Portrait of Haiyan Zhang

Haiyan Zhang

Chief of Staff, Xbox


Haiyan Zhang is a designer, engineer and maker of things.

Haiyan is Chief of Staff at Xbox, Microsoft’s Gaming division. She was formerly Senior Director of Innovation at Microsoft Research Cambridge and Technical Advisor to Lab Director, Christopher Bishop. She has also served as an inventor and TV host on the BBC series, Big Life Fix, inventing cutting-edge technology in support of people and communities in need.

An innovation and technology leader, Haiyan has spent the past 20 years working hands-on in software engineering, user experience, hardware R&D, service design, Cloud platforms, design thinking and blue-sky envisioning. She continues to push on the boundaries where technology can transform people’s lives for the better.

Previously roles include Innovation Director at Xbox Games Studio; Co-Founder, Design & Development Lead for the SaaS platform, OpenIDEO. With over 150,000 users worldwide solving challenges for social good and used as the enterprise innovation engine for organisations such as British Airways, DeutscheBank, Harvard Business School.

Working at the design consultancy, IDEO, Haiyan has created innovative tech experiences for community building, entertainment, financial services. She has worked with leading video game makers on research and ideas for new play experiences. Clients have included Mattel, Electronic Arts, HBO, Citibank, France Telecom, Alcatel, Cisco, and AT&T.

Haiyan’s work is informed by her previous profession as a software engineer & user interface designer creating applications for the biomedical & data-mining industries.

Haiyan has a Masters degree with Distinction in Interaction Design from the renowned Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, and has a Bachelor of Computer Science (1st-Class Honours) from Monash University, Australia.

Haiyan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and a member of the prestigious British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA).

She has lived and worked in Australia, Toronto, China, Italy, San Francisco, London and now resides in Bellevue.