According to the United Nations over 50% of the world’s population is living in cities today. Projections indicate that this number will increase dramatically in the future. As a result, cities are facing challenges and strains related to housing, transportation, infrastructure, climate change, employment, energy, safety, education and health care.


For one day, the ThinkTank brought together 50+ students and faculty from local universities, industry thought leaders across different disciplines, design thinkers, community partners, and city representatives. We challenged our assumptions, explored possibilities, co-create ideas and inspired to envision the “Future of Our Cities” for all generations.

We are excited at the opportunity this event represented, to build stronger collaborations and partnerships between the academic community and industry and to convene innovative minds to develop future scenarios to give more insights across disciplines and sectors. If you are interested in participating in the future, you can fill out the form here and we will keep you updated on upcoming ThinkTanks!


Jose Manuel dos Santos
Philips Lighting

Jose has over 20 years of experience in design and design management, an MA in Industrial Design from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design/UK and an Executive MA in Product Design and Development from the Northwestern University/USA. His career started in Portugal in 1989 as an industrial designer, to date he has formed and sold two product design companies, worked as a product Design Director in Barcelona and led as Chief Design Officer in a large Internet company.

In 2011 Jose expanded his international experience and joined Masco as a Design Director working closely with Liberty Hardware and other Masco companies such as Delta Faucet and Kraftmaid. And then in 2016 he joined Philips Lighting as their Head of Design and User Experience / Americas, a company that has demonstrated that it can design the way we interact with light (think Hue!), and that will define how light impacts our everyday life at home, at work or in public spaces.

Jose has also been very involved in and passionate about design education and entrepreneurship. Among other initiatives, he started a network of talented Portuguese industrial designers, and co-founded a non-profit organization dedicated to young entrepreneurship. He has been a guest speaker at numerous industry events speaking on design and design thinking, taught design to designers and non-designers at a higher education level, and has been a jury member at several design schools and competitions. Jose is a creative individual that works in partnership with business executives to translate and mediate design value into business ventures.

Kristian Kloeckl
Northeastern University

Kristian Kloeckl is Designer and Associate Professor at Northeastern University in the Department of Art + Design and the School of Architecture. Prior to coming to Northeastern, Kloeckl was a faculty member at the University IUAV of Venice and a research scientist leading the Real Time City Group at the MIT Senseable City Lab as part of which he established the lab’s research unit in Singapore. There, he and his team pioneered a data platform and data visualization research initiative that brought together real time data from Singapore’s key public and private urban systems operators.

Kristian has led research initiatives in partnership with entities such as AT&T, SNCF, Audi, Changi Airport, New England Conservatory and in his professional practice has worked on projects for JCDecaux, Viacom, Herman Miller, Migros, among others. Kristian’s work probes the boundaries of interaction design in the context of today’s hybrid cities and investigates the role of improvisational frameworks for design. He has published extensively on these issues in international publications and his work has been exhibited at venues such as the Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Vienna MAK, the Singapore Art Museum.

Kloeckl is a frequent speaker at international conferences and has amongst others presented at the Montreal World Design Summit, Hybrid City Conference, Platform Strategy Executive Symposium at MIT Media Lab, World Bank SDN Forum, Red Dot Design Museum Singapore, Austrian Innovation Forum in Vienna, ICA Conference in Taipei, and eGov Global Exchange in Singapore.

David Morgan
Future In Sight


David Morgan is the President & CEO of Future In Sight, a New Hampshire based nonprofit that transforms the lives of children and adults who are blind or visually impaired through a range of education and rehabilitation services. David is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Boston Architectural College and VisionServe Alliance. As a Vice President for Perkins School for the Blind David led the development of new assistive technologies including the Perkins SMART Brailler that reimagined how children can learn braille. His efforts were recognized with a range of patents and awards including the President’s Export Achievement Award, various Design Awards, and Innovator of the Year by SBANE and MassMEP. David also worked in industry and high tech for 20-years in engineering, product development, and manufacturing, most recently as President of a Dutch Semiconductor Firm.

Emily Shea
City of Boston


Emily K. Shea has been serving as Commissioner on Affairs of the Elderly for the City of Boston since April 2011 and was re-appointed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh in January 2014. The Commission serves as Boston’s Area Agency on Aging and Boston’s Council on Aging. In her role as Commissioner, she launched Age-Friendly Boston, a collaborative initiative focused on making Boston an even better place to live and to age. Commissioner Shea has fostered numerous partnerships throughout the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts to improve the quality of life for older adults.

Prior to her work at the City, Ms. Shea’s work focused on meeting the needs of older adults as the Executive Director of Windsor House Adult Day Health Programs and President of the Massachusetts Adult Day Health Association, then as Executive Director of the Robert Wood Johnson funded initiative the Boston Partnership for Older Adults, and finally in her most recent role as Director of Elder Services for Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), Boston’s anti-poverty agency. Ms. Shea received her MSW, MPH and Certificate in Gerontology from Boston University and her BA from St. Michael’s College.

