Design Thinking Coaching

Design Thinking Coaching

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Design Thinking Coaching


Favorite Part: Bringing in real users to test prototypes. There’s nothing like watching someone’s face light up when they are presented with prototype designed specifically for them.

Biggest Lesson Learned: Take away all the chairs. People will fall into phone-comas if you let them sit down.

Best Advice: Give everyone in the group a marker. Everyone must write down their own ideas.

As a Design Thinking coach, I worked with Cornell’s Executive Education team to organize and facilitate workshops for business leaders on-site. Design Thinking aims to streamline and simplify the creative creation process so that any group, however diverse, can generate novel solutions to big picture questions, simply by leading with empathy and setting aside constraints.

As a coach, I worked with executives, engineers, doctors, graduate students, and entrepreneurs in groups as intimate as a meeting of peers to multi-day workshops with companies like Google and AARP.

The Process

My team used the Design Thinking methodology developed at the Stanford d.school during our workshops. First, workshop participants begin by intentionally setting aside their traditional problem solving methods. Engineers like to engineer solutions, executives like to pursue a positive bottom line, … Read More »

Posted on January 26th, by Rachel in Build, Home, Portfolio, Share.



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Biggest Lesson Learned: Guard solutions diligently. Oftentimes, solvers must reach that I-have-no-idea tipping point before the pieces slide into place. Be patient.

Favorite Moment: Hosting a hands on event at a local games shop. Seeing kids’ eyes go wide at the puzzles, and their parents’ eyes go wider when I showed them the riddles and hidden meaning in the puzzle.

Hardest Part: Iterating hundreds of different puzzle cuts to figure out what worked with both the laser and the material, for both durability, aesthetic appeal, and mental challenge.

I have always loved jigsaw puzzles, but once you’ve done a handful you know exactly what each new puzzle box has in store. The puzzle pieces are similarly shaped and there is no goal beyond replicating the image on the outside of the box. After graduating from Cornell, I decided to start a jigsaw puzzle company to make the puzzles that dedicated puzzlers deserved.

Baffledazzle puzzles are a discovery in a box. Each one is made up of quarter-inch thick, laser-cut solid wood puzzle pieces. As the puzzle is assembled, … Read More »

Posted on January 26th, by Rachel in Build, Discover, Home, Portfolio, Share.

Hip Hop

Hip Hop

Hip Hop


Favorite Part: Feeling like a beginner again. Even with years of dance training, I often feel like I’m starting from scratch and learning to move my body all over again.

Best Adventure: Taking hip hop classes in Amsterdam and Tokyo. I don’t speak Dutch or Japanese, so I was learning dance through dance alone.

Hardest Part: Building up my shoulder muscles! I had to learn to dance with my shoulders instead of holding them in ballet’s steady “swan’s neck” position, with the shoulder blades drawn down the back.

During my conservatory training in ballet, I avoided hip hop classes at all costs. The strange, loose style didn’t make sense to me because ballet has an absolute “ideal” toward which all dancers are striving. I didn’t understand the underpinnings of the dance form and it intimidated me for years.

It wasn’t until I took a break from dance during graduate school that I learned to appreciate the freedom of improvised and stylized dance. I went into my first real hip hop class with an open mind and absolutely loved it.

The Process

Getting to know hip hop was like learning a new language—not only did I need to learn new words, but I had … Read More »

Posted on January 26th, by Rachel in Discover, Home, Portfolio.

The Charlie Baker Sneaker

The Charlie Baker Sneaker






The Charlie Baker Sneaker by semifold


Journey: Guangzhou, China — Port of Los Angeles — Salt Lake City, UT — Chicago, IL — Customer!

Favorite Customer Story: Purchased by a father for his son, who must wear orthopedic ankle braces at all times. The Charlie Baker, whose backwards design is compatible with the braces, is the first stylish shoe he has owned.

Favorite Quote From a Manufacturer: “It is maybe, not so beautiful, but very creative. Innovative!”

The Charlie Baker Sneaker was the flagship product of semifold, my movement-inspired apparel company. Its design embodies the mission of the company: to introduce new experiences, both visual and physical. The target of the Charlie Baker was simply to create a backward shoe. Many product samples flew between Guangzhou, China and Salt Lake City, Utah as we refined the design to balance conceptual purity with practicality. Throughout the design process, we found opportunities for subtle details, like the eyelets’ placement on the outside of the shoe body instead of the inside, that rewarded curiosity and encouraged a closer look. The shoe’s playful design is understandable by almost everyone, but the details, like the name’s play on the classic “Chuck … Read More »

Posted on December 28th, by Rachel in Build, Discover, Home, Portfolio, Share.

No Restraints on the Roller Coaster

No Restraints on the Roller Coaster

This is the excerpt.

Posted on January 1st, by Rachel in Build, Discover, Home, Portfolio.