2021 was another mostly virtual year for IDSA. And while we're very much looking forward to seeing you in person again in 2022, looking back on this year we're filled with gratitude for members who continued to step up, build connections, and create opportunities.
You made sure our community stayed strong, improved, and grew in 2021. And for this, it is our privilege to honor you with IDSA's 20/21 Recognitions.
Chosen by IDSA Staff and confirmed by At-Large Director of Awards ClayVon Lowe, IDSA, the 20/21 Recognitions highlight 20 Professional, Young Professional, and Affiliate members who dedicated their time and talents this year to the betterment of our Society and advancing the industrial design profession through information, education, community, and advocacy.
To share the spotlight with more IDSA members, this list does not include: last year's 20/20 recipients, students who are eligible for IDSA's annual Student Merit Awards, members who served on IDSA's Board of Directors in 2021, recent inductees into IDSA's Academy of Fellows, and recipients of other IDSA Awards in 2020 and 2021. See more Member Spotlights and designBytes featuring IDSA members here.
Thanks to all who supported IDSA this year, in ways big and small. We truly cannot thank you enough.
Editor's note: Most of the following descriptions were sent to IDSA by the 20/21 recipients and slightly edited below for third-person style, length, and clarity.
Amanda Huynh, IDSA 黃珮詩, Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at Pratt Institute, has accomplished a great deal in 2021. In addition to serving as a leader on IDSA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC), she completed the first of her two years as an International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) juror and continues to oversee the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the Pratt ID department, reporting on goals and accomplishments at the Institute level. This year, Amanda also became the Faculty Advisor for the Pratt IDSA Student Chapter—receiving a torched passed by esteemed colleague Karen Stone, IDSA, a 20/20 Recognitions recipient.
Notably, Amanda is the first woman of color in a full-time post in Pratt's Industrial Design program. She got there as a first-generation student and continually strives, she says, "to be what I myself did not have through my own educational and professional career." She advocates for "change from the inside" and "empowering the students to feel confident and successful in our field."
A marker of change from her perspective has been seeing students become increasingly interested in projects larger than themselves and their immediate communities. Following the violent attacks on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community this year, Amanda made space for her students and fellow design educators "to process what it meant to be fearful for ourselves and our colleagues." In April 2021, Amanda served as the moderator for the AAPI-focused IDSA Race in Design event, which you can watch on the DEIC's page here.
Thinking back on the beginning of 2021, Amanda recalls "an incredibly uncertain time," in which she taught "partly in person, masked, and with students who were keen and engaged through it all." This line of teaching and learning inspired a new line of research, building on her previous work in equitable design research practices. Amanda worked remotely with colleagues at the University of Washington and University of Colorado Boulder, prototyping technologies for co-design with physical distance, and found that virtual gatherings allowed her to lecture more widely than ever before.
"Monthly IDSA DEIC calls also buoyed me through many dark months," Amanda says. "They have been equal parts productive committee meetings as they have been virtual spaces of community and new friendships."
At the beginning of the pandemic, Amanda started a weekly newsletter called Design in the Time of Corona as a way to provide company for her students while they were all in isolation. Each issue features a short essay and reflections on the week; a series of interesting and fun links; and job, internship, and fellowship listings (largely sourced from the IDSA community!) "I'm fast approaching issue #100 and we'll see what the new iteration will be," she says.
Amanda continues to be energized by her students and their powers as industrial designers to make an impact. "At Pratt, and in Industrial Design in particular," she notes, "I believe the 2D and 3D representation curriculum teaches the necessary aesthetic sensibilities that students can then use in service of moving the dial towards a more equitable future."
Ana Mengote Baluca, IDSA, is Creative Director of the agency lowercase innovation, a Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute, and a leader on IDSA's DEIC. She contributed to the Spring 2021 issue of IDSA's INNOVATION magazine with the article "Colonized by Design" and to IDSA's 2021 Race in Design event on Understanding the AAPI Experience.
Current events surrounding Asian Americans and constant reflection about her identity were big motivators for Ana to be more intentional about her work. "I've become more mindful about how I spend my time and energy, specifically choosing which projects are more impactful in a purposeful way that are worth pursuing," she says. Her presentation during IDSA's virtual International Design Conference 2021 is a fan favorite; you can see slides for her talk here and here.
Now in her third year with lowercase innovation, marking the final year of her "exploration phase" of creating without client constraints, Ana aims to launch a few products and brands under lowercase innovation in the years to come. She's also working on a coffee table book that wraps up the pop-up exhibition she just completed: bagay at buhay in New York City.
"I want to continue being an educator to support the next generation of designers," she says, and has partnered with other institutions outside of Pratt. We can't wait to see what the future holds for her.
