The Time Traveler’s Dilemma

Pamela Bailey | Design Leader | Facebook
Ricardo Marquez | Designer, Coach & Entrepreneur

Product teams have a thirst to create and innovate, but there is tension as we have demands to get sh*t done and deliver on today’s P&L. This looks like a race to deliver vs. dramatic reinvention to transform the business.

Unlike time travel movies whose heroes journey to the past, designers venture to the unexplored future as they imagine a better way. Upon their return to the present, designers face the challenge of translating the opportunities they see with the reality of what is today and influencing their partners’ hearts and minds to see the same future—beyond the immediate tomorrow.

What if cross-functional product teams could “time jump,” by imagining a new and innovative future experience together, translating that better future into the day-to-day delivery of products? Pamela Bailey and Ricardo Marquez will share their view of how to transform what designers do intuitively into “time-travel” techniques that bring teams along for the ride.



I Want to Make Everyone in the World Healthier

Jonah Becker | VP of Design | Fitbit

We are in the midst of a health revolution, with technologies once reserved for the doctor’s office now on our wrists and in our pockets. We can monitor our bodies every hour of every day, but powerful sensors and lots of data are not enough to change health. Data only becomes valuable when leveraged to provide people with insights, motivation and guidance along their ever-changing health journeys. We must design products and experiences that are personalized, engaging, and inspire the behavior changes that lead to positive health outcomes.


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Creativity in the Digital Age

Safir Bellali | Sr. Director, Advanced Digital Creation | VF Global Innovation Center

This is a time where many industries are being disrupted by the convergence of ground-breaking digital tools (computational design and machine learning), exponential manufacturing technologies (new methods of making and additive manufacturing) and shifting consumer expectations (innovation as table stakes). The big question is: What does all this mean for creativity? How can we, as designers, keep up and leverage these technologies for meaningful outcomes?


Why the Best Design Is Invisible: Leveraging Design as Strategy to Achieve Greater Impact

Kathleen Brandenburg | Chief Design Strategy Officer & Co-founder | IA Collaborative

To paraphrase Sun Tzu, all people remember is that the war was won—not the strategy it took to achieve the victory. Breakthrough design is often remembered the same way—as a beautiful and transformative object—without regard for the “invisible" multidisciplinary strategy behind it. Through the lens of her recent work with top global brands and a pioneering collaboration with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Kathleen Brandenburg opens the playbook on how to leverage a design mind approach to realize innovation and create greater impact in your organization.



A Different Approach on Innovation: Bending Constraints

Lloyd Cooper, IDSA | Principal | PUSH Product Design

Every design solution is a function of our ability to fully utilize available resources. This applies whether we work at a massive organization or as a one-person start-up. What if we actually have more resources around us than we realize? What if there was a different perspective that we could adopt that could enhance our ability to create?

Lloyd Cooper’s design perspective was shaped by his mom, who studied design at Parsons, and his dad, who was a naval architect and an engineer. In this session, he will share a story that his dad told him from his experiences in the Normandy Invasion in WWII. This story became the foundation for Cooper’s own continuous learning to fully leverage available resources and bend constraints to create breakthrough solutions.



A Case for a Human Approach to Innovation

Erica Eden | Director, Global Design Innovation | PepsiCo, Inc.

If you take a look at women’s innovation, it won’t take long to be disappointed. Women are treated like robots—cold machines that only respond to hot pink and high protein. Despite demand, human and holistic solutions for women are in short supply. It’s time to make a change and innovate for tribes, not robots. Tribes are real groups of women with shared interest and aspirational lifestyles—a far more human design strategy.




Jules Ehrhardt | Founder | FKTRY

Exploring the themes in his eponymous State of the Digital Nation series, Jules Ehrhardt makes sense of the dramatic changes in the global creative industry and what it means for us in the creative class. Between tech titans hoarding talent and independent studios being snapped up by consultancies and ad holding companies, Design is being consumed nose to tail. Fundamental questions are being asked about the integrity of the agency model itself, paradoxically failing during an unprecedented economic boom, as well as the paid-for-time client service paradigm. All of this poses challenges to the next generation of talent, the design ecosystem and to creativity itself. However, hope burns bright in the potential of new models the creative class will define in the coming chaos. Amidst an industry’s existential crisis, State of the Digital Nation represents a call to arms for the creative class to change the terms of business.


Christian Ervin | Design Leader

Christian Ervin guides the work of teams building user-centered experiences that bridge the physical and the virtual across screens, objects and spaces. He has a particular focus on developing early-stage prototypes that investigate emerging technologies and communicate future products and services.