Kate Tooke


Kate is a licensed landscape architect and senior associate within Sasaki’s urban studio, where she focuses on waterfronts, urban parkland and the intersection between communities and environment. She leads Sasaki’s research initiative on outdoor playscapes, and has been instrumental in the design and evaluation of several custom adventure playscapes. Prior to discovering landscape architecture, Kate taught math and science in the Boston Public School system: her passion for inspiring and empowering urban youth now infuses all aspects of her work as a landscape architect. She holds a Masters in Education in addition to a Masters in Landscape Architecture. Kate earned the 2011 National Olmsted Scholar award, the highest honor of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), for her work on urban schoolyards, and has since served on LAF’s board of directors.

Tom van Arman


Tom moved to Amsterdam as a traditional architect and urban planner who uses information technology in his designs. He develops, builds and manages smarter systems for today’s mobile society by using open and user-generated data to create blueprints for a sustainable future. Tom is the Co-founder Amsterdam Innovation Exchange Lab, and director of Tapp – an award-winning agency that helps local governments and industries solve urgent problems with the latest rapid prototyping techniques, technologies by utilizing local maker communities. Tom is a regular lecturer at Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Vrij Universiteit, and Amsterdam Smart City, and on the board of Appsterdam.


Eli MacLaren
Business Innovation Factory


Eli MacLaren is a Chief Market Maker, leading Business Innovation Factoryʼs development efforts and is responsible for the startup and scale of the Experience Labs. With over a decade of experience in building and leading social ventures, Eli is an accomplished social innovator with a deep knowledge of the new platforms required to catalyze and scale social innovation.

Greg Affsa


Over the course of his career as a designer, Greg has leveraged his expertise in Human Centered Design and Design Thinking to improve healthcare and help teams innovate faster. With the Gentoo Vest, Greg and his co-founder Ben Nadeau, radically improved the treatment experience for chemotherapy patients. Having brought Gentoo through Wentworth Accelerate Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, Greg saw the value of leveraging the same design frameworks he used in product design to help student startups innovate faster. In his current role at Optum, he is a member of the Fusion team with works with teams across the enterprise to develop cutting edge solutions to improve healthcare for everyone.

Sarah Folger
Business Innovation Factory


Sarah is an Experience Designer at Business Innovation Factory (BIF). She is fascinated by ‘why?’, motivated by curiosity, and interested in how people interact with each other and the world around them. What began as a pursuit in fine arts evolved into an industrial design degree and a passion for service design. While at BIF, Sarah has helped explore new ways to serve the burn community, how to create high-impact change through finite investments in education and how a digital platform could better serve Project Based Learning teachers. She maintains her curiosity in her free time, by exploring new foods, running spots, and experiences, and is always open to the next adventure.

Alexis Victor


As a design strategy consultant, Alexis works with a variety of companies, such as Nationwide, Kohler, and Ford, to conduct research that reveals key insights that help clients innovate with confidence. Her specialty is translating research data into compelling visual stories that inspire action. Alexis is motivated by a passion for improving everyday people’s lives by designing more fulfilling product interactions.

Crystal Rome
Business Innovation Factory


Crystal is from Boulder, Colorado where she attended the University of Colorado and receive a double BA in Classical Archaeology and Anthropology. Her background includes fine art, environmental restoration, organic farming, and playing accordion in a gypsy bluegrass band. She is always curious and looking for simpler ways to accomplish everyday tasks. Joining BIF is an exciting next step in an ongoing quest to investigate the edge of what is possible and find ways to wrangle large scale challenges into human scaled action.

Ramon Salinas


As an innovation consultant Ramon has worked with companies from more than 20 industries -including Goodyear, ExxonMobil, Abbott, and Converse- helping them identify and shape new growth opportunities. Currently, he is a Senior Business Strategist at Continuum, the global design and innovation firm, leveraging Design Thinking to develop human-centered solutions and to bring more consumer focus approaches to organizations. Over the years he has taught several innovation and entrepreneurship courses, and has served as a mentor to numerous startups. Ramon holds a Master’s in Humanities from UDD and an MBA from Babson College, where he teaches the Innovation Processes course.

Adam Zapotok
C Space


Adam Zapotok is a Designer in Innovation at C Space. Working on events planning, holding workshops, graphics, visual scribing, learning animation and videography. His interests and focuses change on an annual basis Leading him to a wide variety of skills. He has been involved in social innovation labs, non-profits, medical device start-ups, kinetic art, and now ethnography. Adam doesn’t know where or what his next interest will be but he’s excited to find out whats behind the next corner.