Anson Cheung, IDSA, is Studio Director at Bould Design and a leader on IDSA's DEIC. As a member of the DEIC Data Team with 2020 Young Educator of the Year Award recipient Betsy Barnhart, IDSA, Anson—with Betsy and volunteer partners across multiple design organizations and IDSA's Board of Directors—shaped the 2021 IDSA Membership Survey. This survey, conducted in the summer of 2021, resulted in valuable data, presented in key parts during the 2021 IDSA Membership Meeting and in the upcoming 2021 Winter issue of IDSA's INNOVATION magazine.
Anson has been inspired in 2021 by the resilience, adaptability, and creativity of his team at Bould Design. "For much of 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact all aspects of daily life, we continued to work remotely without knowing when we might be able to return to our studio," he says. "Despite this, our team leveraged the organization and communication gains that came from working from home for over a year to produce excellent design work for our clients. We actually brought several new designers on board during this time and our team has grown to the largest it has ever been."
As Anson and his team have transitioned to working primarily in the studio, after everyone got their vaccines, Bould Design "has embraced a hybrid model of working from home two days a week," he says, "which has allowed us to spend less time commuting and more time with family and loved ones, while still facilitating a high degree of in-person collaboration and physical prototyping that fuels great design."
A source of inspiration for Anson is seeing his team's work manifest in a clear and positive impact. For example, R-Zero Systems, a start-up founded in the early days of the pandemic, partnered with Bould Design in 2021 to launch not one but three products that provide targeted and continuous UV disinfection for businesses to address the lingering challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Seeing devices that started as a sketch on a piece of paper in my home office deploying to schools, restaurants, offices, and other facilities is a great motivation to keep doing what we're doing," Anson says.
Another client, Span, launched three new products that Bould Design worked on this year to enable homeowners to transition more easily to clean energy sources like solar, and better control their energy usage. "It seems that a confluence of factors is now enabling technology and incentives to align and enable products to have real impact on major issues like climate change," Anson notes, adding, "I'm excited for us designers to be part of that journey."
Also inspiring to Anson is the ongoing work of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, with the support of IDSA. "What being part of this Council has made clear to me is that the path to solving any issue that affects the design community or any community starts with giving those affected a voice and space for their concerns to be heard," he attests. "Seeing the conversations that start in and the subsequent actions that come out of our monthly DEIC leadership meetings inspires me to do more."
Anson strongly pushed for the IDSA Membership Survey in particular because he believes "we can't improve if we don't know what we're improving on." Seeing a meaningful amount of data return has been very satisfying for him; and on a personal note, "the support of IDSA after the wave of Asian hate earlier this year, and the speed at which they offered a platform to myself and a diverse group of Asian designers (Amanda Huynh, Ana Baluca, Danielle Chen, Michelle Lee) to host a frank discussion of how Asian American issues intersect with the design community was incredibly meaningful."
Next year, Anson says he would love to keep doing what he's doing now, but more and better. "I'm looking forward to continuing to produce design work with our amazing team that has a positive impact on the world," he says. "I also look forward to continuing my work with the DEIC and utilizing the data we collected through the Membership Survey to inform our work."
Ayana Patterson, IDSA, is a Design Strategy, Direction, and CMF consultant, as well as an Adjunct Professor teaching Professional Practices at Drexel University's Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. She is a leader on IDSA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC), working with Tracy Llewellyn as a member of the DEIC Industry Team. Ayana is also a member of Syracuse University's Young Alumni Council for the Visual and Performing Art College and served on the IDSA Awards Committee in 2021.
"Life is such a gift," Ayana says, "and never more than in these past couple of years has that been so apparent to me." In her career, she hopes to lead and join diverse teams of individuals designing the world forward through thoughtful design solutions, positivity, and beauty, and push her design focus further into the intersection of lifestyle products, eco-consciousness, and technology. "Right now I feel a call to action to revise and redesign our paths forward with conscientiousness, equity, and transparency," she says.
Ayana looks forward to teaching Professional Practice again at Drexel, and is excited to push DEIC initiatives and work with "my amazing DEIC team at IDSA, who are also a source of inspiration to me."
As an alumnus of Syracuse University, Ayana feels honored to have been asked to join the Young Alumni Council for the Visual and Performing Art College. "I never needed any accolades to keep me going, but it is always reaffirming to know that my support of the Industrial Design school throughout the years has not gone unnoticed," she notes. "The honor from Syracuse, and this one from IDSA, make me reflect on my own career path and remind me to mark the small achievements. To slow down and value the journey just as much as the destination."
John Anastasiadis, IDSA, is Director of Human Factors+Design at Smith+Nephew, and Chair of IDSA's Medical Section. Medical design-related virtual events he's organized have drawn over 200 registrants, and have focused on cognitive human factors for designers.
2021 was a rollercoaster year, John says—not without hope and optimism, but also punctuated by variants of this novel coronavirus, natural disasters, inflation and supply chain issues. "As a designer and leader, I find comfort in knowing that the current situation is at least calling attention to the inefficiencies and problems present in current products, systems, and services," he acknowledges. "Designers are good at defining and communicating problems in more compelling and convincing ways. I'm inspired by what designers of all types are capable of doing to gain alignment amongst stakeholders and clearly articulate strategic direction, whether in healthcare, climate issues, politics, or other wicked problems."
