Published on Oct 28th, 2015
RKS has acquired its latest strategic hire as the firm continues to excel in innovation, strategy, and design. Mike Elam, the newest addition to the world class RKS team, takes on the role of Director of Product Development. This position encompasses innovation, interaction, design, design for manufacturing and prototyping in conjunction with external resources and vendors and the in house team of RKS experts.
Mike has a very unique and proven successful skillset as a usability expert as well as an engineer and designer. Mike designs physical interactions with products that feel fantastic by engineering from a usability standpoint. Mike’s very special design through intuition is invaluable to the projects innovated at RKS. This intuitive problem solving technique helps him to see barriers from a foreign perspective and to ultimately create ingenious solutions quickly. RKS CEO Ravi Sawhney elaborates, “He’s brilliant, collaborative and has the unique ability to conceive of mechanisms, haptic, innovations and trigger vast improvement in all he sees and touches.”
Along with his positive and playful personality, Mike brings 23 years of experience in product development to RKS. Mike studied furniture and product development at Ravensbourne, a world-class design and digital media college in London. Mike recently moved to the United States from the UK where he owned and ran his own design firm, Hyphen. Hyphen was hugely successful at creating cost effective solutions through innovation, engineering, and user experience.
At Hyphen, Mike has created many very impressive products. The team designed a gorgeous mobile configuration case for McLaren supercars. The case is designed as a luxurious way for elite car customers to pick customizations in paint, fabric, upholstery stitching, wheel color, and brake caliper color for their McLarens. Mike also designed some of the most comfortable swimming goggles on the market for Speedo. These goggles were highly successful as they dominated the sales space for an unusually long shelf life of 6 years.The goggles were designed with the user’s experience as a first priority while making specialized modifications for optimal comfort and user experience.
In addition to these big name projects, some of Mike’s most recent work at Hyphen has been aimed specifically to aid in underdeveloped countries. An all new card payment system in Pakistan, an affordable heating pad for babies in Rwanda, and a vaccine refrigerator for the developing world are just some of the world changing solutions he has created. Mike has thoroughly enjoyed these projects because he has had the opportunity to solve very real problems and bring useful, affordable technology to those who truly need it.
Mike’s philanthropic motivations fit in perfectly at RKS as we have decades of involvement in projects aimed specifically to bring assistance to those in need. Ravi Sawhney especially relates to Mike’s dedication to humanitarianism, “he aligns with our vision for design’s roles in helping as many people as there are in this world.” The RKS team is very excited about working with Mike and getting involved in the philanthropic projects he brings with him.