About

Led by its founder, Kajal, Heist is a creative collective of independent design talent. Each of us has extensive experience in our area of specialty ranging from design research to UX design and prototyping to workshop facilitation. 

For each of our projects, a custom team of experts swiftly comes together to help solve specific design challenges. We work closely with our clients, often involving multiple teams in the design thinking process right through to development. 

 

Kajal Vatsa

Founder and Principal

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Kajal is Principal and Founder at Heist. Based in Singapore, she leads Heist’s business in the region and works with global and local clients to uncover the fundamental insights needed to keep up with the rapid pace of change in Asia.

Formerly Insights Lead for emerging markets at frog, Kajal leads the design of products, services, and experiences that help businesses establish footholds in new markets, remain relevant across generations, and gain the clarity and confidence needed to create products that deeply connect with consumer needs. She has practiced her craft in more than 23 countries over 15 years. Her extensive client list includes many of the world’s best-known brands, including 3M, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Nestle, P&G, Tata, DBS, and Standard Chartered.

A believer in the power of connecting interesting people and ideas, Kajal has an innate ability to quickly gain access to new communities and tastemakers. As a result, she’s able to create experiential, immersive experiences for her clients that swiftly bring to life consumer motivations. Over the course of her career, she has been mistaken for a spy while studying Gospel cultures and recreated a typical Chinese kitchen to help a U.S.-based client understand the patterns amongst usage of woks and knives. 

Kajal is a sought-after teacher, mentor and speaker. She has lectured at institutions around the world, including Shanghai’s Fudan University, Hong Kong University, and The Singapore University of Technology and Design - Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a mentor for innovation initiatives from OCBC, AIA, Nest.vc, Grameen Bank and BBVA. She is also a facilitator for Geek Girls, an organisation that promotes women’s participation in technology and design. Over the last decade, she's helped more than 30 startups re-think the value of user insights as part of her ongoing involvement with accelerator programs in Asia.

Rosslyn Chay

DESIGN LEAD

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Ross started her career in 2008 and has worked with the likes of Tribal DDB, Huge and TBWA. She has a BA in Communication from RMIT. When not working, Ross loves to travel the world and take unusual photographs of hidden spaces.

Ross is an experience designer with a comprehensive understanding of the digital domain. She helms the roles of designer and technologist, alongside a user centric approach. Ross is especially fond of studying and designing clear flows.

Naima Volz

Lead Design Researcher

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Naima is a user researcher and psychologist from Germany. Currently she is a Lead Design Researcher at Heist.

Naima previously worked as a user researcher and project manager in design and prototyping projects for startups across Europe and Asia. She likes to combine her expertise in psychology and research with her passion for technology to identify real customer needs and solve complex challenges. Naima loves immersing herself in diverse Asian cultures, decoding human behaviour - how people live and work, what frustrates them and what motivates them - to develop sharp insights for impactful design.

Outside of work, Naima enjoys sports and travel. She has played pro level handball for several years and has spent the last two years travelling all over Asia. She especially loves beaches, wakeboard parks and active volcanoes.  

Venus Teo

DESIGN RESEARCHER

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Venus is a design researcher at Heist with a background in design communication. Fuelled by her interest in nature and human-centred environment design, she started a self-initiated project to help offices provide better working environments through the use of nature. Having spoken to experts and various stakeholders to develop sound solutions, she realised the impact of human-centred design and its potential to solve complex design problems. This strengthened her resolve to continuously work on projects with a user research focus to discover innovative and impactful solutions. In the future, Venus hopes to be able put her experience in design research to good use and work on creating better environments for people to live and exist within.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Bridget Lim

UX DESIGNER

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Michelle is a User Experience (UX) Designer at Heist with a background in Design Thinking. Her journey started as a business designer, helping organisations create new value and new forms of competitive advantage through human-centred innovation. She went on to practice visual design as she honed her artistic side by creating art in virtual spaces and on paper.

Her passion for people, science, design, and tech led her to the field of UX. And since her discovery, Michelle has fallen in love with it as it combines all her seemingly disparate interests into one discipline: psychology, sociology, visual, and interactive design.

Grounded in Design Thinking, she applies existing skills in research and business strategy to the design process to humanise technology so it can be translated into meaningful experiences for people.

Sofia Elamrani

DESIGNER

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Originally from Casablanca and trained as an Architectural Designer at Parsons School of Design, Sofia had the privilege to live and work in New York City for 5 years. Now dipping her toes into Singapore’s design scene, her goal to utilize ethnographic research and promote artistic sensibility renders her decision to join the Heist community self-evident.

Trilingual (English, French, Arabic) Sofia enjoys spaces, political science, film, printmaking, music and literature. Constantly on the move, she has explored multiple capital and metropolitan cities around the world. After living in North Africa and North America, Sofia's thirst for discovery now leads her to South East Asia, and she is excited to explore and experience the urban fabric of this new environment.  

