Michael T Lai

Michael T Lai, PhD

Associate Professor of Practice, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University

Dean, X Thinking Institute

SVP of Knowledge Management & Senior Partner, TANG Consulting

Co-Director, Human-based Insight Lab, Beijing Normal University & TANG

Co-Author, X Thinking


Brief Introduction

  • Michael is Associate Professor of Tongji University’s College of Design & Innovation. In addition, Mike is Dean of X Thinking Institute, Senior Vice President of Knowledge Management & Senior Partner of TANG Consulting, and co-author of the book X Thinking.

  • His research focuses on eXperience Thinking (X Thinking) as a business philosophy for businesses to use eXperiences as a competitive advantage in the age of the experience economy. Mike, together with Jason Huang, introduced the business philosophy in their book 《体验思维:让品牌触动人心》(X Thinking: How Brands Touch People’s Hearts) published in Chinese in 2020.

  • In order for businesses to fully implement X Thinking, it requires embedding eXperiences and X Thinking as a core capability within the organization from the highest levels all the way down to implementation. This requires eXperience to become a strategic activity in organizations in the form of eXperience Strategy (X Strategy). Once the organization has established an  X Strategy, it needs to realize the eXperience through design (X Design). Lastly, organizations need a means of measuring and managing the eXperience customers have with the brand in the form of X Management. Together, X Strategy, X Design, and X Management serves as research foci for X Thinking.

  • As Dean of X Thinking Institute, Mike leads a highly skilled team of researchers, content creators, and educators in equipping business leaders with the knowledge and tools to create business value through the delivery of Ideal and Holistic eXperiences. In addition, Mike oversees the knowledge development, application and management for TANG to enhance the value and delivery of TANG’s offerings to clients.

  • Prior to his work with X Thinking Institute, Mike spent over 15 years helping clients position, envision, design, and deliver brand eXperiences. His experience covers a wide number of industries in the United States and Greater China, including creating insurance retail stores in the financial industry, innovating new ways of interacting with smart homes in the consumer electronics industry, redefining the car purchasing and ownership experience at dealerships in automotive industry, and positioning university brand eXperiences for prospective students in the education industry. His clients have included companies such as Nationwide Insurance, JPMorgan Chase, Legg Mason, Baojun, Amway, Changhong, Alliance Data, Big Lots, and more.

  • Mike holds the post of Associate Professor at the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University (China). He has previously held posts at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) and the Columbus College of Art & Design (United States). 

  • Mike holds a PhD in Design from Tsinghua University (China), a Master of Design (MDes) in Interaction Design from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong), and a BFA in Advertising & Graphic Design from the Columbus College of Art & Design (United States).


· X Thinking

· eXperience Strategy

· eXperience Design

· eXperience Management



Undergraduate: “Design Thinking & Communicating Design”

Graduate: “X Thinking & User eXperience Design”


Academic and social Post

2020-present, Founder’s Circle, World eXperience Organization (WXO)

2019, Design Intelligence Award (DIA) Jury

2018, Red Star Award Jury

2011-2015, Founding Member, User eXperience Professionals Association Asia (UXPA Asia)

2010-2011, Conference Vice Chair and Organizer, International Conference on Interaction Design (ICID)

2007-2008, Co-President, Columbus Society of Communicating Arts (CSCA)


Education Background

2012-2016, Doctor of Art (PhD) in Design, Tsinghua University, China

2009-2010, Master of Design (MDes) in Interaction Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China

2001-2004, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Advertising & Graphic Design, Columbus College of Art & Design, United States


Work Experience

2021-present, Associate Professor of Practice, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, China

2020-present, Dean, X Thinking Institute, China

2017-present, Senior Vice President of Knowledge Management and Senior Partner, TANG Consulting, China

2010-2012, Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China

2008-2009, Founder and Principal, Staticmotion

2004-2009, Adjunct Instructor, Columbus College of Art & Design

2004-2008, Senior Designer, Ologie



Huang, F., & Lai, Z. J. (2020). 《体验思维:让品牌触动人心》[X Thinking: How Brands Touch People’s Heart]. China: Cheers Publishing.


Lai, M. T. (2018). 体验战略方法体系:基于精确用户定位和洞察的全局体验规划与设计 [X Strategy Methodology: Understanding, Defining, and Planning to Create Holistic eXperiences]. Harvard Business Review China.


Lai, Z., & Lu X. (2016). 面向智慧型系统的信息设计方法研究 [Information Design Methods for Intelligent Systems]. 包装工程 [Packaging Engineering]



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