The difficulty with humans centered design, it’s focused on some people more than others.
How far are you from your customers?
The farther you are from them, the more difficult it will be for you to create a functional design.
The closer you get to your customer, the higher the chances of creating a great design. It allows you to understand what they care about and minimize the possibility of unintentional exclusion.
Many great inventions have come from listening to and observing people interact with products. Many capital-intensive products have failed because they failed to understand how their customers use those products.
In this episode, the second part of two, Ed Bernardon interviews Harry West, Professor of Practice at Columbia University and Principal at Invisible Design. He is the creator of the curriculum on Human-Centered Design and Design Justice. He’ll share how getting closer to the consumer helps design better products.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- How they solved the women empowerment program challenge in Pakistan (05:22)
- The purpose of the Design for Justice program (14:53)
- Examples of designs that neglected a large group of the population (18:36)
- How he approaches teaching Design Justice (21:21)
- How to create better designs (27:20)
- The future role of AI in design (29:25)
Connect with Harry West:
Connect with Ed Bernardon:
- Future Car: Driving a Lifestyle Revolution
- Motorsports is speeding the way to safer urban mobility
- Siemens Digital Industries Software
Ed Bernardon: To fully grasp the importance of innovation and design, I ask you to picture why you choose certain products. The products and processes, that are integral to our daily lives, are usually designed to what the marketplace demands. But do those products serve the needs of a broad spectrum of society? What are the costs of addressing the needs of the many and does thinking outside the box help us serve those needs in a profitable way?
Ed Bernardon: Hello, and welcome to this Part 2 continuation of my fascinating interview with the designer, professor, and my fellow grad school alum, Harry West. In Part 1, Harry described the purpose of human-centered design and the four main steps that make it up. We also talked about the process behind the invention of Swiffer in which he played a major role, what defines innovation, and the role of social media in driving design. In this episode, Harry and I continue our discussion on human-centered design and how it manifests in practice by taking a look at a very interesting project he worked on in Pakistan. We also discuss his ‘Design for Justice’ curricula and why it’s important for the future of design. Finally, I asked Harry about the role that AI will play, and already is playing, in the design process and what this will mean for designers going forward. Join me, Ed Bernardon, on this episode of The Future Car as we continue to understand just how vital thoughtful design is for society as it expands from products to processes and to even to the arts.
Ed Bernardon: So, we’ve been talking a lot about the design of products, but you could also design a process. And you had an interesting project in Pakistan, where you actually designed a process for women in Pakistan to access money in their bank accounts. So, how did you apply human-centric design to that particular project? It’s actually a process, but it’s also people that were raised to have a culture completely different than yours. How’d you go about having success on that project?
Harry West: Human-centered design, design thinking, this is an innovation process that was originally developed around physical products. So, creating the mouse or Swiffer, these are kind of iconic inventions that have come out of this process. But actually, over the last 20-30 years, we’ve learned to apply the same way of thinking—this designer way of thinking—to creating not just products but also services, experiences, even businesses, or law. So, we’re creating regulations now using a human-centered process. At Continuum and Frog, most of our business migrated from being product-oriented to serve as experience-oriented.
Ed Bernardon: Even laws, you’re saying. Do you think our Congress, our senators, and our congressmen could benefit from human-centric design?
Harry West: I think so. I think they could benefit enormously from thinking about not just what was the intent of the law, the regulation—I think it’s particularly true for regulation—but actually, what is likely to happen when real people encounter that regulation, because people tend to work around restrictions, people tend to modify their behavior to take advantage of different restrictions and opportunities that are in front of them. And often those are not properly anticipated, unfortunately, when we create laws. That’s a topic for another day. Although, there’s a very interesting class at Harvard right now on exactly that — on the US taking a human-centered approach to designing regulation, in particular, around the environment to climate change.
Ed Bernardon: I think you’re absolutely right, we could probably do a whole podcast just on that topic. But if you could change one thing about what they’re doing in Washington when they’re trying to figure out what the laws are, what would you suggest to our senators and congressmen?
