Kathleen Brandenburg

Design Critic in Architecture, GSD; Co-founder of IA Collaborative

Kathleen Brandenburg is a leading figure in the field of human-centered design strategy, an approach that puts the needs of people at the center of every solution. In 2000, she co-founded the global design innovation consultancy IA Collaborative to bring design process and methods to a wide range of industries and sectors, regardless of complexity or scale, and often those traditionally not associated with design. This includes developing new systems to improve the safety and effectiveness of surgical teams, shaping how one of India’s largest conglomerates builds organizational purpose and synergy, and combating the Ebola epidemic through innovative solutions leveraging sustainable resources on the ground. Applied to society’s greatest challenges, Kathleen believes that a design approach — always human-centered, generative, and systemic — can be world-changing.

Recently nominated as Visionary of the Year by The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt, Kathleen has also been recognized as a Master of Design and one of the 50 Most Influential Designers in America by Fast Company. She speaks widely on the value of design, presenting as a main stage speaker at The Mayo Clinic’s Transform Conference, and keynoting the IDSA International Design Conference. Kathleen serves as an Illinois Tech Trustee, and Board Member of the Institute of Design, and lectures at top universities, including Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business, and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School for Public Health. As a Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow, Kathleen champions the critical role design plays in our lives – and the powerful impact a design approach can have on solving the world’s most complex challenges.

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