Speakers, Bios, Abstracts, Videos

Todd P. Coleman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of California-San Diego (UCSD)
Director, Neural Interaction Laboratory, UCSD
Codirector, Center for Perinatal Health, UCSD

Speaker Bio

Dr. Todd P. Coleman is an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of California-San Diego, where he directs the Neural Interaction Laboratory and codirects the Center for Perinatal Health. His research is highly interdisciplinary, lying at the intersection of bioelectronics, medicine, and machine learning. He is conducting research in digital health by wedding his research group’s expertise in large-scale analytics with its recent development of “epidermal electronics,” featured in Science in 2011.

Coleman has been named a 2015 Gilbreth Lecturer by the National Academy of Engineering and a speaker at TEDMED 2015, an independent health and medicine edition of the world-famous TED conference. He is a science advisor for the National Academy of Sciences’ Science & Entertainment Exchange, and his research has been featured on CNN, BBC, and in The New York Times.

He received B.S. degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering (both summa cum laude) from the University of Michigan. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT in electrical engineering. He also conducted postdoctoral studies at MIT in neuroscience.

Abstract — Why Digital Health Technologies and Analytics Are Not Enough: Building Community to Foster Healthier Lifestyles


Technology brings great promise to underserved communities. However, the challenges of implementation cannot be met solely by new devices and analytics. An interdisciplinary approach must be designed and developed to address the sociopolitical barriers to making a difference in all kinds of communities, especially the underserved.

This presentation will outline the progress made in developing thin, flexible, wearable sensors and uncertainty quantification algorithms that transform data into information. It will also focus on arguably the biggest challenge and opportunity in the field: developing a sustainable framework to wed these technologies and methods with ways to build community relationships and facilitate lifestyle modification. Recent efforts include partnering with the private sector, nonprofit institutions, faith-based organizations, and other trusted community groups with particular emphasis placed on traditionally underserved communities where the potential benefit to patients, providers, and payers is enormous. Clinical examples will be provided within the context of perinatal health and chronic disease, both of which are fertile territories for innovation. This presentation will also emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of the work, which involves research from engineering, statistics, medicine, public health, and psychology.

Steve EppingerSteven D. Eppinger, Sc.D.
Professor of Management Science and Innovation, MIT
General Motors Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management, MIT
Codirector, System Design & Management and Integrated Design & Management, MIT

Speaker Bio

Steven D. Eppinger is a professor of management science at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and he holds the General Motors Leaders for Global Operations chair. He is currently the faculty codirector of both MIT System Design & Management and its Integrated Design & Management track.

Eppinger teaches courses in product design and innovation, engineering project management, and product management. Notably, he has created an interdisciplinary product development course in which graduate students from engineering, management, and industrial design programs collaborate to develop new products. He has co-authored a leading textbook, Product Design and Development (McGraw-Hill, 2016), currently in its sixth edition.

A highly recognized scholar in the area of product development and technical project management, Eppinger focuses his research on improving complex design processes to accelerate industrial practices. He is a pioneer in developing the design structure matrix, a widely used method for managing complex system projects. He has authored more than 70 articles in refereed academic journals and conferences. He is also the co-author of Design Structure Matrix Methods and Applications (MIT Press, 2012).

Eppinger received S.B., S.M., and Sc.D. degrees from MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering before joining the MIT faculty in 1988. He has received many awards and honors, including MIT’s Graduate Student Council Teaching Award, the MIT Sloan School’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Management Education, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Best Paper Award in Design Theory and Methodology (twice), and the Technology, Innovation Management, and Entrepreneurship Distinguished Speaker Award from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. He has also received the Medal of Excellence Award from the Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), the Wickham Skinner Best Paper Award, and the College of Product Innovation and Technology Management Distinguished Fellow Award from the Production and Operations Management Society.

In addition to several private corporate advisory positions, Eppinger serves on the Advisory Board of the Design Society, on the Research Advisory Council of the Design Management Institute, on the Advisory Board of the Directors of Society of Concurrent Product Development, and on the PICMET Advisory Council.

