love.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?

There’s no such thing as talent. It’s all grit, determination and hard work.

What is your best tip for saving time ?

Delegate. Build a team of skilled people around you and trust them. That gives you time to work on the big stuff and work that matters to you the most.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?

My Niu N1 smart scooter! It takes me everywhere.