According to John, we as designers have a once-in-a-lifetine opportunity to step up, lead through the chaos, and drive change. "While my day job has me driving innovation around surgical devices and systems," John notes, "I'm also supporting healthcare efforts at a personal level. My daughter has a rare disease, and this year I was inspired to create a coloring book called Rare Adventures Coloring Book. As far as I know, this is the only coloring book dedicated to children with special needs. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to support rare disease research."
John's hopes for 2022 include continuing to build the Human Factors+Design team at Smith+Nephew, while further increasing the value that the IDSA Medical Section provides IDSA members. "I believe that designers need to dig even deeper in some areas and increase their understanding of how the healthcare and medtech industry operates," he says. "This will allow our industry to better engage with other functions and business leaders, as not enough healthcare corporations have design leaders at the executive level. In order to do this well, we will need to re-establish the human connection lost in the past two years and 'reconnect' in '22."
Başak Altan, IDSA, a self-employed design educator, futures thinker, and connector, graciously curated and hosted the IDSA Design Voices series of webinars in 2021. At the same time, she served as IDSA's West District Chapter Representative for the 2021-2022 term.
In her Design Voices role, Başak told us she had the "amazing opportunity to reconnect with colleagues" from different segments of her life-centered design career, spanning over two decades and spreading around the world.
"Bringing their diverse voices and inspiring and unconventional experiences to the design community, along with my own design journey, allowed me to highlight and amplify how we can work together towards a more purposeful, equitable, and sustainable life for all, through design," she notes. "I believe that our collective success depends on our ability to cooperate, collaborate, and find common ground where ideas can be shared and communicated through a common language for a better future."
This "sum of us” philosophy is deeply woven into Başak's leadership engagements in design, education, research, and innovation. In 2022, she plans to continue partnering with organizations "who are on a mission to empower communities by co-designing their offerings into enriching solutions for a sustainable future for everyone."
"I cannot wait to continue my work for strategy for innovation in the intersection of business, technology and education," she says. "I also am looking forward to continuing my expertise as an academic partner for organizations in empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs when it comes to delivering true innovation." If you are interested in the power of design for good, connect with Başak here.
Jeff Feng, IDSA, Associate Professor in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston and Principal at Enliving Research and Design LLC, also serves as Chair of the new IDSA Houston chapter.
"The IDSA city-based chapter initiative provides a great opportunity to the design community in the Houston metropolitan area," says Jeff. This inspired him to lead in building the IDSA Houston chapter, IDSA HTX, in 2021. Working closely with Professor George Chow, IDSA, the South District Chapter Representative, Jeff led the effort to connect with local design professionals, recruit chapter board officers, and develop and execute the plan to establish the chapter.
IDSA HTX recently held an energizing kickoff event to connect with many local design professionals and students; and during IDESIGN 2021, organized by the student IDSA chapter at the College, the professional chapter helped to organize a one-day event with portfolio reviews by professionals, a career fair, and a design forum.
As a professor, Jeff's research primarily falls in the design of medical and healthcare products and services, and in technology-driven innovation and entrepreneurship teaching and training. During 2021, in addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate-level studio courses, Jeff has continued his effort to expand the presence and influence of Industrial Design at UH and in the local community by forming vibrant and productive interdisciplinary collaborations with partners in the College of Engineering, the College of Technology, and the School of Business, among others. Jeff has served as an awardee and PI in multiple NSF and other national grants. These collaborations and Jeff’s work have realized many IPs at the University of Houston over the years.
As a member of the BRAIN (Building Reliable Advances and Innovations in Neurotechnology) Center, Jeff’s team has developed a novel EEG headset to help track patients’ brain neural function concerning the neurorehabilitation process. The device is in preparation for a clinical trial.
Infused with extensive design practice experience, Jeff’s teaching effectiveness is reflected in his students’ successes. In 2021, Jeff’s student Anna Bibikova won first place in the Bienenstock Furniture Design Competition. This is the third time one of Jeff's students has won this award in the last three years.
2021 has been a challenging year for many of us, and particularly for industrial design students. Remote teaching brought many limitations to students’ learning in terms of an immersive studio experience, face-to-face mentoring, and hands-on making and building, says Jeff. The urgency to help students was a motivating factor for him to resume in-person teaching as soon as it was allowed in Fall 2021, following the University of Houston's pandemic safety guidelines.
Jeff gratefully credits IDSA HTX officers for their passion, dedication, and leadership roles serving in the chapter. They are Eliot Martinez, IDSA, Vice Chair; Lauren Peters, IDSA, Secretary and Treasurer; Usna Ghaffar, IDSA, Social Media Lead, and Mariana Keymolen, IDSA, Events Chair.
