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Design Stories: Taking a concept to production

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Our moderated roundtable explores the similarities and differences between designing tangible/digital products in contemporary practice.

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When the industrial design profession emerged as a result of the industrial revolution in the early 19th century, it was initially focused on mass-produced consumer products. Over time, as products have evolved to become more than simple physical entities, the profession has evolved as well. Today industrial designers are involved in the creation of systems that include not only products, but also their services, interactions and experiences.

Our roundtable consists of four panelists who represent various aspects of contemporary industrial design practice from consumer products, experience & interaction design, systems and services design as well as emerging technologies.

Each panelist will present a Pecha-kucha style slideshow that tells the story of a design project, providing the attendees with an insight into the processes and steps that led to the final product.

The presentations will be followed by a moderated roundtable discussion that will centre around the similarities and differences that exist between designing tangible/digital products, systems and experiences. There will also be an opportunity for audience members to submit questions for the panelists.

Our distinguished panelists are:


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John Arnott. ACID, IDSA

John Arnott is an experienced Industrial Designer with many years of executive and entrepreneurial activity to support his enthusiasm for the creation of customer delight. John is the current President of Canada’s professional industrial design association, ACID, a long time member of IDSA, and is well recognized for his strategic leadership skills, domestically and internationally. John and his team helped create the Statim range of dental sterilisers providing – for the first time in the world – dental patients and staff with sterilised instruments at every sitting. This extraordinary life-saving innovation has also generated over $500M in new revenue!

The ADG team also created the Noma Sno-Racer which has been in production by four different manufacturers for more than thirty years. There are clubs that organize races almost on a cult basis, and kids of all ages continue to find delight and exhilaration in it’s simple purposefulness. The team has developed over 250 products and systems from simple plastic household goods to a very complex experimental Air Traffic Control System for Transport Canada.

John now concentrates his efforts on helping companies develop strategies for customer delight, environmental responsibility, and economic success.


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Dr. Mark Chignell

Dr. Chignell has a Ph.D in mathematical psychology (University of Canterbury, 1981) and a Masters in Industrial and Systems Engineering (Ohio State, 1984). He was an Assistant Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California from 1984 to 1990. He joined the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Toronto as an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering in 1990 and is currently a Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, with a status-only appointment in the Department of Computer Science. From 2013-2017 he was Director of the Knowledge Media Design Institute, and BUL Chair in Human-Computer Interaction. He is the director of the Interactive Media Lab and the founder of Centivizer Inc., a University of Toronto spinoff company. He carries out research in human factors and user interface design, with particular interest in aging, interactive machine learning, and healthcare.


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Dr. Dennis L. Kappen

Dr. Kappen is a Professor in the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology at Humber College, where he teaches user experience design and human-centred innovation techniques within the realm of product design and technology applications in the Bachelor of Industrial Design program. He has been involved in the applications of Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed-Reality (MR) systems for multi-modal interactions in automotive applications and, health and wellness domains. Dr. Kappen has more than 25 years of hard-core product design and development experience in various fields including emerging technology, consumer products, kiosks, internet technology devices, medical products, wearable technology products and handheld electronic devices. He is a keen researcher in the domain of game science, persuasive technology, gamification, assistive technology and interaction modalities. He was the co-recipient of the Humber College President’s Award for Excellence in Research (2019) and the co-recipient of the President’s Extra Mile Award (2020).


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Nicole Norris, MDes (pronouns she/they)

Nicole is the Manager of the Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation at Georgian College - Canada's first and currently only Ashoka Changemaker College - in Canada. Nicole works alongside a team of talented Changemakers to inspire and equip students, faculty and community organizations with the tools and design frameworks they might need to collaborate on new forms flourishing-inspired social impact.

Nicole received both her undergrad in Environmental Design and her Masters in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University. Her research focuses on co-design tools for work with the Flourishing Enterprise Canvas and is an active member of the Flourishing Enterprise Toolkit First Explorer Community.

Before shifting into academia, Nicole worked as Product Designer and User Experience Designer for 20 years, running her own agencies that supported various clients bridging the divide from product to service or platform business models.

The common theme that drives her work and research is the belief that the tools we use to design our future with, matter.


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This roundtable will be moderated by:

Sayeh Dastgheib-Beheshti, IDSA

Sayeh is the chair of IDSA - Toronto chapter as well as the founder and principal of SAYEH.ca since 2002, providing design and consultation services on a diverse range of products. Her previous industry experience includes automotive interiors, aerospace interiors, and consumer products.

With over 15 years of teaching experience in higher education, her research interest is focused on sustainability. She explores the intersection of product design, systems thinking, and ecological economics to create critical pedagogy for design education.

Sayeh holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Art Centre College of Design in Switzerland and a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University in Canada. In addition to her IDSA professional membership, she is a member of the Sustainable Consumption Research Action Initiative (SCORAI) and Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE).

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