Abstract — Improving Decisions in Complex System Development Using Technology Readiness Levels


How do you know when a new technology is mature enough to be built into your new product or system? What if several of the key technologies are at different levels of maturity? How do you prepare for system integration and testing? What exactly are you monitoring, and are your efforts going to maximize success?

Over 40 years ago, NASA introduced the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale as a tool for evaluating the maturity of technologies during the development of complex systems. This scale has since been used to assess and oversee technology readiness and deployment, to manage and mitigate risk, and to make multimillion-dollar technology management decisions across industries—from NASA missions to advanced power systems to consumer electronics.

In this interactive presentation, world-renowned expert Professor Steven D. Eppinger will:

  • provide a brief overview of the TRL scale as used in several industries;
  • outline how low levels of technology readiness have cost development time and money for a wide portfolio of US Department of Defense programs;
  • describe areas of concern regarding TRL-related practices (specifically system complexity; planning and review; and validity of assessment);
  • discuss challenges and opportunities for organizations and individuals; and
  • invite audience members to work through sample design challenges in real time, using the concepts he has presented.

The aim of this presentation is to provide practical insights that attendees can apply to business challenges as soon as they return to work.

Pat Hale, MIT SDM staffPat Hale
Executive Director of System Design & Management and Senior Lecturer, MIT

Speaker Bio

Pat Hale joined MIT in 2003, following a 22-year career in the US Navy. Since that time, he has led the MIT Graduate Certificate Program in Systems and Product Development, a one-year graduate certificate program that is part of the MIT System Design & Management (SDM) program, and he is currently SDM’s executive director. His professional interests include the application of systems engineering to commercial product development, complex naval system design, and engineering process frameworks and methods.

While in the Navy, Hale qualified in both the Surface Warfare and Submarine Warfare (Engineering Duty) communities, and he managed the design and construction of submarines in Groton, CT. Hale later held executive-level systems engineering positions in defense and commercial system and product development organizations, including as director of systems engineering at both Draper Laboratory and Otis Elevator Co., where he developed and implemented Otis’ first systems engineering process and organization.

Hale is a past president of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE); he has been an INCOSE member since 1994 and has served on its board of directors for 11 years. He has published papers in the area of commercial systems engineering in the conference proceedings of both INCOSE and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Hale holds a B.S. in geophysical oceanography from the University of Washington, as well as the degrees of Ocean Engineer and S.M. in naval architecture and marine engineering from MIT.

Abstract — Concept Generation


Matt Harper
Cofounder and Chief Product Officer, Avalon Battery; SDM Alumnus

Speaker Bio

The cofounder and chief product officer of Avalon Battery, Matt Harper is a clean-tech entrepreneur and product developer whose expertise lies in using advanced technologies to develop revolutionary industrial and commercial products. Harper’s holistic approach to industrial technology development balances technical and operations needs with commercial, organizational, and operational life-cycle characteristics.

Harper’s career spans electrical energy storage, wastewater treatment, hydrogen generation, and fuel cell vehicles. He began two decades ago as a member of the team that designed and built the world’s first fleet of fuel cell–powered transit buses, which were put into service with the Chicago Transit Authority and BC Transit of Canada. Harper went on to play key roles in a variety of projects related to clean and renewable technologies, including leading the development, installation, and commissioning of the world’s first fully integrated hydrogen generation and vehicle fueling station. He was also responsible for designing, delivering, and operating more than two dozen commercial flow battery systems between 2005 and 2013.

At Avalon Battery, Harper is responsible for designing and delivering energy storage solutions that promote a future electric power industry that is both economically and ecologically sustainable. He is a licensed professional engineer who holds several patents related to industrial technologies. As an SDM alumnus, he earned his master’s degree in engineering and management from MIT.

Abstract — Conceptualizing and Executing Product Design in an Emerging Market


The literature and practice of product development teaches us that bringing new products to market requires businesses to identify unmet user needs, conceive a product that can address that gap, and establish an organization that can deliver that product. However, in an emerging or rapidly evolving market, characteristics outside of the firm (the user and the market) will often evolve significantly between the development of the product concept and product delivery. How can we design products and organizations that anticipate, or even take advantage of, this rate of change?