The chapter’s young and energetic team has been a continuous source of inspiration to him. "They bring fresh ideas, bold initiatives, and energized social media presence to the chapter's strategic planning and development," Jeff confirms. "Without their diligence, IDSA HTX [would] not be up running so quickly and smoothly with a lasting impact."
"The chapter board is looking forward to a more vibrant year of growth in 2022," Jeff continues. "In the effort of inviting more professionals and students to engage and be part of IDSA-HTX, the year will be filled with in-person and online events." These will include themed design forums, networking gatherings and parties, and collaborations with other chapters.
Kate Shreffler, IDSA is a product designer at Axe Bat / Baden Sports and Chair of IDSA's Women in Design Seattle chapter. Working with Ginger Woo, IDSA, as Vice Chair to host virtual events and connect women in industrial design in the Seattle area and beyond, Kate has found inspiration and encouragement all around her.
"This year, I was motivated by people’s instinct to be creative," Kate says. "It’s when we’re the most out of sorts and upside down that playfulness and curiosity come out to problem solve. I loved seeing the new projects that emerged and the deeper connections people made with their explorative side."
She also acknowledges a shift toward entrepreneurial pursuits among the creatives around her, and herself, that have proved to be a silver lining in the midst of chaos. "In my life, personally," she says, "this meant getting a sewing machine and starting to make some gear, so we’ll see where that takes me!"
Kate is excited for 2022 and seeing the IDSA Women in Design community continue to grow. "Three more incredible women have just joined me on the Seattle Women in Design board, and we are cooking up a lot of new ways to create a community here and host fun, hands-on events," she says. "All of us have the goal to really establish an active chapter, and our skill sets complement each other in a way that gives me confidence we’ll achieve that."
John Skabardonis, PhD, DTM, A/IDSA, heads Electronics & Electrical Technical Marketing for North America at Covestro. He has been a supporter of IDSA and the Society's conferences, especially the International Design Conference, for years.
"I am intensely curious and embrace lifelong learning," John tells us. Trained as a biologist and a chemist, he discovered after graduate school how much he also enjoyed marketing, and eventually design. "Even though I have not been trained in Design," he notes, "I have been getting my ID-fix since I joined IDSA around 20 years ago and have been advocating for Design at Covestro globally."
A little over a year ago, John pivoted from a Healthcare focus to the Electronics & Electrical market, focusing on electronics integration application. He sees a tremendous amount of design potential in this arena; and as a self-described "incurable gearhead," anything in the mobility space grabs his attention.
John is excited to see Covestro taking major strides toward Circularity by embracing Circular Economy and Circular Design principles, citing his colleague Yvonne Qian's IDC 2021 presentation and the just announced Covestro Circular Economy program at the University of Pittsburgh.
He also points to a focus on Aesthetics & CMF Trends over the past few years, and the resulting development of
award-winning Covestro toolkits incorporating novel and whimsical form factors. Covestro's 2022-2023 CMF trend reports will be unveiled soon.
What's next? According to John, "We are hard at work finalizing a very cool demonstrator, which will be revealed at CES (Jan. 5-8, 2022). I can’t say much more about it at this point; however I can provide a tiny hint that it involves electronics integration, and I have a feeling it will generate a significant degree of excitement in the ID community."
Yi-Ping Wong, IDSA, is the Director of Operations for IN2 Innovation, an experience design agency headquartered in Dallas, TX. She took on the role as Chair for IDSA DFW midway through 2021 when asked by former Chair and 20/20 Recognitions recipient David Patton, IDSA, as he stepped into the Chair position for IDSA's Furniture Section.
Yi-Ping also served on IDSA’s Nominations Committee with David Patton as Chair, and alongside David Allan, IDSA, Autumn Groleski, IDSA, Mike Lyden, IDSA, and Ellise Smolenyak, IDSA. This committee was responsible for developing a slate of candidates for several open IDSA leadership positions for the 2021-2022 term. Following an open call for interest and nominations, the Nominations Committee went through a rigorous, month-long review process before submitting their list of candidates to the current IDSA Board of Directors for approval.
Looking back on what inspired Yi-Ping as she stepped into her new role as Chair of IDSA DFW, she credits Brian Roderman, FISDA, for his longstanding dedication to the community. Through years of mentorship and involvement, Brian showed her how valuable IDSA could be for young designers. He also showed how building a strong foundation formed from both professional relationships and industry knowledge, and why this is so crucial to the overall success of ID.
After witnessing the isolating effects of the pandemic on the design community, Yi-Ping and the DFW chapter focused their efforts on forging meaningful connections. Encouraged by other pandemic-motivated innovations, she initiated and planned online events such as the two-part series “Portfolios that Land Gigs” and “Landing Gigs: Resumes & Cover Letters." These professional, panel-led discussions aimed to provide actionable assistance, advice, and networking opportunities for students and young professionals entering the field.
