Learn More About Beth Altringer
Why do we desire certain objects or experiences more than others?
World-class design practitioner, architect and researcher Professor Beth Altringer has dedicated her life’s work to answering that question in the most imaginative ways possible. The newly appointed Professor of Practice and executive director of the joint Master of Arts in Design Engineering (MADE) Program at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), her unique expertise at the intersection of design, behavioral psychology and technology has examined “what people like and why” for more than 20 years, helping designers, marketers and companies create signature products, services and experiences that elevate and differentiate their brands.
When it comes to infusing design thinking with advanced behavioral research, Altringer is an unrivaled authority and a highly sought-after consultant. She has worked closely with global powerhouses such as Gucci, Swarovski, Puma, Diageo, Piaggio, IKEA, Daikin, Disney, Apple and Google, and top design firms like IDEO and J. Walter Thompson Intelligence (JWT), helping them develop trademark offerings – physical and digital – that become wildly popular among consumers. A former Harvard professor, she specialized in creating unique hands-on curricula that help students translate psychological concepts like “anxiety reduction” into product and service design.
“Designers need to be educated with a lot of what we know from social and organizational psychology,” says Altringer. “If you just create your product and don’t engage with the complexity of interpersonal challenges, then your product doesn’t go anywhere.”
Artificial Intelligence, Sustainability and the Future of Work
Altringer is founder of Desirability Lab, a resource and learning center focused on quantifying design desirability. Her courses, which are in high demand, cover topics like need-finding, creative problem solving, design leadership and human-centered design processes, as well as technologies like interface design, UX/UI, strategy, learning design and game design. She also teaches immersive short courses in wearable technology, sustainable design, cultural entrepreneurship, sensory design and the future of work.
As a cross-disciplinary design thinker and innovator, Altringer has an impressive track record, particularly when it comes to disrupting an industry or furthering a mission. She helped develop the 2025 strategy for Kering, the conglomerate that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and other brands. Part of that work involved creating the first ever environmental profit and loss statement (EP&L), which won a number of global awards and led to Kering being named one of the 10 most sustainable companies in the world by the World Economic Forum. She was also part of the team that invented Piaggio’s multi-award winning Gita personal cargo robot. And in 2019, her design studio launched an interactive iOS app called Chef League which helps novices understand and experiment with flavors like expert chefs. She says such AI-powered teaching tools set the stage for more stimulating and personalized educational products in the future.
Altringer exudes an infectious passion when consulting, speaking or collaborating. Her teachings offer organizations a powerful opportunity to leverage every tool in the design and innovation toolbox so they can disrupt their industries and create memorable products and experiences that leave an indelible mark.
Beth Altringer is Professor of Practice at Brown University, Faculty Associate at Rhode Island School of Design, and Principal at Ames Studio, a full-service digital product design studio that focuses on design and technology that can augment human learning and our capacity to experience creativity, meaning, connection, and joy. She was named to the 2018 Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led.
Altringer boasts a wunderkind academic resume. A designer by background, she previously taught at Harvard University where she spent nearly a decade developing design, innovation, and entrepreneurship courses, curriculum, programs, and initiatives. She was also part of the core team that created the school’s first dual engineering (MS) and MBA degree in 2016. She was recognized as one of Harvard’s top 15 professors that same year. Altringer earned a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Cape Town, a doctorate from Cambridge University in behavioral science of design, a visiting scholarship in human-computer interaction at Stanford, degrees in psychology and economics, a Fulbright fellowship in design, and a postdoctoral fellowship in design at MIT. She furthered her education by studying around the world, spending years honing what she believes are the qualities of an effective cross-disciplinary designer. Altringer has also worked on a number of global sustainability and innovation projects – mostly in consumer products, fashion and urban design and development – in Chile, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Spain, France, Italy, the U.K., and the U.S.
Beth Altringer is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
Designing experiences – whether physical or digital products, services, apps or live events – requires customization that takes both company strategy and the context of user experience into account. Brown University and RISD Professor Beth Altringer, who leverages her background as a leading practitioner and educator, combines the fields of behavioral science and product design. Her hands-on workshops help companies learn hidden ways that consumer expectations are changing and demonstrate powerful new tools developed in her lab that can help them realize new and improved ventures. Over the past 10 years, she has created 100+ custom modules that extend the value of her presentations for clients and students. Her interactive workshops are designed to push entrepreneurs, experience designers and business leaders at ambitious startups and large organizations to realize new and improved experiences for their customers. In the process she covers topics like need-finding, creative problem solving, design leadership, and human-centered design processes, as well as technologies like interface design, UX/UI, strategy, learning design, and game design. She also offers shorter immersive workshops on wearable technology, sustainable design, cultural entrepreneurship, sensory design and the future of work.