Harry West: I can’t suggest one thing, there are so many things I wish they did differently. That’s a really good question, Ed. I guess if there’s one thing that I would want, not just our senators and congressmen, to think about, but also all of us as citizens in the United States or citizens of the world is to recognize that the system that we’re in—the legal, the business, the social system that we’re in—is something that we created and there’s nothing sacred about it. And if it’s not working for us, we can change it. And there are things that are clearly not working for us right now, and so we should think about changing them. But that’s a big topic. But I would love for all of us as politicians, leaders, and citizens to be more open about what our future might be. Should we go back to Pakistan?
Ed Bernardon: We could go back to that. Give us an example of that design in Pakistan.
Harry West: Just as a preamble, most of our business at Continuum and Frog migrated to service design, in particular, digital service design. Our major clients were things like banks and health insurance companies trying to make those services better for people. Most of our work was centered in the United States or Europe, which is the richest part of the world. But sometimes we were called upon to also work in other parts of the world to kind of lend our expertise to problems that were affecting a lot of people, and where there wasn’t as much money. We embraced doing that type of work. We were paid to do it, but we were paid less. We didn’t do it for profit, we did it because we thought it was the right thing to do. And there was a very particular problem in Pakistan that we were called to help with in 2013. A couple of years earlier, they had set up a program called the Benazir Income Support Program in Pakistan to give money to the approximately 5 million poorest women in Pakistan. Pakistan is a population of around 200 million people. It’s a poor country. And there are a lot of people who were living on, at the time, $2 to $4 a day. Imagine living on $4 a day for a family. There were people struggling. And through the World Bank, through the UK Government, through the Government of Pakistan, the fund had been put together to give money, about something like $10 a month to these 5 million poorest women to help them. And the challenge was how do you get money from the bank in Islamabad to 5 million women in remote villages in Pakistan. They had tried different systems. They had tried mailing the money: Putting the money in an envelope, putting it into the mail service. And there was a mail service that reached most villages. But for various reasons, about 30% of the money was disappearing, for reasons of corruption, for many other reasons. So, they’d tried other systems; they had tried a banking system, sending everybody an ATM card, can they get the money that way? And again, this system wasn’t working. So, we were called in to create a mobile banking system, basically. Somebody had the idea that if we use mobile phones to transfer money, then we could avoid all the middlemen, we could avoid corruption and get the money directly into the hands of these poorest women. And it kind of made sense. But actually, if you think about it for just a tiny bit, you realize this ain’t going to happen. And I’m embarrassed to say that it was only when I was in Pakistan and when I was working in Lahore, I realized, “This ain’t gonna happen.” We had mobile phone numbers for all of the women in the Benazir Income Support Program, we had their mobile number. So, applying the design research process, the human-centered design process, I said, “Okay, we’re going to phone them up, we’re going to set up an interview, and we’re going to talk to them. And we’re going to figure out how to create a mobile payment system for them.”
Harry West: So, working with my colleague at Habib Bank Limited and he starts phoning people and he can’t get through. And we go, “This is funny. We got this database of everybody’s phone numbers from the World Bank. It must be true.” And we phoned, and phoned, and phoned, and eventually, we realized not only is there nobody at the end of this line, but these are not real numbers. These numbers don’t make sense. You know how in the United States, there’s a structure to a number: 334. These weren’t conforming to the pattern that you would expect. And so we’re going, “What is going on here?” Well, it turns out—and it’s obvious, really—if you’re living at $4 a day, you can’t afford a mobile phone. But when this program was set up, in order to get the money, you had to put down a phone number, so people put down a number.
Ed Bernardon: Just any number?