Yi-Ping is excited to end 2021 with DFW’s first in-person event of the year: DFW’s Holiday Social. She also is looking forward to building a strong design community in DFW through IDSA involvement. When asked about the future of design, she says, "I believe a strong foundation is important for upcoming designers." In an effort to build and strengthen those foundations, she is planning opportunities for professionals to provide guidance, mentorship, and help to develop the talents of design students and young professionals, from high school students to recent college graduates.
Aziza Cyamani, IDSA, Assistant Professor of Product Design at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was essential to upholding IDSA's pillars of education and community this year. In addition to serving on the IDEA jury, she and Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA, significantly contributed to IDSA's INNOVATION magazine and co-chaired the annual IDSA Education Symposium, part of the International Design Conference 2021.
"I cannot speak about my accomplishments," Aziza says, "without highlighting my partner, the IDSA Education Council Chair, Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, whom I first met as a student but who has continued to be an invaluable source of mentorship, opportunity, and occasionally, a sharer of laughter. Together, in 2021, we engaged in bringing diverse voices of academia into current industrial design conversations in a limited column called Academia 360° published in INNOVATION mag. For the second year, she invited me to co-chair the annual IDSA Education Symposium and serve on the organizing committee with Bryan Howell, IDSA and Carly Hagins, IDSA. This year’s virtual conference included a diverse portfolio of presentations centered upon 'Breaking down barriers to foster collaborations for systematic change.'"
On this topic, Aziza and Verena also co-guest edited the Winter 2021 issue of INNOVATION, in which they curated contributions that discuss and provide critical insights on equity, shifts brought by the pandemic, and work culture in industrial design education.
Aziza joined the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this year and, "building upon the work that has been done before me, I have been contributing to teaching and designing a robust and sustainable curriculum for the product design minor program," she notes. "Part of what has also inspired me this year was serving on the IDEA jury and witnessing innovation and design excellence from around the world."
She's also been motivated by the spirit of her students, peers, colleagues, and design community in general during this unpredictable and difficult time for so many. "The past few years have been insightful to say the least," she adds, "but for the most part because it feels like, as a society, we are building bridges over community borders. I see it among students who, more than ever, are reflecting care for advocacy, social equity, and environmental stewardship in their design endeavors. Speaking about these important matters on mainstream platforms is clearly allowing us to take the power back and make way for them to permeate our lives and work. So, for the next year, I am looking forward to continued conversations, witnessing design excellence, and hopefully, in-person connections."
David Allan, IDSA, is Director of Design at Stryker and has been very giving, both with his time and insights, to IDSA this year. He served on the Society's Nominations Committee, presented at the Business of Design Deep Dive 2021, and has helped many fellow IDSA members and communities along the way.
He tells us that he has been motivated in 2021 by designers around the world who are continue to tackle humanity's most wicked problems. "It is inspiring," he says, "to witness the emerging talent of our global profession as individuals diversify their skills, collaborate across borders, and make a meaningful difference in the world."
Blending his global background in automotive, consumer, and medical design, David is passionate about demonstrating how Design can transform the way companies work, strengthen relationships between users and brands, and increase the bottom line. With numerous successful product launches during his 25-year career, he is driven by developing integrated, high-performing, and global design teams that deliver value.
Currently, he leads an award-winning, multi-disciplinary design team at Stryker, a Fortune 500 company. Stryker’s Design & Packaging team collaborates with clinical and technical experts to research and develop meaningful healthcare solutions that improve clinical outcomes in a variety of surgical procedures.
On top of this, David supports designers and IDSA members in working together across disciplines for the greater good. "As we approach 2022, I look forward to seeing the impact of IDSA’s newly elected members of the Board of Directors, Women in Design Committee, Districts Committee, and Education Council," he says. "Let’s encourage our community to support these individuals and shape the future and impact that design has on the world."
Joanna Celestina, IDSA, is Chair of the IDSA Cleveland chapter and a senior industrial designer at Energizer Holdings in Westlake, OH.
Joanna has been involved with a number of initiatives at Energizer this past year. She’s been instrumental in establishing and implementing design research and user testing procedures for the product design team. Alongside design manager, Christopher Bourne, and the Energizer team, she was a key contributor in the development of the recently launched Energizer Headband Light, an innovative take on the headlamp, designed for comfort and ease of use. Joanna has also assisted in the continued evolution and implementation of Energizer’s Design Language System, beginning with the patented Energizer Clip Light and product line extensions.
Over her past two terms as IDSA Cleveland chapter chair, Joanna has helped revitalize the chapter by bringing Cleveland area designers together through engaging events.
IDSA Cleveland hosted and/or collaborated on a total of eight events over the course of 2021. For this she thanks the chapter's Vice Chairs, Scott Urban, IDSA, and Jayson Simeon, IDSA, and Student Outreach Coordinator, Kristin Brindza, IDSA, for all their hard work and the great teamwork put forth to make 2021 the chapter's most successful year yet.
IDSA Cleveland participated in the first Cleveland Design Week, hosted by Jacinda Walker, IDSA of designExplorr. During the week, the chapter led a virtual software demo and industrial design overview for middle school to high school-aged students in the Moos Program. "Our goal," says Joanna, "was to advocate and bring awareness of the industrial design field to the youth and to expand our reach, promoting diversity and inclusion within our field."
