Sylvia Xihui Liu

7 Years at PolyU Design
3 Connections


Sylvia Xihui Liu

Research Areas
1. Design and value creation: Design Strategy, business model innovation, design-driven innovation.

2. Design policy: police making for design, national and regional design policy

3. Define value through real-time data


Dr. Xihui Liu (刘曦卉)  

Dr. Sylvia Xihui Liu has a good mix of academic and industrial experience. Her teaching career starts from Associate Professor in Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, from 2010 to 2011. In Nov, 2011, she was appointed as visiting assistant professor, School of Design, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she obtained PhD degree in 2010. Working with Prof John Heskett, who is her supervisor, she studied design management in Chinese manufacturing industry. In the study, she built first database of design management in China and develop a model to evaluate the design capability of manufacturers. The model is adopted in Europe as a index of evaluating local industries. Design capability in industries is a longitude study since 2007 and is her domain research area. Based on it, other topics are extended as new areas in her research, include design collaboration, design and value creation. A combination of the three topics to create a systematic frame of design management for efficient management and implementation is her update research topic. Since 2013, She has been invited as adviser for developing Chinese design policy and draft related content for Made in China 2025, a major policy for upgrading and transforming manufacturing.  

Before her PhD study, she had rich experience as professional industrial designer and manager. Starting to work as industrial designer in 1997, her accumulated professional experience in various fields, advertisement design, interior design, animation design and product design. Through rethinking the value of design, she decided to extend her work from styling to user research in 2000. In 2002, she joined Nova Design, the largest design team who can speak Chinese in the world. As design manager, she built up a international design team in Shanghai and work globally. She earned substantial industrial experience and was exposed to frontline issues in global business during her appointment. As leader of design team, she designed and led every projects from kick-off meeting to product released on markets. The design projects rang from consumer product, communication, home appliance to transportation. And her consultancy service covers product design, branding and design strategy for Chinese clients and multinational brands. She has a prominent list of clients, including Siemens, General Motor, Yamaha, Suzuki, Faw, Electrolux, BBK, Media, Konka, etc.. She achieved numbers of international design awards, such as IDEA, iF and Reddot.

She keeps a creed of research, “theory-building through empirical study,” and manages to balance academic research with industrial practice. Keep a close relationship with industries, she defines their difficulties as her research questions and feeds her findings back to individual enterprises, industries and policy-making at national level. She has published around 40 journal and conference papers, as well as monographs on her research topics. 

Selected Publications

Refereed journal paper

Liu, Xihui (2016), Innovation Design: Made in China 2025. Design Management Review, 27(1): 52–58. doi: 10.1111/drev.10349

Liu, Xihui (2015) China Good Design Case: Kangyi, Mechanical Engineering Trends,180 (6):24-28.

Liu, Xihui (2015) China Good Design Case: DJI, Mechanical Engineering Trends,180 (5):18-23.

Liu, Xihui (2014) The Evolution of Design Management: A Comparison of the UK, US, and Design, International Journal of Cultural and Creative Industries, 2(1):62-79.

Liu, Xihui (2014) New value of innovative design: systemic design thinking for transformation economy, Mechanical Engineering Trends, 171(2): 29-31.

Liu, Xihui (2014) Establish Business Models by Design-Transformation and Upgrade of Wayes, Creation and Design, 35(6): 84-93.

Liu, Xihui (2013) Open up thought, open design new era, China and World Highlights, 2: 24-29.

Liu, Xihui (2012) Six model of design competitive, Tsinghua Business Review,10(6): 42-51.

Liu, X. H. (2012) Enlightenment of innovation and knowledge management in enterprises from SECI model, Science and Technology Management Research, 32(6):160-163. 

Liu, X. H. (2012) Enlightenment of Developing Local Design Firms Based on Design Knowledge Spillovers from FDI, Science and Technology Management Research, 32(7):155-158.

Liu, Xihui (2012) A Study of Developing Design Service Based on Demands from Innovation of Enterprises, Art of Design,

Liu, Xihui(2011) Study on Successful Model of Design Knowledge Process Outsourcing Project Based on the Rough Set, Economy and Management, 25(12):41-44.

Refereed conference paper

Liu, Xihui (2016) Design Awareness: Developing Design Capacity in Chinese Manufacturing Industry.  in: P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia, eds., Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 3, pp 1237-1252.

Koskinen, Ilpo. and Liu, Xihui (2013) Revolution brewing: where is design excellence in 2017? Proceedings of IASDR 2013, Tokyo, Japan.

Heskett, John and Liu, Xihui (2012) Models of developing design capacity: perspective from China, Proceedings of the DMI 2012 International Research Conference, Edited by E. Bohemia, J. Liedtka and A. Rieple, August 8-9 2012, Boston, USA.:225-238.  

Liu, Xihui (2009). Design management as a stage of design education: an experience from Kao Gong Ji, ICSID Design Education Conference, Singapore.

Liu, Xihui (2009). The way of knowing design management. IASDR 2009: Design/Rigor & Relevance, Seoul: COEX.

Heskett, John and Liu, Xihui (2009). The approach of design management in China. IASDR 2009: Design/Rigor & Relevance, Seoul: COEX.

Liu, Xihui (2009). Successful patterns of outsourcing design projects. In Williams, A., Partington, R. and Sun, Q. (Eds.). D2B2 International Design Management Symposium (pp. 274-281), UK:The Adelphi Research Institute, Creative Arts & Sciences.

Heskett, John and Liu, Xihui (2008). Breaking the frame: from styling to strategy. International DMI Education Conference-Design Thinking: New Challenges for Designers, Managers and Organizations, ESSEC Business School, Cergy-Pointoise, France.


Liu, Xihui (2015) China Good Design: Paths of Innovation Design, Beijing: China Science and Technology Press.

Liu, Xihui (2015) Design Management. Beijing: Beijing University Press.

Chen, Qi and Liu, Xihui (2010). Design Management: Theory and Practice. Beijing: Beijing Institute of Technology Press.