Fas Lebbie

Fas Lebbie

PhD in Transition Design


Fas’ character and identity as an African-American immigrant from Sierra Leone have greatly influenced his design & entrepreneurship practices. Fas’ identity, communicated to the world through his memoir Souvenirs of My Awakening, has gifted him with a unique voice. 

His work in human-centered design (HCD) and entrepreneurship as an undergraduate at the University of Utah earned him a scholarship at the Parsons School of Design. Through studying Trans-disciplinary Design, and majoring in both Strategic Design & Management and Impact Entrepreneurship, Fas learned how to take an ethical and entrepreneurial approach to design.

The heart of his professional work has been in Product and Interaction Design. He has developed products as an entrepreneur and designer in the fintech industry, Big Data industry, nonprofit industry, and government agencies, as well as offering consulting for clients in the healthcare and social science spaces in the US. Fas has worked at the intersection between design and business, where he leveraged UX research, lean startup methodologies, and Systems Thinking to create interventions. While gaining this background, Fas founded his first startup:  Thought Cab Design Agency.

Most recently, Fas has shown his future-facing mindset, by using cutting-edge tools to advance design. As a Senior Product Designer, he worked in mixed reality spaces, leveraging VR, AR, and AI technology. Recently, Fas has furthered his connections to Africa with his most recent startup: Root Diamonds. This ethical diamond firm will invest in Sierra Leone’s human capital by keeping the entire diamond jewelry-making process in Sierra Leone and reinvesting the profits in future-proof education. 

Fas already has a professional and philanthropic background, using design for the betterment of the world. His non-profit, Fas Project, provides the basics for 4,000 African orphans while allowing them to show their creativity through skateboarding and surfing.

As a strategic and transdisciplinary graduate working at the intersection of systems design, entrepreneurship, and technology for social transformation, Fas is inspired by future-looking designers who strive to improve the world. In the design space, Fas finds inspiration from design thinkers like Dr. Jamer Hunt, Dr. Jonathan Chapman, and many others who deploy design with sustainability and sustainment in mind. Outside of design, Fas admires the recently deceased anthropologist  Dr. Runoko Rashidi who spent his career advocating for Africa’s global presence by looking into disparate black diasporas and gave voice to countless black communities worldwide.

Fas aims to bring the voice of a designer and an ethicist in the natural resource space across the African landscape leveraging Indigenous knowledge and appropriate technology as needed. His research focus aims at empowering local natural resource ecosystems to design Sustainable Systems (SS) - Specifically Distributed Natural Resources Systems.

Areas of inquiry:

  • Designing Sustainable Systems applied to Distributed Natural Resource Systems
  • Conjuring African Pedagogy will enable a deeper understanding of indigenous knowledge that can empower local ecosystems to sustain the future development of their natural resources for the present and the future prosperity of Africa.
  • Designing to implement appropriate technologies and their implications by exploring the complex relation between Design and AI in the emerging digital culture of the global south to empower natural resources at scale.