Chris leads projects from concept to launch, productizing research and ushering new technologies into the hands of users in order to solve big problems. He uses design to help organizations develop clear and compelling visions of the future, and he drives clarity in highly ambiguous and complex problem spaces by leveraging his deep experience in ideation, prototyping, and storytelling.
Chris has a strong commitment to collaboration and relationship-building across disciplines and organizations. He works at the intersection of industrial design, design strategy, future studies, and tangible interaction and has successfully shipped hardware at several premiere innovation centers and startups including X - the moonshot factory, Verily, Pebble, and Disney Research. He is an award-winning designer whose products have raised millions on Kickstarter and he holds several US Patents.
Chris is currently a Design Strategy Lead at Newlab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
"[Chris] combines an excellent suite of core skills with expertise in future visioning, strategic thinking and a broad cultural and technological understanding. At X he was a key member of our team, helping transform complex new technologies into viable, well researched and manufacturable products."
"Chris is one of the most talented design strategists and industrial designers I’ve ever worked with at Google, IDEO and beyond... As a design strategist, he quickly groks highly complex systems issues."
"Chris takes a thoughtful approach to design, considering both how to solve the big strategic problems, as well as doing the hands on work to create the right designs for users."
Newlab sought to expand its impact by opening a new location in Detroit. Located in Michigan Central, the center connects mobility entrepreneurs with established companies to initiate pilot programs in service of a sustainable future. I led the effort to ensure the narrative and value proposition was effectively communicated to internal and external stakeholders. As part of this work, I served as Creative Director in creating the announcement assets for the center’s unveiling.
“Expanding access to quality eye screening - The Verily Retinal Service combines an advanced camera with workflow software, making it easier for clinicians to conduct quality diabetic retinopathy screens.” I led the industrial design of the project along with the instructional approach.
Prospect Mining Studio conducted a year-long investigation to assist BHP, one of the world’s largest mining companies, in identifying novel technologies for processes critical to supplying metals and minerals for the clean energy transition. My role involved leading the research and synthesis, which assembled a portfolio of technologies and startups on the bleeding edge of pre-weakening, fragmenting, and extracting ore.
Born out of project Loon, Taara uses Free Space Optical Communications, beams of light, to deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances. The technology is being piloted in India as a means of bringing low cost connectivity to rural areas. The X Design team worked with project Taara to design a robust piece of infrastructure that can stand up to the elements.
Verily’s COVID-19 Nasal Swab Kits were deployed as part of the company’s Healthy at Work screening program and the kit was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA in March 2021. Verily’s “User Experience team conducted extensive usability studies to develop easy-to-use nasal swab kits and clear instructions to help individuals take samples independently.” I served as design lead for all physical elements.
I worked with Project Delta, an early-stage X team tackling the related problems of food waste and food insecurity, to help them define, prototype, and explore the potential futures for an intelligent food distribution and food waste reduction project. The work included piloting new technologies and interfacing with external partners to showcase our vision for unsiloed food data. The project has recently moved to Google where it plans to scale its efforts.
Pebble Core is a device built for runners and hackers who do not want the hassle of carrying a phone. The device streams Spotify, tracks runs, makes emergency calls, and features Amazon Alexa integration. I led the Industrial Design and Product Definition of Pebble Core.
Pebble 2 was a shift in Pebble’s design focus from a lifestyle to a health oriented brand. The watch featured overmolded buttons, a heart rate monitor, and was an update to the original Pebble’s iconic “H” design. I primarily supported the project during the early design and ideation phase as well as during manufacturing and CMF execution.
Pebble Time and Time Steel are reimaginings of the original Pebble watches. Designed to preserve the features that made the original watches so popular, with additional consideration given ergonomics and hardware hackability, Time and Time Steel set the tone for all future Pebble products. I worked on Pebble Time and Time Steel from initial concept meetings to the first product coming off the line - touching everything from product and packaging, to photography and messaging.
Surround Haptics allows an array of vibrating motors to mimic the sensation of a single vibration traveling across your skin. At Disney I worked to translate this research into demos, prototypes, and consumer product designs - including a prototype haptic seat pad, connected to the game Split Second, demoed at SIGGRAPH’s 2011 Emerging Technologies Exhibition and the Vybe Haptic Gaming Pad, a first of its kind consumer product that converts audio into haptic sensations.
Solving big and complex problems requires cross functional teams with highly skilled technical experts. In these environments it is a designer’s role not just to advocate for the user and the product, but also to bring others along for the journey. Ideation can break organizations out of a box, prototyping can make technologies tangible for project teams, and storytelling can reveal the true potential of a project to executives - but only when partners are invited to be part of the process.
There are no shortcuts to building good products. When productizing new technology, the challenges that need solving are often unknown at the outset of the process. Teams need to be willing to put in the work - for designers this means solving problems, testing solutions, and keeping the ball moving forward even if that means flexing outside traditional discipline boundaries. Rigorously documenting this development process is the best way to share the work and audit decisions after the fact. There’s enough junk in the world; if you’re going to build something, do it right.
The future is both unpredictable and uncertain. The best way to see a preferred future realized is to help build it yourself. Even under ideal circumstances, with thorough research and a robust business strategy, startups and speculative projects are still just educated guesses. At some point, you have to be willing to take the leap - that means forging partnerships, prototyping, running pilots, and building the infrastructure needed for a venture to flourish. Teams don't always control the outcome, but they can focus on their approach and learn by doing.