May 25, Morning

Breakfast 8:00am


Sculpting with Data: Data Collection

Track: Prototyping with Data

Zach Pino, Studio Instructor of Digital Products at IIT Institute of Design

Hyper-customized products and services — designed so that each user receives an experience scoped uniquely to them — is at last becoming a viable approach in physical product and service design. In this hands-on workshop, students will explore how the collection of data on individual users can be integrated into every aspect of the design process — not only in insight discovery and process streamlining, but also in the direct shaping of final products and experiences. The morning workshop will include a hands-on tutorial on how various sensors can be implemented, combined, and deployed to measure human intentionality and biomechanics. Participants will collect live data samples from themselves and their environment, and use contemporary data exploration tools to discover trends, patterns, and insights. This workshop can taken either with Sculpting with Data: Algorithmic Design or independently.

Leadership Thought Frames for Innovation

Track: Leadership

Led by Vijay Kumar, Professor at IIT Institute of Design

In addition to the variety of methods and skills needed to practice good design, innovators need additional competencies to be effective leaders. Some of these competencies for producing smart innovative thinking are non-negotiable and well-known: managing teams, efficiently producing good results, and the ability to lead innovation projects within the context of organizations. But in addition to these practice-oriented skills, innovators also need competencies that are more oriented toward shaping thought leadership within—or even across—organizations, such as successfully inspiring teams and other stakeholders to convert ideas into valuable, real-world solutions. In other words, good practice leadership is necessary, but only half the challenge; helping those ideas take root, and helping teams rally to support the successful implementation of innovation challenges, also demands that we be thought leaders who can foster innovation through the use of trustworthy and well-informed thought frameworks.

This workshop will discuss an overview of thought frames — innovation attributes, processes, teams, trends, stakeholders, principles, offerings, systems, platforms, sustainables, and policies — that fall into four buckets: innovation basics, innovation drivers, innovation outcome, and innovation impact. In addition to the overview, the workshop will include a deeper dive on one or two key frameworks from the set in the form of a hands-on exercise.

Sustainable Solutions: A new approach to systems design

Track: Systems design

Led by Andre Nogueira, PhD student at IIT Institute of Design

As designers assume leadership in large organizations and public institutions, they are being challenged with complex systemic issues that require new approaches to problem definition, as well as to solution finding. In this workshop we will present a unique playbook utilizing concepts from social science, environmental management, and design as “innovation lenses” to approach complex systems challenges, such as urban mobility, considering the multiple levels (macro, meso, micro) in which systems as designed. Through the application of tools and frameworks from the playbook, participants will learn about the ethnography of infrastructures and explore opportunities for innovation based on sustainable principles, and leave with a version of the playbook in order to apply this design-centric, sustainability-embedded approach to complex systems of interactions in their own work settings.

Working Backwards: The Design Planning (And Doing) Of Connected Products And Services

Track: Systems design

John Cain, Visiting Industry Professor at IIT Institute of Design

From consumer products and services, to industrial systems and environments, the impact of digital technologies can be seen just about everywhere. The social, technological and environmental effects of today’s technology are pushing businesses to become data-driven enterprises — a move out of familiarity and today’s comfort zone — yet many businesses bring familiar mindsets such as ownership, accumulation and extraction (to name a few) to the new frontiers of data and information. This workshop will explore the role for design in helping business advance their missions using data, focusing on mindset shifts (what designers need to know now, and awareness of the analytical, creative, and political dimensions of complex socio-technical systems like thermostats or self-driving cars), methods for framing the problem(shaping tech-enabled systems towards meaningful, sustainable, and more humane outcomes) and new techniques (how to design smart-connected products and services as something other than tech solutions in search of a problem or something mindlessly added on at the end).

Lunch 11:30am



Sculpting with Data: Algorithmic Design

Track: Prototyping with Data

Zach Pino, Studio Instructor of Digital Products at IIT Institute of Design

The collected data from the morning will become the raw material for contemporary algorithmic design tools, which participants will use in the afternoon to directly sculpt products and envision inclusive interactions and services that are hyper-customized to specific users. Discussions about emerging resources in digital fabrication, the overlap between contemporary form design and data visualization, remote data collection techniques, and applications for machine learning in design will be included alongside case-studies from the realms of architecture and urban-planning — where hyper-customization is already being tested at large scales. Participants will leave the workshop having designed a thing that in turn designs an infinite variety of other things, enabling every potential user to have an experience that is fundamentally designed for them. This workshop can taken either with Sculpting with Data: Data Collection or independently.

Behavioral Design for Organizational Leadership

Track: Leadership

Led by Ruth Schmidt, Visiting Industry Professor at IIT Institute of Design

The state of being human is a state of constantly navigating uncertainty, whether in our personal lives or at work. And yet… while organizations increasingly have strategies to understand and design for end user “irrational” behavior, we’re still just as human between the hours of 9 to 5. In fact, the rational approaches to navigating uncertainty that we apply in business contexts can accidentally introduce Trojan horses of cognitive bias of their own, whether prioritizing more measurable attributes over hazier, but equally important ones; introducing mis-aligned incentives (“Be innovative! But remember your job depends on delivering that Q3 revenue”); or a tendency to shape or dismiss new inputs to confirm what we already know.

To make things worse, not all cognitive biases manifest within neatly defined activities, and some cultural norms and bias-based behaviors may in fact seem normal—even natural—because we are so used to them. This can lead to leadership “blind spots” that keep us from seeing the signals that indicate behavioral tensions, or even the conditions that lead to them. In this workshop, we will explore concepts and a framework to identify behavioral blind spots within organizations, and introduce strategies to begin to address them.

Designing Live Service Experiments

Track: Systems design

Led by Mark Jones, Visiting Industry Professor at IIT Institute of Design

Human-centered design methodology is great at uncovering insights that ground great ideas, and iterative feedback from users helps shape ideas to make them better. But often, even with user feedback, designers still launch services that fail or underperform… despite best-laid plans and attention to detail, somehow they missed an important element. With a new and complex service, it is nearly impossible to predict all of the factors that will influence the success of an idea in artificial situations; these need to be tested out in the real world, with real people, using an experimentation mindset. This workshop will use a case study approach to construct a series of experiments that takes participants through the service experiment process with a lens toward de-risking solutions, using tools and methods that can then be applied to real world service development.