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of desiGn

The way we [will] work

November 1, 2017
6:00-8:00pm CST
TEAMS Design
1812 West Hubbard Street #200
Chicago, IL 60622

The work we do is changing. So, too, are work environments. A growing liquid workforce ebbs and flows when need recedes and rises. People who thrive in the new economy are continuously learning self-starters with fuzzy titles to match their adaptability. The office is the living room, coffee shop, and CTA platform, and our newest colleague is Watson.

IDSA Chicago and IIT Institute of Design are bringing together a group of educators and practitioners to turn a critical eye to the new tensions emerging around work. Our panelists will discuss this new context for design of the products we use and the systems we inhabit in our workplace. What cultural values are shaping the workplace? What are the new obligations of the organizations that we work with and for? What does it mean to be adaptiveto have a flexing workspace that empowers the people who use it? What does it mean when we ‘design the systems’ in which work happens vs. designing and arranging the artifacts?


Yared Akalou, founder of Alcove Group
Yared Akalou, founder of Alcove Group, a product development company augmenting the way people work in the digital age is a seasoned entrepreneur with a background deeply rooted in user experience design. Yared is regularly invited to speak on various guest panels and lecture on the role design thinking (and doing) can play to continually innovate in today's digital economy. He is a recurring guest host on Breakthrough Radio, a live online radio show, where he shares the latest trends and forces shaping the Future of Workforce. Yared is an advisor, mentor, and educator where continual learning and sharing is integral to his life’s work.

Kevin Budelmann, President of Peopledesign
Kevin Budelmann is president of Peopledesign, a design innovation firm. A strategic partner to a variety of organizations, Peopledesign works with many organizations including manufacturing, services, healthcare, education, and consumer products. Kevin is interested in design theory and practice in the context of business, technology, and society. He holds BA in design from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Design Methods from IIT Institute of Design. Kevin is also a Director for IxDA and an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.  His book, Brand Identity Essentials, is available six languages.

Liz Gerber, Founder of Design for America, Design Professor at Northwestern University
Social technologies are changing who, when, and how people work together, yet our understanding of how to design effective organizations and support technologies is limited. Liz works day after day with her colleagues and students at Design for America and Northwestern University to close the gap. She has been invited to speak nationally and internationally at non-profit and for-profit institutions, including Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, MIT, and Stanford. Her work has been featured in such venues as Wall Street Journal, NPR, ABC, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company.

Jan Johnson, FIIDA, VP Design and Workplace Resources at Allsteel
Jan has spent her career strengthening the correlations between business strategies and the planning, design and management of workplaces. She is a highly respected workplace strategist; leads Allsteel’s Workplace Advisory team; and frequently writes, speaks and teaches. Jan and her team share research, experience and perspectives on how trends - like social change and technology - are playing out in the workplace. They help customers evaluate these trends through the lens of each organization’s unique culture, goals, and objectives to determine what’s most relevant and applicable to them.


Paul Hatch is CEO of the Chicago branch of industrial design and user experience firm TEAMS Design. TEAMS Design has five branches and has been awarded over 1000 design awards.  He is also co-founder of Design House, a nonprofit with a mission to help revitalize local manufacture. Paul is co-author of two books about the impact of design and technology on business. He is also known for founding and running an extreme debate event called Fight Club, which the New York Times called "A Designer Slugfest."