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Confronting Complexity through Design; Ambition of Change

November 30, 2023
6:00-8:00pm CST
Design Museum of Chicago at Expo 72
72 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
A thought-provoking panel on design shaping choices through transforming narratives, driving innovation, and empowering communities.


Doors: 6pm
Seminar: 6:30-7:30pm

About the Event:

In a world rapidly evolving beyond traditional paradigms, this panel explores design’s critical role in navigating and addressing the complex systemic challenges of our time and the future. The panel brings thought-provoking experts illustrating how design should shape choices through transforming narratives, driving innovation, and empowering communities.

In an era marked by significant social, ecological, and technological shifts, leaders across various sectors are looking to design as a tool to navigate these changes and seize tomorrow's opportunities. The panel highlights design's evolving role in transitioning from the patterns of the world we're leaving behind to those shaping the world we're entering. Through exploring themes of 'intersections,' 'choices,' 'language,' and 'pathways,' the panelists demonstrate how design interplays with these domains to amplify the impact of value creation, ultimately shaping a resilient and inclusive future. Panelists will discuss how design enables the mapping and navigation of complex systems, informs strategic choices, fosters a shared language for interdisciplinary synergies, and guides us through the pathways of transformational change. This conversation showcases the diverse ways through which emerging conceptual models and related design practices support ambitious leaders as they navigate through complex spaces of innovation and create systems value.

Moderated by:

Deaa Bataineh
Designer, Researcher, and Educator;
PhD Researcher, IIT-Institute of Design

Deaa is a researcher, educator, and consultant in the field of design. With a career that blends academia and practice, his work focuses on strategic choice-making, tackling complex intersections in areas like energy, mobility, health, and food. He co-founded the design program of Jordan University of Science and Technology, where he taught design for nearly eight years. As a practitioner, he has engaged in various capacities, including as an advisor, partner, and chief design officer, lending his expertise to design consultancy, branding, e-commerce, and tech startups across the MENA region. Currently, as a PhD researcher at the IIT Institute of Design, Bataineh focuses on transforming public infrastructures into private platforms and vice versa. He aims to guide organizations in designing everyday infrastructures like EV charging stations, cashless payments, and in-flight meals, highlighting design's role as a catalyst for equitable, sustainable, and intelligent transformation.

In conversation with:

André Nogueira, Ph.D.
CEO of Leap;
Research Scientist, Brown University-School of Public Health

André Nogueira, Ph.D. (he/him) is the CEO of Leap and a Research Scientist for the Brown University School of Public Health. He has been an entrepreneur, creating and leading a design studio in Brazil, and an intrapreneur in both the corporate and academic worlds. In the corporate, André has helped urban development organizations build their sustainability strategy and programs. In academia, he has helped institutions in the US and Brazil build design laboratories that expanded their capacity to bridge theory and practice through cross-sectorial partnerships. Recent experiences involve the Design Laboratory at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Action Labs at the IIT Institute of Design. André was recently awarded the first 40 under 40 Public Health Catalyst Awards by the Boston Public Health Congress. His work and that of his students have been published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, awarded by Fast Company and Core77, and featured in The Guardian, The Indian Times, The New York City Daily Post, The CSR Universe, Business World, and Global Health Ventures, among others.

Alvaro Delgado Aparicio
Founder, CEO, and Principal Coach at the Creative Leadership Project
PhD Research, IIT- Institute of Design

Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio has more than 25 years working in the intersection between innovation, change management and leadership development. He is currently the founder, CEO and Principal Coach of The Creative Leadership Project that has the mission to help leaders from large organizations to unblock, discover, and develop their creative potential, breakout from incrementalism, lead change and make impact that matter happen. He has been the Chief Innovation Officer for the Breca Group, (one of the largest conglomerates in Latin America) founding and orchestrating BREIN, an innovation hub composed of a design studio; a Tech & Digital lab; a Center for Advanced Analytics and IA; and an Innovation Talent academy in Peru, which received one of the three Best International Workplace for Innovation by Fast Company. During the pandemic, he orchestrated the design, production, and distribution of “MASI”, the emergency ventilators that saved thousands of lives to help fight Covid-19 in Peru. According to MIT, “MASI” became the world reference in emergency ventilators in 2021.

Alvaro is an Organizational Psychologist from the London School of Economics, has an MBA from MIT and a Sloan Fellowship in Innovation and Global Leadership from the same university. He is an Advanced Executive Certified Coach from Cambridge University and currently a PHD researcher at the IIT Institute of Design. Alvaro was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship in Innovation, chaired by Colin Powell. He is currently a board member for Endeavour, and BREIT, the Philanthropic Institute for Advanced Analytics between Breca and MIT in Peru. His main hobby is writing, directing, and producing short films, his latest was a grand jury finalist at Sundance. He also wrote, directed, and produced Retablo, his first feature film developed at the Sundance Lab, chaired by Robert Redford, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2018, winning the Teddy Award. It was Peru’s official entry for the 2020 Academy Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA, the Independent Spirits Awards and the Chinese and Mexican Academy Awards for best international film. In 2020, it was acquired by Netflix.

Cecilia Tham
Co-founder + CEO at Futurity Systems;
PhD Researcher, IIT-Institute of Design

With decades of experience working in the intersection of entrepreneurship, technology, science and design, Cecilia is currently founder and CEO of Futurity Systems, providing futures-as-a-service to help companies and organizations to build better futures faster, together. Cecilia is currently a PhD candidate at Illinois Institute of Technology on her thesis in Design Futures.

Cecilia Tham is a Harvard-trained designer, formerly a Social Technologist at Alpha Telefonica, Europe’s first moonshot factory, and a serial entrepreneur, founded multiple companies such as Makers of Barcelona, FabCafe and She served as advisor to UN World Food Program X, SXSW, and previously for the City Government of Barcelona as well as other private companies. Futurity Systems is the official Moonshot Factory Specialist providing services to the Secretary of State of Spain in the Department of AI.

Cecilia is the winner of AWS Global Disruptor Award 2022, WEDO Women Pioneer Award 2022, and have been selected as Forbes Top 40 Futurists 2022, 100 Most Influential Women Europe and 100 Women of the Future . Futurity Systems has won Fast Company Innovation by Design Award 2022 as well as the gold Lovie Award 2022.

About the Series*:

As a part of the Aux Board led ‘Community-led, Design-Followed’ speaker series, this discussion will highlight the ‘future of design’ and the responsibility of Design/Designers: discussing why the future of design should be embedded in a ‘community-led, design-followed’ action.

*The Design Museum will be between exhibitions at this time, please pardon our dust and enjoy a behind-the-scenes moment of transition.