Leadership by Design: Creating a Point of View

In a way, the space where we live is an exhibition, a curation of an exact moment in time. As humans, we are constantly assessing the world around us and arranging it to fit our values. But, what factors influence our sense of taste and point of view? What makes something desirable? What methods do designers and leaders apply to contextualize products, information, and experiences people love?

In this episode, Gautam Mukunda speaks with the Head of the Design Lab at Harvard, Dr. Beth Altringer, and the Chair, Art for Europe at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Dr. Frederick Ilchman about the relationship between design and technology, and how shaping taste is a powerful way to lead.

Curating properly means to care for something, to preserve it. It’s a rather beautiful calling. You are trying to save the best of the past for the present so we can understand what our future is going to be.

Dr. Frederick Ilchman

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Books Referenced:

Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944, by Antony Beevor

Stalingrad, by Antony Beevor

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry, by Leanne Shapton

Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs, by Karen Page, Andrew Dornenburg

The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, by Jesse Schell

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, by Caroline Criado-Perez

Guest Info:

Dr. Frederick Ilchman is an art historian and museum curator. He specializes in Italian Renaissance painting, particularly that of Venice. He’s chair of Art of Europe for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His acclaimed exhibition, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice (2009), organized with the Musée du Louvre, won several awards. Eager to enlist supporters for his favorite city, he is also the Chairman of Save Venice, the largest non-profit organization specifically devoted to preserving the art and architecture of Venice.

Dr. Beth Ames Altringer is an award-winning designer and runs the Design Lab at Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In 2016, The Harvard Crimson recognized her as one of the university’s top 15 professors. Altringer founded the Desirability Lab, which has helped teams at companies like IDEO, Gucci, Puma, IKEA, Disney, Piaggio, Swarovski, and Uber to create more desirable products and services based on behavioral research. When she’s not teaching, Altringer is usually in her studio working with flavor data or making art. She built the iOS app, Chef League, an interactive game that lets you learn flavor intuition from chefs, created flavor research software called the Flavor Genome Project, paints for fun, and is a former champion blind taster.