I know it's a cliche, but I see myself as a citizen of the world I was brought up in Switzerland by German and Turkish parents but I've very much grown up in San Francisco. I have a European sense of aesthetic but I'm also deeply steeped in the notion of change and entrepreneurship that is associated with Silicon Valley.

I'm interested in technology for the masses Good tech design should not just be for enthusiasts but for the general public. It should be something that touches everyone.

I am always looking for ways to move technology away from being over-featured Moving to Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s meant I grew up as a designer in an environment where technology is a tool and not a means to an end. I believe that design should be driven by ideas not style.

millions of households in Britain never change the temperature in their home – whether it's morning, evening or if they are away, because the technology has been too difficult. I have been working with Hive, part of British Gas, on reinventing the thermostat. Now you can control your heating at the press of a button on your phone. As I say, design should permeate every part of society.

the intelligence you put into a project is transferred to its user People are excited when they encounter new types of design. They appreciate the thought you have put into the work.

I recently learnt how to carbonate alcohol My company Fuseproject has been working with SodaStream for five years; they have been wanting to carbonate alcohol for a long time because adding soda water to a cocktail to make it fizzy is not always ideal. Not much has changed in the mixing of cocktails for years, but this is a real innovation.

Design should touch everyone, including the developing world We have given away half-a-million pairs of glasses every year for the past six years to kids in Mexico. We have also delivered more than three million laptops to children in the developing world as part of One Laptop Per Child [on which Béhar has served as chief designer since 2006].

Being a designer is like having lots of children It's hard to pick a favourite. I think what I'm most proud of is my enduring relationship with furniture company Herman Miller [making lights and chairs] and the wearable technology we've done for Jawbone.

Designing a sex toy is the same as designing a chair or a toothbrush It's a functional problem, and if you innovate, people will appreciate it. I designed a line of vibrators about eight years ago. We thought carefully about the material and ergonomics and created them in forms and shapes which made it difficult to identify their purpose so they were discreet. They were rechargeable, too, so not wasteful.

I find my zen moments on a surfboard San Francisco is a city where you can access nature within 15 minutes. The ocean, farmland and forests are all within easy reach. Observing the swell coming by is how I switch off. It's hard to think of anything else when you're looking for the next wave.

I have a utopian view of the future I don't mean there aren't significant problems, such as global warming, but I do have a deep belief that as humanity we will eventually get to the right solution. We won't get there in a straight line, but we'll get there.

Yves Béhar, 48, is a designer and entrepreneur. His new customisable table for Tylko is launching at designjunction, as part of the London Design Festival, on Thursday

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