Designing the Future of Fast with Every Electric Bike

Marc Fenigstein | Chief Product Officer | Alta Motors

Alta Motors’ intentional integration of design into its technology, engineering and manufacturing disciplines has delivered the Redshift platform—the first electric motorcycles to directly compete against and outperform combustion competitors. Join Alta co-founder, Marc Fenigstein, formerly of frog design, as he speaks to Alta’s growing portfolio of high-performance electric bikes and explains why companies must embrace a multidisciplinary approach to compete in the next era of hardware and develop game-changing, thrill-inducing products. Earlier this year, Alta’s award-winning drivetrain and electric vehicle technology earned an investment from Harley-Davidson, and the two companies plan to co-develop new electric motorcycles.


Redesigning a Design Museum

Laura Flusche | Executive Director | Museum of Design Atlanta

What does it mean to redesign a design museum? That’s the question being explored at MODA, the Museum of Design Atlanta. Seven years ago, MODA moved from an office building in the city’s downtown to Atlanta’s burgeoning Midtown arts district. The move prompted MODA’s board of directors and staff to rethink the museum’s practices and to re-evaluate its role in the community.

Now, informed by a commitment to design as an agent of change, MODA is strengthening metro Atlanta’s professional design community, increasing appreciation of design’s power to make the world a better place, providing children and adults with opportunities to learn to think like designers do, and forging new ways for museums to serve their communities.

Laura Flusche will discuss the ongoing project of re-designing MODA in order to build a museum that’s forward-facing and meets 21st-century needs.


Return to my roots

Gerard Furbershaw, IDSA | LUNAR Cofounder Emeritus

Why are there so few industrial designers still doing hands-on design in the latter stages of their careers? Having entered that phase of his career himself, Gerard Furbershaw, IDSA, has pondered that question over the past few years. Through serendipitous events, he had the opportunity to learn current CAD and rendering tools. These newly acquired skills enabled him to return to his roots and reexperience the passion he had for design when he entered the profession.

Furbershaw will share his professional journey, which began almost 40 years ago. Although most members of our profession are much younger, he presumes that he isn’t alone in having been pulled away from the work he truly loved. He believes his journey may prompt others to question if their current positions can be more emotionally fulfilling by incorporating hands-on design into their work activities.


Gary Hustwit | Independent Filmmaker & Photographer

Dieter Rams is undoubtedly one of the world’s most influential designers, and his impact is evident in nearly every discipline of modern design. He oversaw the creation of hundreds of products at Braun and Vitsoe, and the “10 Principles of Good Design” he developed in the 1970s are still adhered to (or rebelled against) in studios and schools everywhere. But at 86 years old, why does he now regret having been a product designer? In this special Keynote session, Gary Hustwit will take us behind the scenes of the past three years working with Dieter for the highly anticipated documentary “Rams,” which premieres later this fall. He’ll discuss Dieter's views on digital culture and the future of design, and also give us an exclusive first look at part of the film, which features an original score by pioneering musician Brian Eno.

What Am I Not? Making Magic with Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

Becki Hyde | Product Manager | Humana

Technology moves fast. In order to keep up, we must be flexible and collaborative. While specialization is valuable for perfecting your craft, magic happens when cross-disciplinary teams come together to solve problems. Becki Hyde will show you how product designers, software engineers and product managers can work closely together to deliver human-centered software in a world of ambiguity. Learn how the three disciplines can learn from one another, contribute to each others' work and grow their careers all at the same time. 



Designing dying

Navit Keren | Senior Designer | Designit

Death is inevitable. Yet, we almost never come to it prepared. We are very bad at dying. Most of us are uncomfortable to begin a conversation around death. We generally want to live as well as we can, for as long as we can, but we don’t think about dying well. However, increasing one’s knowledge and developing an action plan can ensure that we die the way we hope to and not leave tough decisions for our loved ones.

In her talk, Keren will address a number of service problems in the current options for EOL planning. She will detail how she tried—and failed—to solve some of them and Keren will share her insights into how a fundamental, yet largely ignored, human experience can be transformed through the perspective of a service designer.