Harry West: Any number, or it could be an uncle’s number or somebody else’s number or a number. So, this data, this quantitative data that we had was completely bogus. So, that’s the first problem. So we said, “Okay, mobile payment is not going to work here.” And it was kind of obvious in retrospect, but we’re already in Pakistan at this point. Let’s go back to the ATM system, trying to figure out why is that not working. We hired a local team. I brought in a translator, a facilitator, and designers from Lahore, and brought in a translator and facilitator from the local villages. We wanted to co-create work with them to try and understand what the problem was. Again, we listened to the theory of experts, and they said, “Oh, the problem is financial illiteracy. These poor people don’t understand money. That’s the problem.” So we thought, “Okay, maybe that’s the problem.” I had no idea. So, we went out into the villages, into the slums, and then we start asking questions around money to assess did they understand what was going on. Absolutely, they did. And this is something I’ve seen the world over that the poorest people understand money better than you and I. Because if you’re living on $4 a day, you know the value of every cent; it’s the difference between life and death for you. So, this notion of poor people being financially illiterate, well, it’s completely bogus. So, what is going on? How come we’re giving ATM cards, we’re giving passcodes to women, we’re explaining to them how to use this system, there’s an ATM machine only a mile or so away from this slum, how come they can’t go to that machine, get their money, go home, and feed their family? What is going wrong? And it took us hours and like 30 interviews with people, watching people use ATM machines, and talking to them about what they were doing before a pattern emerged. And I’m going to simplify the story here, but actually, it was complex. There were many reasons why people are struggling to get their money, there were lots and lots of problems. And to solve this problem, you know how it is in product development, you’ve got to deal with each problem one at a time and just brutally solve every single problem in the chain.
Harry West: But there were a few that kind of stood out. One is that the designers of the original system had sent all of these materials out to these women, including very detailed instructions on how to use an ATM, how their cards worked, etc. But what they hadn’t considered was that the women couldn’t read. So, pretty much 100%, the women couldn’t read. They couldn’t read their own name. There was no way they were going to read written instructions on how to use an ATM. And it amazed me that the original team, which was from Pakistan, hadn’t done that research because they were designing for themselves, they could read, it made sense to them, and they hadn’t empathized enough with the user to understand how it didn’t make sense for the person they were designing for — that’s one problem. And then we think, “Well, but if we told people what to do.” We explained to them in detail, and there was word of mouth going through the villages to explain how to use this, and people were going to ATMs, and it wasn’t working. Well, you know how it is, if you go to an ATM and you make a mistake, your card is eaten, and then you’ve got to go back to the bank. And this was happening time and time again. What is going on here? So, eventually, I remember standing in the ATM with my colleague, this woman from the village, and we were watching her use the ATM slowly, and I’m paying very close attention. She’s got her pin card in front of her, she’s typing in the number, and she’s doing everything right except for one thing. And, of course, in the US and Europe, in English, we read from left to right. In other countries, they read from right to left. So, she’s looking at the PIN code and she’s typing in the pin from right to left, which of course is the wrong code, and you do that three times and the machine eats your card and you don’t have access to the money. And that was happening all over Pakistan, hundreds of millions of dollars were being lost for that and for a slew of other reasons. That was just basic, good design. And in order to do that good design, you had to go into the village or into the slum and understand how other people thought about how the world worked and how you could make it work for them, not for you.
Ed Bernardon: Great example. Unless you were there, like you said, “I watched in detail how she was using the machine. I watched the people mop.” We watched the people cut Kevlar with scissors, you wouldn’t have been designing the right thing or you would have designed it in the wrong way. I want to segue now into another aspect of design, adds another dimension to all this. So, another curriculum you’re developing is called ‘Design for Justice.’ Explain to us exactly what this is, and does it really mean that design can not be just sometimes?