This presentation will address how to approach this problem using the example of Avalon Battery, with an emphasis on revealing strategies that can be implemented across a variety of industries to ensure that groundbreaking products can evolve with, rather than away from, their intended customers.

Matthew S. Kressy
Director of Integrated Design & Management and Senior Lecturer, MIT
Founder, Designturn

Speaker Bio

Matthew S. Kressy, director of the MIT Integrated Design & Management (IDM) master’s degree track, is an expert in product design and development. His extensive experience includes globally distributed, interdisciplinary, design-driven product development ranging from deep user research and concept generation to prototype iteration, risk reduction, and volume manufacturing. An entrepreneur and founder of Designturn, he has designed, invented, engineered, and manufactured more than 100 products for Fortune 500 clients and others, including Kronos, Massachusetts General Hospital, American Power Conversion, the US Army, and Teradyne Corporation.

Since 1999, Kressy has co-taught courses in product design and development at the MIT Sloan School of Management and at other top design and business schools, including the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Harvard Business School.

As IDM director, Kressy leads curriculum development and teaches the track’s primary and required courses. He holds a B.F.A. in industrial design from RISD.

Abstract — MIT IDM—Prototyping and Strategy


Engineers and designers use prototypes to explore and solve problems. This back-to-the-classroom session will provide an overview of prototyping strategy. It will begin with a description of the various processes and their respective results. Guidance will be provided about when each approach should be used in the overall process.

To demonstrate the highs and lows of the prototyping process, attendees will learn the true story of inventing a product for a “difficult” Wall Street client who arrived with patent in hand. Attendees will be asked to participate in this prototyping adventure by considering such questions as: What scares you the most? What would you do? How would you make this? and What changes would you make?

Through observing how each prototype is created, then cannibalized for parts and reconfigured, attendees will learn firsthand that while a beautiful finished prototype is important, prototypes are most valuable for experimenting and learning.

Shaun Modi
Cofounder, TM

Speaker Bio

Shaun Modi is an award-winning designer and a cofounder of TM, a design firm specializing in product design for early stage, venture-backed, technology startups. His firm works on design challenges in a wide variety of industries including electric vehicles, data infrastructure, marketing personalization, and social and online marketplaces.

In 2013, Modi was ranked one of the top 75 designers in technology by Business Insider. His work has been covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Forbes, and Fast Company, among other publications.

Modi previously served as lead designer at the vacation rental website Airbnb, where he directed the development of Wish Lists, a massive platform overhaul that has increased engagement with the Airbnb website by 30 percent. Before joining Airbnb, Modi worked at Google, where he led the design of Google+ and contributed to the look and feel of Maps and Chrome. He also served on a skunkworks team to develop personalization and social connectivity across the vast array of Google products.

Early in his career, Modi worked with the Habitability Design Group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and on a project funded by the NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts. He was on a team that envisioned the design of a lunar base and accompanying vehicles for a mission back to the moon slated for 2020.

Modi has a degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he served as the student commencement speaker in 2007, sharing the stage with Seth Macfarlane and Gore Vidal. Examples of his work can be found at www.shaunmodi.com.

Abstract — How to Make (and Not Make) Something People Want


Beautiful digital products created by tech startups are in use every day around the globe in almost every industry. Yet, few people get to peek behind the curtain to see how such world-changing product ideas are developed. This presentation will provide an inside look at the product design process at some of Silicon Valley’s most exciting new startups in consumer web, travel, housing, transportation, and more.

Joan Rubin, MIT SDM staffJoan S. Rubin
Industry Codirector, System Design & Management, MIT

Speaker Bio

Joan S. Rubin joined MIT in 2011 to lead industry relations efforts for the System Design & Management (SDM) program; she is currently SDM’s industry codirector and is focused on integrating real-world challenges into the SDM curriculum through projects, thesis work, student internships and recruiting. Her professional interests include increasing the application of systems engineering to nontraditional industries.

Rubin brought to SDM 17 years of business development, marketing, market development, and strategic planning experience in the field of medical devices. She came to MIT from Covidien, a leading manufacturer of medical devices and supplies, where she served as vice president of business development.

