Want to join the teaching team for ES21 in 2013? Email: bethalt[at]seas.harvard.edu
Course Founder and Professor:
Dr. Beth Altringer is a psychologist in the areas of innovation, creative collaboration, and human-centered design, with a masters degree in architecture. She worked with social psychologist and prosocial influence expert, Prof Robert Cialdini, early in her career, and later began applying her interests in behavior to areas of design, innovation and sustainability. During her PhD, she researched design teams at IDEO and J. Walter Thompson across six continents and 11 countries, looking at cultural, organizational and disciplinary differences in small group creativity, and ultimately developing a model explaining creative performance differences across teams.
Beth’s research focuses one main question: what factors differentiate more (and less) successful innovation projects? She has worked with hundreds of teams across a range of multinational companies and educational institutions, using both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore this question, and is interested in practical ways that we can support more teams to succeed more often.
Dr. Altringer created ES21: The Innovator’s Practice in Fall 2011. In Spring 2012 Beth co-teaches, with Prof. David Edwards, ES20: How to Create Things and Have Them Matter. In 2010, she created the Team Design Studio at the Lab at Harvard, which builds experiential learning design modules and research projects on team innovation.
A former Fulbright Scholar, Beth’s previous experience includes teaching and research on creative team dynamics at Judge Business School (University of Cambridge) and at the Stanford Institute of Design (D-School), as well as experience on innovation and sustainability-related initiatives for the PPR Group, Gucci Group and Puma (she was a core team member of the concept phase of PPR Home, which created a creative Sustainability Lab to re-think and re-consider product and business development; offset of global CO2 emissions; initial steps by PUMA towards first-ever Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) account statement; and an annual €10 million budget indexed to dividend evolution); UK health policy; the City of Cape Town and ARG Design; and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Beth is also a research fellow in the Fostering Creativity unit of the MIT-Singapore International Design Center, and serves as Senior Advisor to Artscience Labs in Innovation Education.
2012 Teaching Fellows:
Mr. Christian Ervin is currently an MDesS Technology student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He previously studied at Rice University, where he received a B.Arch, and worked for several years in design and architecture. He is currently a Research Assistant for the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab at the GSD, on a team developing novel applications for millifluidic technologies in collaboration with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and is also a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he mentors students in design innovation in ES21: The Innovators’ Practice.
Ms. Smitha Ramakrishna is a senior concentrating in Environmental Science and Public Policy. She has interests ranging from science research to Native American rights to social entrepreneurship. At Harvard, she has co-founded the Social Innovation Collaborative (SIC) – the College’s premier social enterprise organization – and the Harvard US-India Initiative. While not in class or at meetings, Smitha can usually be found at the dance studio or exploring Boston. She is thrilled to be a Teaching Fellow for ES21 and looks forward to meeting you in the Fall!
2011 Teaching Fellows:
Ms. Darcie Dieman is a senior studying Psychology on the Social and Cognitive Neuroscience Track and enjoys exploring product design, with a special focus on toys. After working as a research assistant at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies and the MIT Media Lab, as well as serving as a Student Fellow at the Idea Translation Lab in Cape Town and The Lab @ Harvard, she is very excited to serve as a Teaching Fellow for ES21. She is also a member of CONcept ARTists, a Boston-based hip-hop dance crew recently crowned World of Dance Boston Champions. Other hobbies include photography, painting, and travel.
Ms. Wenyi Dai – When not working in lab, Wenyi is either a diligent Teaching Fellow explaining the beauty of Chemistry/LPSA/ Statistics to eager students or collaborating with HBS minds on current research connecting creativity with white matter tracts. Another project of interest to her is creativity’s influence on decision making in China and how that relates to China’s organizational behavior and management process. After working as a student fellow in The Lab@Harvard, she is thrilled to serve as a teaching fellow for ES21. When not running back and forth between campuses, Wenyi likes to delve in the creation of abstract ideas on canvases riddled with texture and mixed media.