Harry West: Design Justice is a new program that we are creating at Columbia. And it’s not just me. As a white male, not low-income, I really don’t have the credentials. I’m extremely privileged as a person. So, we’re trying to teach students how to design for people who are less privileged and who are facing injustice. I am lending my expertise as a designer, but I’m also working with other people, with Desmond Patton, who is a professor of Social Work, and Olivia Chilton, who’s a professor in Computer Science, they bring other credentials, a deep understanding of power, racism, oppression, and persecution, which many people face, even in this country, a deep understanding of what it’s like to be a woman in the United States, to be a black in the United States, to be a sexual minority in the United States. So, together, we’re crafting this program. We ran the first iteration about a year ago. We’re doing a couple of workshops with students to co-create with them this fall, what it is that they want and what it is that they need, and then we’ll be running the second iteration of the class next spring. The difficulty with humans and design, which I’m sure you’ve experienced, is that it’s totally focused on people, but actually, it’s focused on some people more than others. This is just what happens in business. In business, we tend to focus on customers with money because they’re the ones who are going to buy our products; you’re looking for profit, you have to. So, we tend to exclude, in our research, other people; we exclude people who don’t have money; we exclude future generations who are going to be impacted by this work, they ultimately will be customers in the future, but they’re not here today so we exclude them from the design process; we exclude people who are not like most of our customers. So, sometimes in the United States, we overemphasize designing for white men with money and deprioritize designing for black women with less money simply because we’re focused on making a profit, which we have to in business. And my experience as a designer is not like we deliberately exclude but rather we are so focused on the market potential that we accidentally exclude. So, part of the purpose of this program is to help students, who are going to be future business leaders, to be aware of how this happens, and how despite our best intentions, we can inadvertently make design decisions that exclude some people from the process, we can inadvertently design systems that have a bias against people, and that we don’t want to do that so we have to take deliberate action if we’re going to avoid injustice.
Ed Bernardon: So, on one hand, the drive for profit is actually creating great products if we look over history, but yet, like you said, inadvertently. So, it could be that maybe not even adding a lot of cost to a product or maybe changing its design in a way that doesn’t make it less profitable could start to address the needs of a greater group of people: the ones that are typically neglected, the neglected communities. Can you give an example of something that was designed that if it would have had the proper attention on the neglected communities, it would have been a better product?
Harry West: There are so many famous examples, examples like AIs that are very good at face recognition for white people, but not as good for black people. The system I just described in Pakistan, it worked very well for people who knew that in English, you read from left to right. And nobody had said, “Oh, we’re gonna mess up these poor women.” Nobody said that. There’s no villain in the process. It was inadvertent. They hadn’t thought about the needs of people other than themselves. And in this case, in Pakistan, it was middle-class, well-educated people, they hadn’t thought about the explicit needs of women who are less well-educated and who were not aware of how other languages operate. So, those are kinds of inadvertent exclusion. We see this in all manner of issues around systems that are designed for people with more money and don’t work for people with less money. We see this around dating services. That’s an initiative that one of my student teams is working on. That works well for white people looking for white people, but caused harm to people who weren’t white, and began to feel excluded, and in some cases, deliberately abused in the system. We see that in how we design the environments around us that work well for you and me because I can cope with a noisy environment. I live here in New York City, there’s a lot going on. And for me, when I walk into a restaurant or a bar and there’s music playing, that’s positive. But for some people, for example, there are people with autism, who are differently abled; for them, that’s an excluding environment. So, a team brought to the attention of Columbia that some of the environments that have been set up for most people had inadvertently been designed to exclude a certain population at Columbia.
Ed Bernardon: So, it’s not really that profit and trying to create something that serves the many—if we use that word—they’re not necessarily exclusive. It’s just to keep everyone in mind when you’re doing design and the needs of all those. So, when you’re teaching your course at Columbia, you probably have affluent people and economically disadvantaged people in your class. How do you go about in class leveraging these diverse experiences that all these people have so that everyone can get the most out of that class?