In addition, IDSA Cleveland collaborated for a second and third time with IDSA Columbus and IDSA Cincinnati to launch Blurred Lines 2.0 and the Leadership Hype Sesh event. "The goal for the Leadership Hype Sesh was to educate the community on the benefits of IDSA membership and promote leadership volunteerism," Joanna says. Both of these events were part of a new kickoff for the virtual Cross-Chapter collaboration series, initiated by Monica Tournoux, IDSA (one of the 20/20 IDSA Recognition recipients) and aimed at developing a virtual collaboration toolkit for all IDSA chapters: "Special thanks to Monica Tournoux, Romina Barrera, and Caterina Rizzoni for helping make these events a success!"
To close out 2021, Joanna says that IDSA Cleveland wanted to do something special to bring people back together safely in person and to celebrate Cleveland area designers. In November, they hosted the first ever “Designed In Cleveland” event at Moen’s headquarters, in which local companies presented and displayed their work.
"It was amazing to see the majority of the Cleveland design community show up, share their work, and engage with one another!" Joanna recalls. "Witnessing the community coming together and showing their support has been my main source for motivation and makes chapter leadership very rewarding."
She continues: "I am extremely grateful for all the continued support from IDSA, the greater design community, and my colleagues at Energizer. I am also very appreciative of and humbled by the countless opportunities IDSA has provided. With elections around the corner, I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for our chapter and have complete confidence that the new leadership team will continue the cross-chapter collaborative efforts and bring engaging events to the youth and local design community."
Ravi Sawhney, FIDSA, is Founder and CEO of RKS Design and Chair of IDSA's Human-Centered Design Section, leading with Meghan Preiss, IDSA, as Vice Chair. In 2020, RKS Design celebrated 40 years of disrupting the design marketplace; and in 2021, Ravi has continued to be a strong advocate for multi-disciplinary industrial design and the community of IDSA.
Throughout the pandemic, he tells us he has been inspired by how designers on his team and his clients have adapted to "our new virtual lives." Whether in the design studio or from home, "we've found ourselves successfully collaborating and brainstorming with clients around the world, sometimes 30 people at a time! And we're also building new connections and relationships between newer and older members of our team, and between our team and our clients, all virtually. Human resilience is amazing to see, and we've surely been incredibly resilient in this time."
Ravi also finds motivation in how designers have responded to the challenges and the opportunities of the past year. "Private spaces, public spaces, products, and services have all had to be rethought for our new world," he says. "Our team has played a small part in that, through reimagining office spaces and consumer and medical products; but as a design community we've truly risen to the challenge."
Currently, Ravi and his team are "laser focused" on their clients and new group, RKS Digital. "With RKS Digital, we're using our published human-centered design methodology called Psycho-Aesthetics—which we've used for so many successful products—to identify product-market fit for software products and experiences and develop them with our new software development team," he says. "In some cases, we're innovating and designing hardware and software together, creating a single hardware/software experience. There are so many software products out there, because it's so easy now to create software. Our job is to help our clients be the signal in that noise."
On a personal note, Ravi adds that he is "looking forward to another great year with the human-centered design IDSA group, co-chaired by my friend and former team member Meghan Preiss, now at Ford."
Caterina Rizzoni, IDSA, is a practicing industrial designer living in Cincinnati, OH. She designs medical devices and softgoods as a Lead Designer at Kaleidoscope Innovation, an Infosys Company, where she creates intuitive and innovative solutions centering usability for clients in the med-tech space. Caterina is a passionate community-builder, and throughout the past year she has worked to create resources, events, and tools as a dedicated volunteer for IDSA and other design-related organizations. In her second year as chair of the IDSA Cincinnati Chapter, she worked to create and sustain cross-chapter initiatives from the Pantone Party to the Blurred Lines event series. “In some ways I’m grateful for the shake up,” she admits. “Despite the challenges of the past year, I think we’ve been able to work together to create new ways of exploring and learning about design together.” Her work in this space also includes the hosting and producing of the Hype Sesh event and video to educate membership about chapter leader volunteerism and prepare them for possible candidacy in upcoming chapter elections.
In her role as chapter Chair, she created a variety of programming and built upon existing partnerships with UC DAAP, hosting the second virtual ID DAAPworks show with over 20 professional jurors from across the country, and providing scholarship funds to local students with a passion for growing their careers as designers. Throughout the past year, she has volunteered time each week to serve as a mentor in both formal and informal settings, including Advanced Design's Offsite mentorship program. “I want to pay forward the incredible guidance that I have been lucky enough to receive in my career so far,” Caterina says of her mentorship work. “It’s the conversations I have with these amazing young designers that inspires me - I learn as much from the experience as they do.” Throughout the past year, she also volunteered her time with undergraduate design programs including UC DAAP, Pratt, MIAD, CCAD, OSU, and CIA, to critique and mentor students and share insight into professional practice.