Colleen McHughSenior Adaptation Planner | The Water Institute of the Gulf

Turning on the Weather Channel is like watching the Olympics—records are being shattered east and west for the highest temperatures, wettest storms and fastest fires. Climate change is here and we are seeing how it impacts lives and livelihoods in communities around the world. Due to the region’s dynamic coastal landscape, New Orleans and South Louisiana are experiencing the effects of climate change in advance of other cities and regions. Adapting to these challenges in a smart way can create other opportunities for communities to thrive. Colleen McHugh will share how New Orleans and the surrounding region have set a vision for a more resilient future in the face of the changing environment and share lessons for how designers can approach climate change.


Where Biologists and Manufacturers Meet: Mimicking Natural Habitats in Mass Production

Adi Neuman | Head of Design | ECOncrete

With over 60 percent of the world’s population concentrated along its coastlines, coupled with accelerated coastal development, severe stress on natural ecosystems is inevitable. Combined with the growing threat of rising sea levels and increased storminess, urban coastlines worldwide are in dire need of innovative development, combining material adaptation, texture mimicking and macro design. Adi Neuman will discuss the problems that traditional coastal and marine infrastructure impose on the natural environment and habitats along with possible solutions. Through coastal and marine infrastructural design case studies, the chasm between biological desires and manufacturing limitations will be examined. These innovative examples can provide the basic tools for future design leading to win-win solutions bridging aesthetics, economics, engineering and the environment.



Krystal Persaud | Founder | Grouphug

The world has all the chairs and lamps it needs. As a product designer, Krystal Persaud knows it’s sacrilegious not to drool every time she sees a high-end chair or lamp, but she’s sick of them. If there was a lengthy list of problems society faces, “expensive, new methods of sitting” would not be at the top. While she can’t decide what products should be made, she consciously puts her skills towards developing ideas she feels passionate about and encourages others to do the same. In this talk, Persaud will discuss her zigzag journey in design and how she helped build the educational tech company, littleBits. She’ll also share her latest adventure, Grouphug, a tech company creating sustainable products that make you smile.



Nichole Rouillac, IDSA | Founding Partner | level

Industrial design is a field historically suffering from a lack of diversity. 15 years ago it was rare to find a studio with more than a handful of women, and equally rare to find women in leadership positions. After many years, witnessing only small improvements, Nichole Rouillac felt it was time to shift the scale. Guided by the fundamental belief that balance, diversity and inclusion are essential ingredients for a successful design practice, Rouillac co-founded level design sf in 2016. In 2017, she became co-chair of IDSA’s Women in Design Special Interest Section. Founded on the core importance of balance—art and science, vision and manufacturing constraints, work and play—level is a process- and material-driven industrial design agency. With the rise of the female-driven economy, clients appreciate the experience balanced teams bring in creating innovative products and bringing new experiences that address authentic and unique human needs. The best future for our industry is the one we build together.


Design for Confrontation

Steve Selzer | Creative Leader

In today’s increasingly frictionless world, it’s easier than ever to avoid confrontation. The products and services we love are isolating us from different and opposing perspectives. We're becoming less empathetic and resilient people. But what if these products could help us overcome adversity, too? In this talk, Steve Selzer will share thoughts on how design—and the products we love—can help people develop the mindset and skills to constructively confront their teams, their customers and themselves.




Wilson W. Smith III | Senior Designer | Nike

Creating for a diverse audience enhances design solutions. With our focus of empathy toward the end user, we can tap into unlimited design possibilities. However, designers should understand what their personal passions, creative bent and collaborative pursuits are to best serve humanity. You are a unique CREATIVE—with unlimited possibilities. You have an exclusive, diverse gift to bring to the world. Embrace those characteristics that set you apart. Be intentional to MIX with those outside of your own “box” of emphasis. Our diversity, is a spark that will fuel innovation. By identifying and engaging our own SPARKS that cause us to EXPLORE new concepts for diverse end users, we can then MIX with other inspired creatives for opportunities yet to be realized or imagined.   

Design powered planet

Surya Vanka | Founder | Authentic Design

Design thinking has now become a competitive advantage adopted by business to win. How can this process impact the numerous social challenges that surround us? Social impact projects have few resources and people driving change have no design training. Design Swarms is an approach that has been used by hundreds of ordinary people to produce extraordinary solutions to social justice challenges like homelessness, refugee shelters, aging with independence and healthcare for the bottom of the economic pyramid. This approach gamifies the design process into a simple, low-cost, portable toolkit with a series of prescriptive steps. The steps are depicted on physical posters that fit together to form a gameboard based on the resources, problem and people involved. Teams of people, with no design training, participate in a fast-paced facilitated process to direct their creativity and knowledge of the context to quickly produce real solutions that stick.



