I never lost at ‘Risk’: Hakan Diniz

Following his industrial product design education in Middle East Technical University, he completed his master’s degrees, first in Aalto University of Helsinki and following that, in Rhode Island School of Design. He chose these two different schools because they weren’t really that familiar to him; because – according to him– it is righter and more fun to see what you don’t know rather than getting better in what you are already good at.

Who is Hakan Diniz ?

As a profession, I rather define myself as a tactician or a guesser rather than a designer. I do not see myself as someone who only designs objects. I believe I’m a guesser who foresees the future, who cares about the long term.

What motivates you?

Process. When you do your job smiling, loving, with love each and every day and enjoy every moment of it, when you love the process instead of dreaming about what you will get in the end, you do not need another motivation. Working itself is a present if you just love the process.

METU, and then Aalto University, and then Rhode Island School of Design… What did they change in you? 

The schools I attended provided different educations. Of course, those schools and the education they provided supported my vision. However, I should mention that at the bottom of it all I’m made of clay that can absorb all the education I received! Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is an art school; and as per their perspective, they approach the management and professional life parts of the work subjectively and the art approach gets the priority.

An important professional, a CEO, no matter how important his works are, cannot be an instructor at the RISD. As a result, art was always at the fore of my education, too. Elements like management and marketing were always thought of as the supporting components.

On the contrary, in Finland I had a master’s on design by only focusing on the management side, without drawing even a single line. Those exact opposite perspectives of two different schools gave me different points of view.

Why did you choose two different schools?

Their distance from my then design concept made those two different schools very suitable for me. Those new points of view and of course new methodologies carried me as a designer to very different areas both in terms of talent and perception.

If I had my master’s degrees on my strong fields, I would only make them stronger; but my approach is to try to see what I do not know, try to get rid of the blinders. Art from RIDS and management and work focus from Finland…

The game for the movie Battleship which came out this month was designed by you… Bop it-smash and Risk Legacy games of Hasbro brand are also products of your team… Which one interested you the most?

Hasbro itself in general interested me the most. Creativity, games, fun, design, friendship, professionalism, real user analysis, inter-disciplinary communications, a very deep rooted and different innovation culture are its properties. Because of this, the company is seen as one of the best 100 places to work in the world. I can say I learnt a lot. The good part is, they say the same for me. ☺

How did the cooperation with Hasbro begin?

While my education in RISD continued, the school was realizing joint projects with different companies. In this concept, interns were accepted in different terms and I wanted to be a piece of that team. Somehow I entered Hasbro as an intern. After that, it was just transfering to the department that I wanted. And for this a little eagerness and bravery was enough… To the department that contained Risk and Risk Legacy I told that I never lost a game of ‘Risk’. And the doors opened…

What do you want here and now?

Cooperation is very important for me. A designer must be a team player. This profession is a team work. Designer is the mediator between the researcher, marketer, user and producer. I want to play as a member of a team, I want to meet with my new colleagues, I want to create products that are far away from designs that are personal ego directed, but are based on real cooperation, that are successful both with their results and processes.

What’s next?

All of my produced products are sold overseas. I very much enjoy the global part of my work, but now I want to create added value in my country, too. I believe Turkey has a very high production, and hence design potential. Leaving my mark on shaping this potential and design exporting is my next big goal.

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