Skip to Main Content
of desiGn

In the Loop Panel: What Design Can Learn from Failure

October 14, 2013
6:00-8:00pm CST
IIT Institute of Design, 6th floor
350 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654

In the business world, mantras around the value of failure such as “failing often” and “failing fast” are frequently repeated as a recipe for success for tech entrepreneurs. In recent years, we have encountered notions of failure embedded in complex systems in a wide variety of other contexts as well – from the algorithmic failures of financial markets to the failure of our Congress to govern and from the organizational failures of our news media to the failure of efforts to stop the catastrophic impact of climate change. But, what does failure mean in the realm of design and innovation where so much of success is dependent on the experiences and participation of people? This panel will reflect on the ways in which failure in the creation of products, services and systems can inspire new methods for designers. 


6pm  Refreshments
6:30pm Panelist Presentations
7pm Comments from panelists and Q&A

About the panalists

Victor LombardiVictor Lombardi is an award-winning product designer, contributing to over 40 Internet projects since 1994. His writing has appeared in several publications, including Fast Company and Interactions, on topics ranging from generating concepts for new products to website evolution over time. 

The author of the book Why We Fail: Learning from Experience Design Failures, Victor spent the past three years researching websites and consumer electronics that were successfully launched and hailed as great designs but failed unexpectedly when people used them, such as Google Wave, Pownce, and Microsoft's Zune.

Victor earned a master's degree in music technology from New York University and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers University. He co-founded the Information Architecture Institute and the annual Overlap conference, and he has taught design at the Parsons School of Design and the Pratt Institute.

Reva MinkoffReva Minkoff is the founder and president of DigitalGroundUp Inc. and Digital4Startups Inc. This past year, within the first six months of its founding, DigitalGroundUp won second place at Chicago Booth's SeedCon competition and was named a finalist in the Chicago Interactive Media Association's Digital Startup Initiative. Last year, Reva was named the Founder Institute's Female Founder Fellow, a distinction awarded to the most promising female applicant to the Founder Institute, a program from which Reva graduated in September. She has recently been on WBEZ and had a piece published in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Reva got her start in marketing through an internship designing collateral for USAToday while still in high school and in digital marketing through an internship with Google while in college. After graduating from Harvard University with honors in government, Reva moved to Chicago. Prior to founding DigitalGroundUp and Digital4Startups, Reva was the director of marketing for Poggled, a startup offering nightlife deals in five markets. While at Poggled, Reva was invited to the White House to live tweet the arrival ceremony of the new British Prime Minister. Before coming to Poggled, Reva was an advertising strategist at Resolution Media. While there, she worked on clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Clear Wireless, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, running the day-to-day search operations for HP's commercial printing account. She was also a senior marketing analyst for Reverse Mortgage Guides and a business analyst at Sears Holdings Corporation. 

In addition to her business efforts, Reva is currently a board member of the Harvard Alumni Association, where she sits on the engagement and marketing and the building communities committees. She is a director of the Harvard Club of Chicago.

Patrick WhitneyPatrick Whitney, dean of the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Steelcase/Robert C. Pew Professor of Design has published and lectured throughout the world about ways of making technological innovations more humane, the link between design and business strategy, and methods of designing interactive communications and products. BusinessWeek has profiled Whitney as a “design visionary” for bringing together design and business, Forbes named him as one of six members of the “E-Gang” for his work in human-centered design, Fast Company has identified him as a “master of design” for linking the creation of user value and economic value, and Global Entrepreneur named him one of the 25 people world-wide doing the most to bring new ideas to business in China. 


About the moderator

Laura ForlanoLaura Forlano is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Design at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology and a Visiting Scholar in the Comparative Media Studies program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research is on emergent forms of organizing and urbanism enabled by mobile, wireless and ubiquitous computing technologies with an emphasis on the socio-technical practices and spaces of innovation. She is co-editor with Marcus Foth, Christine Satchell and Martin Gibbs of From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement, which was published by MIT Press in 2011. Forlano’s research and writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals including The Information Society, Journal of Community Informatics, IEEE Pervasive Computing, Design Issues, and Science and Public Policy. She has published chapters for books including editor Mark Shepard’s Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space (MIT Press 2011) and The Architecture League of New York’s Situated Technologies pamphlet series and is a regular contributor to their Urban Omnibus blog.