An avid lover of playful and impactful storytelling, Sofia's background serves as a catalyst for her deeply rooted passion for culture and the arts, ultimately with the sole purpose of enhancing people’s lives. 

 

Tessa Chay

INTERN

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Formerly a communications strategist specialising in sport and entertainment, Tessa has been instrumental in designing and executing PR campaigns for large-scale events. It was during her five years of work with the media that she grew intrigued by the relevance of Michel Foucault’s theory of the power-knowledge continuum. Coupled with the transforming media and marketing landscape globally, and incidentally reminded of the Latin phrase Sapere Aude (Dare To Know) which she came across while reading Sociology at the University of Manchester, Tessa sought to pursue a new path – one that would allow her to work with research data in order to develop pragmatic and impactful experiences for society.

An adventurous eater, exploring a local market is something Tessa tries to do whenever she travels due to the intrinsic ability food has in reflecting the culture and history of a community. She also enjoys sports, a good hike and critical discourse on the rehabilitation of mental health and deviant behaviour.

 

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Jenny Tang

Jenny is currently an Associate Strategy Director at the Lane Crawford Joyce Group, a leading lifestyle retail conglomerate in Asia. 

Prior to this, Jenny was senior strategist at US firm frog design, where she managed the innovation and design process for next generation products, services and user experiences through user and market research.

She is experienced at creating key partnerships that align user needs with business goals and has 16+ project experiences in user research and immersive ethnography studies in markets including Nigeria, Johannesburg, Russia, China, Amsterdam,Singapore and San Francisco. Clients she has worked include Disney, Intel, Huawei, Shiseido and Finmark. 

Jenny is a committee member of TEDx Shanghai and serves as a Mentor for The Cage, a leading incubation program in Asia that offers mentorship and in-house commercial opportunities to retail start-ups.

Jenny is a graduate of Oxford University in Economics and Management and is currently based in Hong Kong. 

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Matt Gehrmann 

Matt is an operations executive focused on helping clients improve their businesses through process re-engineering, automation, organizational change and adopting an agile mindset.
 
Matt has over 20 years of experience delivering complex, interdisciplinary projects ranging from technology platform builds for financial services companies to the strategic integration of an acquired healthcare company. Matt has worked at the creative agency R/GA, the design consulting firm frog as well as client side at Goldman Sachs and Barclays Global Investors.
 
Matt has a passion for creating systems, empowering teams, and striving for continuous improvement. He holds a BS in civil engineering from the United States Military Academy, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and an MA in economics from New York University. Originally from California, Matt has lived and worked in the United States, Germany, China, and Singapore.

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LINDSEY ZOUEIN

Lindsey is a marketing, brand, and communications consultant. She specialises in helping companies draw out and refine the stories of their work and new ventures. Her clients range from startups to established firms, and run across sectors, including finance, infrastructure, biomedical, and design. As IDEO's former Marketing Director, Asia Markets, Lindsey helped the firm expand across its regional markets, helping to localise its offer for China, India, Japan, and Singapore. Prior to moving to Singapore in 2012, Lindsey spent 3 years in IDEO's Silicon Valley headquarters supporting its global brand. Before that, she consulted with Silicon Valley startup technology companies in San Francisco. She started her career as a daily newspaper journalist in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

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Lorenzo Petrillo

An interior designer and community driver by training, Lorenzo started his career in Italy designing for esterni, an agency that develops cultural projects for public spaces including the Public Design Festival. His first project saw him orchestrating a take-over of carparks in different parts of Italy and transforming it into a Hammock Park where people had the opportunity to lounge and interact with each other over concerts and BBQs. 

Since his move to Singapore in 2010 from Shanghai, Lorenzo, 38, has worked tirelessly to rekindle the Singaporean Kampung Spirit amidst the distraction of the digital age. Motivated by his love for design and the human connection, Lorenzo started LOPELAB (www.lopelab.com), a design consultancy agency that redesigns public spaces through marrying urban structures and social ideas for a more enjoyable and sustainable city. Through this outreach, Lorenzo hopes to change Singapore, the region and the world, one space at a time, by promoting the local arts and culture scene.

Since then, Lorenzo and his team at Lopelab have organised eight Urban Ventures events that saw over 50,000 visitors partying the weekend on Keong Saik Road. Lopelab is set to champion the Urban Design and Placemaking space with the first-ever Singapore Urban Design Festival that aims to ignite the urban design movement, and transform the Tanjong Pagar district into a hub of urban design thinking.

Ultimately, through his work, Lorenzo seeks to champion the pedestrianisation of public streets starting with Keong Saik Road.