On Being Awake

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Brief Abstract

Shel will talk about living on the edge of Failure, what it feels like, how to cope, and how it’s led to innovative opportunities she could have never imagined.


Shel Kimen, Global Manager, Experience Design Practice at The Ford Motor Company, leads a multi-disciplinary group of designers and strategists tasked to make Ford the most trusted mobility company in the world. Leading and guiding teams working on the future of autonomy, luxury, and commerce at Ford -- Shel is generating new ways of open and collaborative practices to evolve legacy processes, enabling the creation of holistic experiences that put people at the center and span hardware, software, and services. In a global Ford initiative, Shel helped create training and then taught hundreds of global leaders in North America, Australia, and South America about Human-centered design and how it applies to the work we do everyday. Additionally, Shel created the curriculum and currently teaches Generative Design Research at Detroit’s College of Creative Studies Masters Program in Interaction Design. Prior to Ford, Shel had 20 years creating successful physical and digital experiences for leading brands including The New York Times, The Financial Times, JC Penney, and Nike. She pioneered innovative research methodologies as Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy for Saatchi & Saatchi and has published work about Information Architecture, Virtual Reality, and hundreds of articles about the early Internet since 1995. Shel has spoken about human centered design and innovation for the Detroit Design Festival, the American Institute of Architects, Michigan State University, Jet Propulsion Labs/NASA, Mobile Marketing Association Innovation Forum, and start-ups and entrepreneurial forums in Detroit and South East Michigan. Lover of all things complex, Shel likes to work on the things people say can’t be done — and enjoys the hard and always complicated effort required to make the seemingly impossible real.

Extended Abstract