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Designing for Desirability

February 5, 2016

Beth Altringer, PhD, MA
Lecturer on Innovation and Design, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Faculty Associate, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

About the Presentation: This discussion will cover multiple ways that professional designers approach the challenge of designing desirable products and services. Altringer created a multi-disciplinary project-based course at Harvard (now it its fourth year) for students to learn from real world cases of how organizations like Apple and Gucci strategically design for desirability. They apply what they’re learning to weekly product and service design challenges. They learn to engage with what it means to design for experiences that are simple, irresistible, delightful, cool, covetable, sharable, and, increasingly these days, much more likely to be successful. We’ll cover tools and examples – from human centered design to emotional design to experience design and design for behavioral change – and try applying these ideas on a sample challenge.

About the Presenter: Dr. Altringer runs a lab focused on understanding why some designs are more desirable than others. With a PhD focused on the psychology of small group innovation processes and outcomes at companies like IDEO, a Master’s in Architecture, and significant experience in industry, Altringer takes a practice-based approach that combines human centered design, emotional design, and motivation for behavioral change. She now focuses on desirability via multi-sensory and emotional elements of product and service experiences. She is a Lecturer on Innovation and Design at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She frequently creates new project-based courses and feedback systems based on her research. Through her practice, she runs design research for Piaggio Fast Forward (urban mobility and wearable technology), is an advisor to OneLeap (innovation consulting), and is developing software for flavor discovery. She has worked with the Harvard Innovation Lab, Stanford D-School, MIT, Artscience Labs, Kering, Gucci Group, Puma, Swarovski, OneLeap, ARG Design/City of Cape Town, 2010 FIFA World Cup, and more.