Harry West: It’s a very complex subject and I really lean upon the expertise of other people in thinking about how to teach Design Justice, and make use of the book Design Justice, which is a key text, also make use of other design textbooks. I want people to understand the full spectrum of how people think about design. And I think this is the angle that I take, which we have shared, is that we can focus on rectifying the justice or we can focus on finding a villain. And often there is no villain in the process. It’s not deliberate. Sometimes it is, and we all know that there are bad actors. But a lot of the injustice is caused inadvertently, accidentally. So, one of the exercises I go through with my students—I do this at Columbia, I do this at MIT, I do this in all the lectures I give around the world—is I just have people pick up a product they like. Let’s pick up a product that you like—and I do this with hundreds of students—and I say, “Okay, now why did you buy that? Were there a couple of other products that you were thinking about?” “Oh, I could have been looking at the Samsung earphones or the Bose earphones.” “Now just write down the one, two, or three reasons why you chose these rather than the other product.” And people do this with electronics, with coffee they’ve bought, with bus services they use, getting on the subway, and hundreds of different products. And then I have everybody share the answers with me, and I keep them, and then I just reflect that back to the class, and I say, “Okay, pretty much all of you said, ‘I chose these because of the price.’” And generally, that’s the most important reason why we choose a product; it’s the price. And maybe the second reason is because the quality of the product was high. And maybe third, it was because of the convenience. And then we get down to the longer tail, on the reasons why people choose a product. But if I look at the first two or three, it’s always price, quality, convenience, maybe fashion, maybe it’s “my friend had it.” And I do this with literally hundreds of people, and I do this with the most woke people: 20-year-old students at Columbia, students in Design Justice classes, students in environmental conferences. And I cheat because I tell them I’m a designer, I give them a little prelude, a little preamble about the importance of design, great designers — I cheat. But nobody ever mentions justice or the environment as the reason why they bought a product. Nobody ever mentions that. But they never mention why I chose this product. So, I say, “Okay, this is you, and you are some of the most woke people in the world. Now imagine you’re the CEO of that company, what do you have to do to satisfy your customers?” “Well, I’ve got to make it cheap, high quality, and convenient.” And what happens if you don’t do that? Your sales will go down and you will get fired, and you won’t be able to afford to send your kids to an expensive university like Columbia. That’s why they’re making that decision. That’s why they’re focused on those issues and then missing out on some of these really important issues that we know are important, but that we forget when we’re actually designing, and more importantly, purchasing a product or service. We forget that every decision also has an implication around the environment and around equity. And until we as customers and consumers value that as much as price, quality, and convenience, it’s going to be very difficult to change.
Ed Bernardon: I think that’s really interesting is we would think, “Oh, it’s the company that’s making the product and their designers and manufacturers that are causing the problem.” But it seems that possibly they may just be responding to price, quality, and ease of use. So, how do you go about changing that? It’s not a design problem, is it?
Harry West: Well, I think it is a design problem, and I think we can change that. As customers, we are getting better at considering other factors, and that is a beautiful thing. So, that’s good. But also, actually, it is possible to design a product that does price, quality, and convenience, and takes into account issues in the environment, and takes into account issues of equity. And it may be that the pressure to do that comes not so much from the customers, but from the company, the people in the company, and employees who are more aware of the implications and the result of their design decisions than any consumer can be. So, maybe that is where the focus needs to be. And just by broadening the considerations that a company takes into account, they can, at almost no cost, make what to me would be better design decisions.
Ed Bernardon: The role of the university and your course—it’s a new course, as you said, you only have been doing it for a couple of years here—is to plant that seed. The lesson I’ve learned from listening to you speak here is that it’s inadvertent; “Hey, it’s not that hard. Just keep it in mind and you can have a product that does a lot more and still makes you money,” which ultimately is a big driver. I want to wrap up with a couple of real quick questions. First, we’ve talked a lot about different aspects of design: human-centered design and design for justice. To the big companies in the world, and the small ones too, what advice would you give for them to be more innovative and create better designs?