Previously, Rubin was with Aspect Medical Systems, having joined the company in its startup phase several years before its November 2009 acquisition by Covidien. At Aspect, she held various leadership roles in business development, global partnerships, marketing, and market development.

As a graduate of MIT’s Leaders for Global Operations, Rubin earned an S.M. in management and an S.M. in mechanical engineering from MIT. She holds an Sc.B. in mechanical engineering from Brown University.

maria yangMaria C. Yang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

Speaker Bio

Maria Yang, Ph.D., is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. Her research centers on the preliminary phases of the process of designing both products and complex engineering systems, with a particular focus on the role of design representations. She is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and has received several honors, including the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program award, the American Society for Engineering Education’s Merryfield Design Award, an ASME Design Theory and Methodology Best Paper Award, the MIT Spira Teaching Award, the MIT MacDonald Award, and the MIT Murman Undergraduate Advising Award. She earned her S.B. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Yang previously served as director of design at Reactivity, a Silicon Valley startup now a part of Cisco Systems. She has conducted research into collaborative design tools at Apple and Lockheed Martin and worked on user interaction issues at Immersion Corp.

Abstract — Driving Early Stage Design Through Design Processes

Video and slides unavailable.

Product design and engineering are concerned with the creation of artifacts, from consumer products to complex, large-scale engineering systems. The impact of the very earliest stages of design on the final outcome of such artifacts is considerable, but the ambiguous nature of the process makes it difficult to model and evaluate, presenting a fundamental challenge in design research. This talk will focus on the key role of design representations in driving the early stages of the design process, including how the timing, type, and quantity of representations such as sketches, physical prototypes, and other models can create a greater likelihood of design success. Such an approach provides an innovative means to assess both the design process and the behavior of the designer. This presentation will also present research on the challenges of early stage design in the development of complex engineering systems, particularly in the integration of subsystems. In addition, attendees will learn about design education and plans for future work in early stage design.

Neal Yanofsky
Chairman, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Board Member and Senior Advisor, Snap Kitchen

Speaker Bio

Neal Yanofsky is a board member and advisor at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and Snap Kitchen; both are portfolio companies of private equity firm Catterton Partners. He also serves on the boards of three venture-backed companies and on the advisory board of activist hedge fund Voce Capital.

Yanofsky has worked in a variety of industries, developing strategies and building teams that drive the expansion of high-growth enterprises. Previously in the restaurant industry, Yanofsky served as president, international of Dunkin’ Brands where he was responsible for all of the firm’s operations outside the United States, comprising 7,000 Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins locations in more than 50 countries. He also previously served as president of Panera Bread, a leader in the “quick casual” segment of the restaurant industry. During his tenure there, Panera’s system-wide sales tripled to over $2.5 billion, and the company’s stock generated the highest compounded annual growth in the industry.

In addition, Yanofsky spent 10 years at Fidelity Investments. As vice president of Fidelity Ventures he was responsible for restarting Fidelity’s venture capital program, forming and managing a group investing predominantly in early stage healthcare technology companies and producing returns almost double the industry average.

In the retail industry, Yanofsky was CEO of Generation Mobile, a venture-backed firm that was the largest independent multibrand retailer of wireless products and services. Earlier in his career, he served as vice president, market development for Charrette Corporation, and as chief marketing officer for Au Bon Pain.

A former adjunct faculty member at Simmons School of Management and a former faculty member at Radcliffe Seminars, Yanofsky is a regular guest lecturer at universities including MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Boston University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of New Hampshire.

Yanofsky received his A.B. and M.B.A. from Harvard University, and he completed a post-graduate fellowship at the London School of Economics. He serves on the board of the West End House and is a member of the Harvard Art Museum Collections Committee.

Abstract Can Managers Contribute to Design that Creates Competitive Advantage?


Everyone loves outstanding design, but how can it be used as a business tool that provides more than fleeting benefits? And how can left-brained managers effectively support and develop the work of right-brained designers? This keynote address will explore the benefits—and challenges—of elevating design to a strategic tool.