Kate Canales is a Research Professor and the Director of Design and Innovation Programs at the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. She oversees the popular Deason Innovation Gymnasium (DIG) program and runs the new Master’s degree in Design and Innovation (MADI). She has a background in mechanical engineering, product design and design research, and much of her recent work has focused on building creative capacity inside organizations. She studies and teaches the ways we innovate on the basis of human needs and behavior, and is responsible for integrating empathy and creativity into the technical engineering curriculum. Kate teaches several design courses including Human Centered Design, Building Creative Confidence, and The Context and Impact of Design as well as the studio course for the MADI program. Each semester, the studio course partners with a client and takes a design approach to tackle a problem facing local Dallas citizens. This semester, studio students are working with Café Momentum to find a solution to a housing shortage they are facing with their at-risk interns. The Dallas Morning News covered the project.
Kate has worked as a designer and design researcher at IDEO and as a Creative Director at frog design, both internationally recognized leaders in the field of design and innovation. In 2012, she and her team at frog design received an IDSA Gold award for their work on mobile phone systems in healthcare for UNICEF in Zambia and Malawi. She has worked across many industries applying human centered design methods to major innovation projects. Key client relationships include Memorial Sloan Ketterling Cancer Center, Procter & Gamble, The National Health Service (NHS) of the UK, AT&T, T-Mobile, UNICEF, and the YMCA of the USA. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Her writing on human centered design has appeared in GOOD magazine, The Atlantic, Texas CEO Magazine and The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. The Dallas Observer named Kate one of the “20 Most Interesting Characters” in Dallas in 2015.