RSD4 Keynotes

RSD4 hosted 5 keynote speakers 

  • Mugendi M’Rithaa, Cape Peninsula University of Technology. South Africa
  • Don Norman, University California, San Diego, US
  • Lia Patrício, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Ann Pendleton-Jullian, The Ohio State University and Georgetown University, US
  • Ursula Tischner, Agency for Sustainable Design, Cologne, Germany

Mugendi M’Rithaa
Renewing Africa’s quest for sustainable energy: A systemic design perspective



Prof. Mugendi K. M’Rithaa is an industrial designer, educator and researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He studied in Kenya, the USA, India and South Africa and holds postgraduate qualifications in Industrial Design, Higher Education, and Universal Design. He has taught in Kenya, Botswana and South Africa and is passionate about various expressions of socially (responsive and) responsible design, including Participatory Design; Universal Design; and Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability.

Mugendi has a special interest in the pivotal role of design in advancing the developmental agenda on the African continent. He is associated with a number of international networks focusing on design within industrially developing (or majority world contexts). Mugendi is also the President-Elect of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) and much of his work focuses on the importance of Icsid in supporting the aspirations of younger designers.”

Don Norman
Can human-centered design help with complex sociotechnical systems?
Questions and speculation–it’s too soon for answers.

Don Norman is Director of the recently established Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego where he is also professor emeritus of both psychology and cognitive science. He is cofounder of the Nielsen Norman Group, an IDEO fellow, Trustee of IIT’s Institute of Design (Chicago), and former Vice President of Apple. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is professor emeritus of computer science and design at Northwestern University. He has been Distinguished Visiting Professor of Industrial Design at Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST).


Don Norman is a leader in the application of human-centered design. Business Week has listed him as one of the world’s 27 most influential designers. “All design,” says Norman, “whether of a product, a company, a service or an experience is ultimately aimed at satisfying human and societal needs.” This approach requires the application of knowledge of cognitive science, engineering, and business with the skills and knowledge of the design field, helping companies produce products and services that satisfy human and societal needs, both practical and emotional.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of many organizations, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer & Cognitive Science from the Franklin Institute (Philadelphia), honorary degrees from the University of Padova (Italy) and the Technical University of Delft (the Netherlands), the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from SIGCHI, the professional organization for Computer-Human Interaction, the Mental Health award for contributions to Business from Psychology Today, and the Taylor Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology from the American Psychological Association.

Don was awarded the Benjamin Franklin medal in Computer and Cognitive Science, has honorary degrees from the University of Padua (Italy) and the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) and is an honorary professor of Design and Innovation at Tongji University in Shanghai. His books include Emotional Design, and Living with Complexity, and most recently an expanded and revised edition of Design of Everyday Things. He can be found at

Ann Pendleton-Jullian
Designing for Emergence. Working on radically contingent problems in a white water world

Ann Pendleton-Jullian is an architect, writer, and educator whose work explores the interchange between culture, environment, and technology.

ApJ is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor of Design at Georgetown University and Professor at Ohio State University where she served as Director of the Knowlton School of Architecture from 2007-2012. Prior to OSU, she was a tenured Professor at MIT for fourteen years where she also practiced with her late husband, Guillaume Jullian de la Fuente who served as Le Corbusier’s chef d’Atelier for the last seven years of L-C’s life. She is also a core member of a cross-disciplinary network of global leaders established by the Secretary of Defense to examine questions of emerging interest, and a member of the International Advisory Panel for Singapore’s Redevelopment Authority. Her work and affiliations consistently span across a tri-continental platform: South America, North America and Asia, with emerging connections in Kenya.


From a first short career in astrophysics, ApJ has come to see the world through a lens of complexity framed by principles from ecology theory. This, in tandem with a belief that design has the power to take on the complex challenges associated with an emergent highly networked global culture has led her to work on architecture projects that range in scale and scope from things to systems of action – from a house for the astronomer Carl Sagan to a new university for southeast Asian women in Bangladesh to a seven village ecosystem for craft-based tourism in Guizhou province in China – and in domains outside of pure architecture including new models for higher education, for K-12, peacebuilding, patient centered health, and human and economic development in marginalized populations.


Lia Patrício
A Framework for Co-creating Service Platforms for Service Ecosystems

Lia Patrício is Assistant Professor at the School of Engineering of the University of Porto, in the areas of New Service Development and Design, Service Marketing and Management. She is also director of the Master in Service Engineering at the University of Porto. She holds a PhD in Industrial Management and Engineering, an MBA and a degree in Economics from the University of Porto.


Her research focuses on service design and customer experience, particularly the design of technology enabled services for complex service systems and service ecosystems. She has been involved in research projects in service industries, such as retailing, banking, IT and health care. She has coordinated a research project for the design of the Portuguese Electronic Health Record and is now the coordinator of the Service Design for Innovation European Project, a Marie Curie European Training Network. Her research has been published in several Journals such as the Journal of Service Research, Journal of Service Management, Engineering Design Journal and Requirements Engineering.


Ursula Tischner
‘Crowd’ based Systemic Design and Innovation for Sustainability


Prof. Ursula Tischner studied Architecture and Industrial Design and specialized in Eco- and Sustainable Design of products and services. She is the founder of econcept, Agency for Sustainable Design, in Cologne. With econcept she carries out research and consulting projects with small and large companies and other organizations on sustainable- and eco-design and innovation. She organized numerous training and educational courses and programs, such as the Sustainable Design Program at Design Academy Eindhoven, Ecodesign training courses for the Electronics Industry in Korea, and the Furniture Industry in Australia. She has served as professor and program coordinator Design for Sustainability at Savannah College of Art and Design. Currently she manages the European Sustainability Maker project. She publishes books and organizes conferences and networks around Eco- and Sustainable Design, is member of design juries and standardization bodies such as ISO, and evaluator in European research programs.

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