Advocacy is a core part of her work as an industrial designer. In 2021, Caterina worked to grow Design Allyship alongside Ti Chang, IDSA, providing designers with actionable resources to improve the condition of historically marginalized designers in the industrial and product design industry. In the past year she has spoken on behalf of Design Allyship at events hosted by Advanced Design, the World Design Organization, and Unif-ID to promote allyship as a tool for advocacy.
Caterina says, “It’s been such a humbling experience to connect with so many designers and become part of so many wonderful groups and initiatives. These connections, these conversations - this is what it means to be part of a community.” What’s next for Caterina? She’ll be using the next year to continue speaking and writing about design, and she is looking forward to stepping into her role as the incoming At-Large Director of Conferences of IDSA and serving the organization at the national level.
Lindsey Maxwell, IDSA, is Vice President at TEAGUE and the incoming Chair-Elect on IDSA’s Board of Directors, beginning in 2022. This year, she is especially proud of starting an Executive Women in Design Group and serving as Co-Chair of IDSA’s Women in Design Committee (WIDC), to which she was elected in early 2021.
She recalls how, “a year ago, as a newer executive without many opportunities to socialize and network, I sought out other women executives and business owners in design to form a group.” Now, the group meets once a month to discuss the challenges they face as women and design leaders in the industry. “It's great to be part of a group that shares similar values and supports each other's success,” Lindsey says.
Another highlight was co-leading IDSA’s WIDC with Hina Shahid, IDSA. “Together we've set a vision and mission for the committee and established goals and tactics for next year,” Lindsey notes. “Unfortunately, I'll have to leave this team when I transition to Chair-Elect of IDSA. But I'll take the experience and what I've learned with me into my new role.”
Lindsey tells us she’s always motivated by the opportunity to introduce design into new categories and spaces. An opportunity like this arrived in 2021, when her team began a new relationship with an engineering-focused company in an emerging market. “Engineering tends to be solution-orientated, while design and design thinking are need-based —that can cause some tension, especially in a new team,” Lindsey admits. “But there was none in this collaboration; the company's leadership leaned into the design process and was genuinely interested in learning how human-centered design could lead to a better experience. And it did.”
Bringing engineering principles and creative and critical thinking together from the beginning not only transformed their product, Lindsey attests, but also the way they approach problems. “Earning trust and establishing close relationships with the people and brands shaping the future is incredibly fulfilling,” she adds.
Looking ahead to 2022, Lindsey says she and her team will be spending a good deal of time establishing new ways of working, keeping talent motivated and engaged, and building creative teams. She also plans to continue working closely with long-standing clients across the travel industry, “helping them recover and re-imagine their businesses for a post-pandemic future.”
Oh, and doing a lot of work in space! This includes “exploring zero gravity living and working, creating new products, environments, and passenger experiences that will shape the future for humans in space,” she says. “It’s an incredible and inspiring industry to work in.”
Aaron Kurth, IDSA, is a Senior Research Strategist at Paragon Consulting and Chair of IDSA's Design Research Section. In 2021, he held engaging virtual events for the design research community, including "Working with Questions" with Francine Gemperle, "Mental Models" with Andrew Maier, and "Ask Me Anything" with Steve Portigal.
"In 2021 I was motivated and inspired by the increased flexibility and digitization of our research toolset," Aaron says. "We have shifted to working in a remote world and that has already had a major impact on how we work." Through virtual events, Aaron was able to invite designers from around the world to discuss and learn more about these monumental shifts in the design research community, sparking much-needed conversations and providing glimpses into what may be coming next.
"I am excited and inspired to see what the next generation of research capture and analysis tools and techniques will look like," he continues. "It is our responsibility as researchers to push forward and explore ways to maximize our rich data sets in each project while telling the most human-centered, authentic, yet simple story at the end of the project."
When Aaron considers the Design Research Section in 2022, he sees a world of possibility. "We are still looking to explore the fundamentals of research and share with Section members ways to enhance their day-to-day research skills for both research specialists and designers," he shares. "We also want to explore the growing world of tools that are being created to enhance research. From transcription tools to data analysis and visualization, research as we know it will be making big leaps forward that will allow researchers to gather, manage, analyze, and synthesize more data. This will create more impactful insights and more contextual stories to inspire design."
Hina Shahid, IDSA, is the founder of Project Pluralist, a longtime advocate for diversity in design, and the current Chair of IDSA's Women in Design Committee (WIDC). She was elected alongside Lindsey Maxwell, IDSA, as Co-Chair earlier this year; and with Lindsey stepping into the role of Chair-Elect on IDSA's Board of Directors next year, Hina will lead the WIDC in 2022. Her fellow WIDC members include Lisa Marks, IDSA, South District Representative; Kat Reiser, IDSA, Midwest District Representative; Lea Stewart, IDSA, Central District Representative; Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, IDSA, Northeast District Representative; and Marcelle van Beusekom, IDSA, West District Representative.