Harry West: To get really close to your customers, that’s key. And I think most companies have got that message now. So, companies are pretty good at understanding who their consumers are. But just to reflect on that design justice conversation, I would say, also get close to the people who are not currently your customers and understand and respect them too: the people who don’t have the money to buy your product or service, the people who are too young to buy your product or service, and the people that are not even born yet, and think of them as future potential customers. It may just be from a justice point of view, but also, society is changing, and it’s changing very rapidly. And in order not to be caught out by changes in people’s expectations, you need to begin to track them early. And my experience working with young people at Columbia is these issues around climate change and equity are central to them. When I was in my 20s, it was on the periphery of my consciousness, now it’s dead center. And eventually, they will figure out how to take that concern and actualize it into their purchase decisions. So, as a corporation, we need to begin to track that and prepare for that because companies are going to die if they’re caught on the wrong side of history on those issues.
Ed Bernardon: We look to the future and a lot of things seem to be changing: autonomous cars, AI. What do you think the role in the future is going to be for AI? Will AI replace designers completely? It’s certainly going to be a tool that they can use, not AI as a product, but AI in the design process. Might we someday be able to sit back and these AI-driven machines are going to design everything we need?
Harry West: It’s happening today. It’s absolutely happening today. So, examples we could cite: AI is scouring social media, looking for new ideas that are emerging there, and understanding new trends. So, a lot of the work that I did early in my career, trying to understand people, that’s being done by AIs today. AIs like DALL-E are creating new designs, new art. And eventually, they will create new products too. And perhaps the biggest impact of technology today is on the digital iteration. So, for many firms, design decisions are not being made by designers now. So, at Google, at Booking.com, for example, instead of a designer deciding on “Where do I locate that button? What color do I use here? What words do I use here?” Instead of that, they’re generating many different possibilities, they’re putting them out into the world, and they’re seeing what the customer response is to that, and they’re using customer feedback — not asking the customer, just noticing how the customer responded. They’re using that to drive design decisions. So, many of these decisions are no longer being made by a designer, they’re being made by the computer.
Ed Bernardon: You think the designer will ever be eliminated?
Harry West: No, we will always be moving on.
Ed Bernardon: And why is that? What’s the role of the designer? Because there are two aspects of what you just talked about. One aspect is scouring the internet and figuring out what we want. Alright, now we have optimized that. But the other part is, well, now you have a creative process.
Harry West: Well, DALL-E sort of is a creative process. But I think that the future of design is going to be thinking about creating systems. So, maybe I am not designing that button on the website, but maybe I’m designing the system that will create that button. It’s kind of more of a meta-challenge today.
Ed Bernardon: We’re going to design the designers.
Harry West: We’re going to design the designer. Exactly.
Ed Bernardon: Harry, with that, thank you so much. You certainly opened our eyes to a lot of aspects of design, all the way to actually designing designers. I want to finish up. We have our final section, we call it rapid fire. We’re going to ask you a bunch of questions, really quick, one-line answers, whatever you want to do. Are you ready to go?
Harry West: Okay.
Ed Bernardon: What was the first car you ever bought or owned?
Harry West: The first car I bought was a Volkswagen GTI.
Ed Bernardon: Did you pass your driver’s test on the first try?
Harry West: No, I speeded.
Ed Bernardon: Oh, the next question is, tell me your best speeding tickets story.
Harry West: I didn’t get a ticket but I had to do my driver’s test again. So, I’m very embarrassed.
Ed Bernardon: Oh, you sped during the driver’s test?
Harry West: Yeah, I’m not proud of it. I want to get it over and done with, but that was not the right way.
Ed Bernardon: No, not that way. We’ve got to hold back. You got too much energy in your testing. Autonomous cars are going to become commonplace someday, they’re going to become what we call living room on wheels. You have a five-hour trip you’re taking, say, from Boston to Columbia or you’re going to go to New York. You’re in a living room on wheels, you don’t have to drive, so you can do anything you want in this living room on wheels. What does your living room on wheels look like?
Harry West: Sort of like the room I’m in right now, which is kind of large, sparse, white, and minimal distraction.
