Tag Archives: INSEAD

All you need to know about the value of mixing business and design from Airbnb’s Katie Dill

Doreen Lorenzo: What do you think influenced your career path and becoming a designer?
Katie Dill: Growing up my sister and I were chopping wood, helping to build the extension on the house, taking down trees, driving cars when we were nine years old, and just playing outside in the Adirondacks, making things, like forts and whatever would come to us. And so it was very hands-on—if you see a problem, fix it. I think that kind of approach took me onto the design route, which is all about problem solving and making things.

I’d never even heard of the profession of design, outside of interior design. I studied history in college, because I wanted to know why things are the way they are, and graduated looking to try to understand my next step. While I was studying abroad in Florence I fell in love with architecture, so I started to explore that as a career, speaking to several different architects, trying to learn how they got into it and what they did. That’s when I realized it probably would not be a good profession for someone as impatient as me.

My roommate recommended I talk to industrial designers, and when I did, I realized it sounded like a dream job come true. I applied to school and was accepted at Art Center College of Design. I studied industrial design and did a study abroad at a business school, INSEAD in Singapore, and then did several internships that took me further into the business world.

I saw how MBA students would tackle problems a designer could tackle, but in a different way. And I saw their way of thinking versus our way of thinking, and how together we could do something really great. That energized me to unite the fields. Because it’s not enough to just imagine a beautiful thing. It’s all about: how does that thing fit in the larger ecosystem? What’s the impact going to be on the community? What’s the impact going to be on the business?

Later when I went to work at frog design, I came in as what they called a design analyst. And I started doing more interaction work, and more design strategy, leading design projects. And then from there, after five years at frog, I was leading teams and building teams. Now my design project at Airbnb in many ways is helping to design the team that creates all of our digital products.

To read more about Katie’s experiences transitioning from agency to corporate design work, managing change at Airbnb and her ever expanding definition of what it means to be a designer in today’s world, visit FastCoDesign.


Giving design the business: The ROI on Art Center’s longstanding partnership with INSEAD

What at first felt like a total culture clash just a decade ago is now standard practice in most top-earning companies. The idea of blending design innovation with business strategy has quickly evolved from a seedling, to a trend and now to a “must have.”

Art Center alumni and friends reunited in San Francisco on February 28 to celebrate the 10-year partnership of the College and INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools. Close to 150 industry leaders gathered at the posh play-inducing headquarters of Airbnb on Brannan Street to toast the success of a concept early adopters admitted seemed wacky.

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Art Center in Asia: Onward Singapore

Shimano Cycling World, located at the Singapore Sports Hub, was designed by alumnus and Trustee Tim Kobe's (BS 82) Eight Inc., and just won two SPARK awards. Photo: Aarond Pocock

Shimano Cycling World, located at the Singapore Sports Hub, was designed by alumnus and Trustee Tim Kobe’s (BS 82) Eight Inc., and just won two SPARK awards. Photo: Aaron Pocock

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we explore Art Center’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Today, we look at the College’s presence in Singapore and its decade-long relationship with INSEAD.

From Beijing, take a six-hour flight south and you’ll find yourself in Singapore, a geographically tiny city-state where tropical rains meet Blade Runner-esque skylines.

Singapore is not only a central hub for Southeast Asian business, but it is also a country banking big on the innovation economy and bending over backwards to lure creative and entrepreneurial talent to its borders.

Just ask Environmental Design alumnus and Art Center Trustee Tim Kobe (BS 82), the founder of Eight Inc., a design firm whose clients include Apple, Citibank and Nokia and which has offices around the world, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.

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Stuck in a rut? Alum Audrey Liu’s iPad App Can Help.

Ever wish you could “unstuck” yourself from a sticky situation? Creative Director Audrey Liu of SYPartners Inc. developed an iPad app called Unstuck that helps users find motivation to overcome obstacles by understanding what’s wrong and providing a set of tools to solve the problem.

In a recent profile in The People Stories, Liu admits that she had admired SYPartners while she was studying at Art Center, where she presented her exhibit to them on recruitment day. Liu came prepared to seize the moment, at least partially thanks to the training she received while studying abroad at INSEAD, a business school in Singapore and a longtime partner of Art Center.

Creative Director Audrey Lui developed the Unstuck iPad app to help users find motivation to solve problems.


That experience, Liu said, also reinforced “the importance of design and storytelling as a communication tool.” Now, split across bi-coastal offices in New York and San Francisco, she and the rest of the SYPartners product design team brainstorm and develop products that transform the way companies do business. “Now being involved in the hiring process at SYPartners, I can see a focus on clear, simple, emotive storytelling as well as a passion for communicating information in a very human way,” said Liu.

During the past two decades, the firm has guided some of the world’s most respected companies like Starbucks, Apple, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Visa, and more. Liu feels inspired and excited by the challenges she and her team face on a daily basis. “I feel very lucky to be able to say that there are a lot of things that I love about my job.”



UPDATED: Alum’s prosthetic named Dyson Award runner-up

A prosthetic socket designed to be adjustable, robust and affordable designed by Benevolent Technologies for Health (BETH) was named one of two international runner-ups for the prestigious James Dyson Award.

Product Design alumnus Jason Hill is part of the BETH Project team, which also includes Elizabeth Tsai, an MIT student pursuing her master of science degree, Ramin Abrishamian, an MIT alumnus and businessman, and Asa Hammond, who is earning a degree in physiological science at UCLA.

The BETH Project’s website says its launch product “will bring significant cost savings to the multi-million dollar prosthetic care industry that struggles to meet the needs of low income patients especially in developing countries.”

The team also says that by being made from an infinitely re-moldable material, its mass-producible socket device will cut prosthetic care costs by reducing or eliminating labor intensive procedures like fitting, fabrication, adjustment and re-fabrication.

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INSEAD Week at Art Center

For the past six years Art Center and INSEAD, a top-tier business school with campuses in Singapore and Fontainebleau, France, have participated in an annual study abroad program. Each year, a group of Art Center Product Design students travel to one of INSEAD’s two campuses to collaborate on a creative project with MBA candidates. They also attend graduate-level business courses in finance, marketing, entrepreneurship and various other business subjects.

Every March, INSEAD students and leadership visit Pasadena as part of INSEAD Week at Art Center. To help the visitors better understand the role of design and the design process, they are taken on a five-day tour of Southern California that includes workshops, presentations and visits to corporate studios. The latest batch of participants arrived in Pasadena Thursday, and will be here through Tuesday. They will tour Belkin, Stuart Karten Design, Idea!Lab, RTT and Disney Consumer Products, among many more fun activities. Be sure to welcome them to campus!