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.
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
SYP – Main
SYP – Teamworks – Unstuck
Favorite Part: Everything was visualized, from simple sketches in meetings, to mock-ups for client summits, on ubiquitous slips of paper or white boards.
Biggest Lesson Learned: Tailor your visual style to your audience the same way you tailor your written style; less produced documents signal that it’s a work in process and welcome feedback.
Unexpected Adventure: Learned a great deal about typography and graphic design and hand kerned a few headlines along the way.
Spending a summer with SYPartners showed me what comprehensive branding, transformational thinking, and culture change look like through a designer’s lens. SYPartners’ mission, which is engraved on the glass at the front of their NY office, reads, “In a world that too often settles for less, we believe it is worthy work to envision, believe in, and fight for greatness. That’s the work we do alongside our clients, every day.”
As a Strategy Intern, I was quickly immersed in SYP’s interdisciplinary approach to creating thought-provoking, masterfully designed activities, experiences, and environments for clients. These deliverables were not dry consulting decks but mutual explorations that treated change as the complex transformation that it is, not the first step in a suspiciously … Read More »
The Connected Sweater by semifold
Biggest Obstacle: Figuring out how to taper the sleeve tube in the middle so it would fit properly when cut apart.
Favorite Customer Story: Purchased and tailored to look like a normal sweater. Reason for buying? Regular sweaters never have long enough sleeves.
Favorite Quote From a Manufacturer: “We do not know how this will be worn, but we can make it to your specification.”
The Connected Sweater arrives completely enclosed. The sleeves are knitted together in one continuous piece and the top and bottom of the body are sealed as well. To wear the garment, the user must interact with the sweater’s form and make decisions about how the sweater will fit. With a few snips, the sweater is fully functional and leaves little trace of its original form. The Connected Sweater, like The Charlie Baker shoe, demands consideration and invites creativity from the wearer to turn their “sweater canvas” into wearable art.
Creating The Connected Sweater was unexpectedly difficult. As we had for previous garments, we sent out a crude drawing of the concept to a handful of clothing manufacturers and waited for price quotes. Response after response said … Read More »
Favorite Part: Having complete control over every stitch and reaping the rewards of getting a design exactly right.
Biggest Lesson Learned: Pick your fabric carefully and buy plenty of it. Even straightforward designs need to be stitched out at least four times.
Preferred Subject Matter: Animals. Fur, scales, and skin at once lend themselves to and defy the limits of thread and fabric.
Machine embroidery is symbolic of many things in my life: a marriage of creativity and practicality. I enjoy both the limitless possibilities of drawing with thread and the immediate, precise execution of my sewing machine. I get to explore until something feels right, then capture that design and replicate it again and again.
Imagining each design comes easily, but translating the idea into programmed stitches is an ongoing challenge. Learning to program machine embroidery designs is a great lesson in following through on creative vision, even within strict technical constraints. For each stitch the designer must not only decide where a stitch begins and ends but how the machine stitches it, with what thread tension, and … Read More »
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 1
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 2
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 3
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 4
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 5
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 6
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 7
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 8
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 9
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 10
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 11
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 12
2013 State of Philanthropy Highlights – 13
Johnson Board Fellows
Favorite Part: Collecting stories of grantee’s success and the impact the Community Foundation’s resources have had on their organization.
Biggest Lesson Learned: A simple $1,000 grant can have a huge impact on a community. You lose sight of how far a dollar can go when you’re used to the language of business school, where every balance sheet is assumed to be in millions.
The Johnson Board Fellows program allows MBAs to serve as non-voting members of local, non-profit Boards of Directors. As a Fellow, I discussed strategic issues at board meetings, … Read More »