A multi-disciplinary design practitioner, educator, and entrepreneur, Hina currently works as a Staff Service Experience Researcher at Compass. Her design toolbox borrows heavily from anthropology, psychology, business management, and behavioral economics. Throughout her 15-year career she has worn many hats—including researcher, strategist, designer, entrepreneur, and educator—building practices and leading research and design teams in design consultancies, Fortune 500 corporations, and start-ups in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America.
Hina started Project Pluralist, a design-led youth development program dedicated to creating a pluralist world, in 2019. She is passionate about designing alternative solutions and imagining new realities, and her proficiency lies in design-led innovation—helping organizations create new products, environments, services, and business models that balance economic viability and human value.
IDSA has greatly benefitted from Hina's multifaceted insights and worldview, with the future of the WIDC looking bright under her leadership.
Gabriele Sorrento, IDSA, is Director of Vection Technologies, a software company specialized in Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 3D Modeling, and Chair of IDSA's Digital Enterprise Section. This Section aims to bring new information to industrial design professionals interested in the bleeding edge of digital design technologies and show how ID workflows and processes can be improved by incorporating emerging digital technologies. These include VR, AR, Additive Manufacturing, Real-Time Computing, and Artificial Intelligence, which have taken on an even more heightened importance during the rise of COVID-19.
"Witnessing the world coming together to face the pandemic taught me that modern society has a tremendous, intrinsic, transformative power," Gabriele says, observing that being kept apart "pushed us to leverage technology to stay connected and inspired a coral effort in closing the technological gap, even for the older generations." He believes this historic experience has taught us an important lesson: that product designers and tech innovators, never more than today, have the imperative duty to make technology more accessible and friendly to people, companies, institutions, and governments.
"The rise of metaverse, and the crypto economy inside it, seems inevitable," he says. "While these tech revolutions offer new paths towards the digitalization of arts and manufacturing, more urgent questions related to transportation, food, and energetic sustainability remain to be properly addressed." We hope Gabriele will continue leading the way in addressing these issues and giving our community the space to explore, discuss, share information, and co-create the solutions we need.
Sayeh Dastgheib-Beheshti, IDSA, is Chair of the IDSA Toronto chapter and Principal and Founder of SAYEH.ca in Toronto, Canada. “This year I have been motivated and inspired by the increased awareness I see around issues of social justice and protecting the environment,” she tells us.
Sayeh's accomplishments in 2021 are myriad. She began the year with an online talk, titled "Designing a post-pandemic, sustainable future," which was followed by the opportunity to co-emcee IDSA’s Sustainability Deep Dive with Kevin Bethune in June 2021. “Both of these programs have given me the amazing chance to expand the conversation on sustainability beyond the traditional material use and carbon footprint into discussions about consumerism, social justice, and equity,” she says. This is all on top of IDSA’s new city-based chapter initiative motivating Sayeh to start a new professional chapter in Toronto with fellow chapter officers Brian Ebbinghaus, IDSA, and Harpreet Singh, IDSA.
"Toronto is such an amazing hub for Canada’s dynamic design scene and it seemed to be such a good time to give it a unique voice within the IDSA community," Sayeh attests. "Beginning our programs during the pandemic lockdown has led us to start our activities with monthly, free, lunchtime online talks by speakers who reflect our expansive vision of what we want the conversations to be about. We aim to inspire and motivate all those who attend, and the response has been so good that we will continue the series even after the resumption of in-person activities."
Also in 2021, Sayeh sponsored four teams in two projects, including "Reducing migratory bird deaths from light pollution caused by tall commercial buildings in downtown Toronto" and a passive clothes drying system that could be used year-round in a typical Toronto home. She published a free, online curriculum to enagage children with gardening and continued her work with the Engineering Strategies and Practices (ESP) program at the University of Toronto. As part of this program, "clients” like Sayeh provide problem briefs to first-year engineering students, who use the opportunity to build real-world skills in engaging with clients to solve problems.
Since 2008, Sayeh has been the in-house industrial design consultant at Standard Deviation LLC, which custom builds motion capture systems for movies, games, and sports applications. She has worked on projects ranging from motion capture cameras to face tracking helmets like the one currently used on the TV show Alter Ego. In 2021, Standard Deviation won the Academy Award (Technical Oscar) for their work on a head-mounted camera system.
In 2022, IDSA Toronto will be taking part in the Toronto Design Festival, where John Arnott, IDSA, Dr. Mark Chignell, Dr. Dennis Kappen, and Nicole Norris will discuss the diverse ways that concepts develop into an array of products, from physical to digital to systems.
Finally, Sayeh acknowledges that "Our chapter recognizes the lack of diversity and silence around issues of social equity, representation, and leadership. Inspired by IDSA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council (DEIC) findings, we are exploring opportunities to collaborate with members of marginalized design professionals to transform our local industrial design community to better reflect the diversity that exists."