Tech for Humans. Not Humans for Tech.

Claude Zellweger | Director of Design | Google

The dilemma of our times is how to design technology that prompts us to both engage with, and disengage from, the devices we use. Increasingly, we find ourselves adapting to the offerings and constraints of technology. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? New technologies carry both risks and potential. At their best, immersive computing and augmented intelligence can become powerful tools for human connection, curiosity and learning. The conversation we need to have today is how designers are going to direct or redirect our relationships with technology in the coming decade. What we need are designers for the human age of computing.





Christopher Beard, S/IDSA | SCAD

This paper explores the inevitable changes in industrial design practices due to the decline of natural resources and increased focus on sustainable practices. In the future, design methods like design for disassembly and circular economy will become more common practice. The problem is that current product design curricula places little emphasis on these tools and concepts. As a result, students are at a competitive disadvantage when they enter the marketplace. By implementing these key concepts and theories within the current curriculum, design schools can help form a consciousness towards responsible product development and provide graduating students with a competitive advantage within the paradigm shift of industrial design. Adding hands-on experience for students can help reinforce the learning experience of responsibility within product design and will also allow for innovation and continue relevance for participating school. 


Richard Fry, IDSA | Brigham Young University

Tom Greever notes that, “Communicating about…designs…[can be] more important than the designs themselves.” However, the aptitudes that might predispose a student towards industrial design in the first place (visual, adaptive and creative thinking), may also predispose them against communicating in ways that resonate better with their process partners in other disciplines—words and numbers. This presentation shares and summarizes an attempt by students to work with both pictures AND words, with the goal of increasing both their visual AND verbal vocabulary. This new vocabulary was shown to increased students’ creative flexibility and has helped them communicate verbally with more clarity about their intent—and their results.



Lisa Hammershaimb, IDSA Independence University

Studio pedagogy is the signature teaching of art and design education. However, in many institutions, the hallmarks of studio pedagogy are eroding. The new reality for many programs is one where educators must balance an increase in learners with a simultaneous decrease in contact time. There is a gap between what once was and what now is. One way educators are navigating this gap is using the internet to decentralize studio-learning practices.

This constructivist, grounded theory study endeavored to investigate how design educators are using the internet to augment and extend studio pedagogy. The Replication-Collaboration Continuum, the theory created from the study, posits that how educators use the internet can best be conceptualized as a continuum, with replication as one terminal and collaboration as the other. This theory has broad relevance for all educators curious about how to use the internet to implement greater decentralization into their learning spaces.


Brook Kennedy, IDSA | Virginia Tech

Research universities provide fertile ground for interdisciplinary work between design and other fields. In industrial design, faculty and students collaborating with scientists and engineers have the opportunity to translate new technologies into useful inventions—for both societal and commercial benefit. Distinct from professional industrial design work practiced in the private sector, this “lab-integrated industrial design,” also provides unique learning experiences—namely, students can be fully immersed from the beginning of a research program rather than serving a more traditional translational role after the fact. To demonstrate what these partnerships can offer, this paper presents a case study of an integrated lab-to-product development partnership involving the creation of a fog water-harvesting device called “Fog Harp.” This invention resulted from a relationship between design and engineering science at Virginia Tech. From the outset, eight industrial design students worked on the project enabling their participation in the invention process firsthand.


Yaling Liu, IDSA | Georgia Tech

This paper presented a summary and analysis of a short-term workshop, which incorporated the “learning by making” strategy in a design project where students designed circuit t-shirts with interactive features. The workshop built a fundamental understanding of interactive wearables and gesture-driven interaction. The method and process contained three phases: brainstorming, prototyping and a video presentation. The results of gesture and circuit design showed students’ creativity and enhanced their knowledge of soft and conductive materials.



Teddy Lu, IDSA | Visiting Assistant Professor | Purdue University
Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA | Assistant Professor of ID | Iowa State University

Capturing ideas is just as important as conveying ideas and sketchnoting (aka graphic recording, visual notes, graphic facilitation) is a powerful way to make note taking more fun, memorable and engaging. The goal for this interactive workshop is to introduce and expose the techniques behind sketchnoting. We will reveal how to tackle information by using simple illustrations and text to understand the untapped power behind visual note taking. Let’s explore the possibilities of this tool and see how we can use it not only to capture ideas but also integrate it into our creative process and discover how it can enhance the way we engage with information.


Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA | Iowa State University

In early 2015, five universities registered their interest in participating in a joint project with The Ohio State University that would focus on solutions exploring electric assisted kick scooters with a focus on the adult customer. The desire to speed up walking with a simple device, that can be instantly and safely operated by almost anyone and without any training, led to the challenge of upgrading the basic kick scooter with power assist, somewhat similar to an electric e-bike. Each university was provided with the same set of objectives and guidelines for the development of concepts so that ideas contributing to the ongoing discussion of the issue of personal mobility could be compared. Due to the different starting points of each semester at the various universities the project began around winter or late spring of 2016. This paper is structured to provide an overview of the student work from the five participating design programs: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; University of Applied Sciences, Darmstadt, Germany; Hochschule Für Technik & Wirtschaft Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Shih-Chien University, Taipei, Taiwan; and Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest, Hungary.



Sarah Rottenberg, IDSA | University of Pennsylvania

Students who graduate with degrees in design are expected not just to be expert designers, but to also display proficiency in leading the design process. This paper presents a typology of different project timelines to teach the design process. It describes the different project timelines and articulates what students learn from each. It also highlights the special support students need to succeed in each timeframe. By engaging in a range of projects with different timelines, students develop fluidity with the design process and start to define their own process and practices.


Ralf Schneider, IDSA | Syracuse University

The recent development of mixed reality (MR) devices and apps hint at an exciting future. To be true to the inherent innovative spirit of the industrial design profession, it is important to investigate the impact of MR on the ID future. This paper examines how MR will influence the design process and why it is crucial to prepare industrial designers for MR design opportunities. At this time, integrating MR in design education makes sense in higher-level design studio courses. As the digitally native generation enters college age, their fluid handling of digital tools will support the use of MR technology in freshman and sophomore courses. For design educators it is important to be prepared for this transition and to support students in playfully working with digital content and tools. Takeaways from MR projects conducted in an academic setting in the industrial and interaction design program in the School of Design at Syracuse University will be shared. This is a design education story that exemplifies the unique value of engaging in MR design development.



Paul Skaggs, IDSA | Brigham Young University

A principal aspect of design thinking that separates it from other creative problem-solving activities is that it is human-centered. Designers solve problems for people, but in order to solve problems in a way that meets human needs, designers need to develop empathy for the people who use the products or services they are creating. This paper documents using the principle of empathy developed through the tools of observation, experience and inquiry to understand human needs and create products that meet those needs. Empathy allows designers to develop products and experiences that make human connections through aesthetics, meeting needs and creating meaning. This paper provides examples of designers who failed to implement empathy as well as designers who have been successful in using these human-centered design methods.



Theunis Snyman, S/IDSA | Emily Carr University

This paper presents ‘unmaking’ as a pedagogical methodology developed through a Master’s degree research study at Emily Carr University and the ECUAD DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability). Unmaking, as a method, evolved in two directions addressing two sides of the same coin, everyday citizens/consumers and designers. The first, using unmaking as an ethnographic research methodology for understanding the relationship between tacit skills, blackboxing and agency in everyday citizenry. The second, utilizing unmaking as a pedagogical method for early design education aimed at exploring design’s role in facilitating post-life economies for things. The overarching research study explored these two paths to investigate key aspects of our material culture related to sustainability, localization, skilled circular economies and resilient communities.



Ellen Turner | Global Market Development Manager | Eastman Chemical Company

The journey of identifying polymers that uniquely fit clinical needs began with standard research but ended in an unexpected way. How does an innovative specialty materials company start with a technical story about the chemical resistance of materials and end up with the voice of the clinician? It happens through human experience, through listening to designers and by taking a few hard knocks along the way. Now by sharing new trends and behavioral changes and enabling collaborations, we are changing the way healthcare is viewing materials.



Kelly Umstead, IDSA | North Carolina State University

In product development, successful collaboration between multiple disciplines is critical for innovation and product launch. The academic environment is an ideal place to begin to foster these alliances that are necessary in the professional world. Challenges of multidisciplinary collaboration in education are well documented, with much attention being directed to the natural collaboration between industrial designers and engineers. Incongruities arise when addressing project and problem framing, design intent and lexicon (i.e. prototype). This presentation explores the acquisition of interdisciplinary skills of ID students that are engaged with biomedical engineering students via an informal collaboration. This collaboration was structured to allow ID students to understand the perspectives and values of engineering students, the first step of achieving functional interdisciplinarity. The roles and responsibilities of both the designers and engineers are evaluated within the project setting along with the value attained retrospectively to both the engineering and ID students.