Ed Bernardon: What are you going to do in that perfect minimal distraction room?
Harry West: I am going to listen to music, listen to books—I love listening to books—and talk with people.
Ed Bernardon: Favorite audiobook? Since you mentioned it.
Harry West: Educated. I loved Educated.
Ed Bernardon: What person, living or not, would you want to spend that five-hour car ride with?
Harry West: Well, I want to spend the five hours with a dead person.
Ed Bernardon: Well, they’d be alive.
Harry West: I know, but nonetheless. I think, Olga Tokarczuk. She’s a Polish writer. She wrote “The Books of Jacob,” “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead,” and “Flights.” Just an amazing, amazing writer. I think she’d be an interesting person to chat with.
Ed Bernardon: What do you think is the most interesting innovation you’ve ever seen?
Harry West: Interesting is a difficult word, isn’t it?
Ed Bernardon: How about surprising? Most surprising.
Harry West: Right now, I think, what’s amazing me is DALL-E, the AI that creates new works of art or new images. I find that endlessly fascinating. I can’t stop playing with it both to be awed by what it does and also the mistakes it makes, which are kind of unnerving.
Ed Bernardon: You’re giving us all sorts of fun things that everyone’s going to go play with. If you could un-invent one thing, what would it be?
Harry West: The like button on Facebook. I think it has made Facebook toxic and has been bad for our society.
Ed Bernardon: If you could magically invent one thing, what would it be?
Harry West: A way for us to want less.
Ed Bernardon: Two last questions and then we’re done. The first one is, tell us something about yourself that would surprise your friends and family, something they’ve never heard about you.
Harry West: Oh, there’s nothing. I’m a complete open book. I have no secrets. My family, my friends, they know everything about me. And if they didn’t, they could just ask.
Ed Bernardon: If something comes to mind during the last question, you can come back to that one. So, final question: In three words, describe the type of student who you think would go on to have a very successful design career.
Harry West: Curious, creative, and caring. You have to care.
Ed Bernardon: The three C’s.
Harry West: The three C’s.
Ed Bernardon: Harry, thank you so much. I really, really enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us on The Future Car podcast.
Harry West: Thanks, Ed. It’s been great.
Harry West – Guest, Professor of Practice at Columbia University and Principal at Invisible Design
Harry West is building a human-centered design and innovation curriculum at Columbia and working at the intersection of design, data and behavior change. He is also the Principal of Invisible Design which develops design and innovation solutions to particularly difficult business problems. Harry was formerly the CEO of frog, Senior Partner at Prophet, and CEO at Continuum and has contributed to the design of products and services with ongoing sales of several billion dollars a year and which have won many design awards. Prior to working in design consulting, Harry was an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT where he taught kinematics and engineering design. Harry received his BA in Engineering from Cambridge University in 1980, an MS in Technology and Policy from MIT in 1984, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1986.
Ed Bernardon, Vice President Strategic Automotive Intiatives – Host
Ed is currently VP Strategic Automotive Initiatives at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Responsibilities include strategic planning in areas of design of autonomous/connected vehicles, lightweight automotive structures and interiors. He is also responsible for Future Car thought leadership including hosting the Future Car Podcast and development of cross divisional projects. Previously a founding member of VISTAGY that developed light-weight structure and automotive interior design software acquired by Siemens in 2011. Ed holds an M.S.M.E. from MIT, B.S.M.E. from Purdue, and MBA from Butler.
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- Uncovering Human-Centered Design with Harry West – Professor of Practice at Columbia University Part 1
- Sustainable EV Global Circumnavigation with Ben Scott-Geddes, Fering Technologies – Part 2
- Carlo Mondavi’s Autonomous Electric Tractors for Sustainable, Affordable Farming – Part 1
The Future Car Podcast
The tech-driven disruption of the auto industry cuts across domains, from silicon and software to sensors and AI to smart traffic management and mobility services. Get the chip- to city-scale story in regular interviews with technologists at Siemens and beyond.