"Alastair Curtis may have the coolest job in the wireless industry. As Nokia's chief designer, a post the company veteran has held since 2006, he influences the look and feel of the millions of cellphones the Finnish communications giant produces each year.
Curtis describes his role as promoting "the intelligent use of creativity" within Nokia (nyse: NOK - news - people ). He says he feels privileged to work in a fast-moving industry--his team just completed a first take on the firm's 2010 product portfolio--but also stresses the importance of doing something right, as opposed to first.
Forbes.com met with Curtis in New York recently to discuss his design inspirations, coming Nokia devices and how Indian teenagers will influence the future of mobility.
Forbes.com: As a designer, what visually inspires you?
Alastair Curtis: I was reading about a chef who doesn't get inspiration from food but from textures and the countryside and people. I think it's no different for designers. Some people look at the latest trends in the automotive world, the Milan furniture show, fashion. Personally, I get my greatest inspiration from walking the streets--the energy of cities, whether London, New York or Tokyo, or the countryside. It's quite voyeuristic. Watching people interact in a group is fascinating.
Nokia is famous for its ethnography research and research centers. How much do you collaborate with those units?
In the reorganization Nokia did at the end of last year, we made a commitment to create a user interface/user interaction design team. We also made a huge investment in ergonomics and user experience. We decided to [mix everyone together] to create multi-disciplinary teams of traditional product designers, color specialists, interaction designers and ergonomists." (Continued via Forbes.com, Elizabeth Woyke) [Ergonomics Resources]