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Prof. Dr. Barbara A. Karanian, faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Design group at Stanford University, Silicon Valley (USA)

Founder of The Design Entrepreneuring Studio, Barbara is a visiting Professor/ Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering Design, the School of Engineering, Stanford University.
Author of, “Working Connection: The Relational Art of Leadership: A Balancing Act in Engineering and Science;” and “Analyzing Engineering Design Stories-Predicting Engagement,” Barbara studies the ways entrepreneurial leaders form connections to create amazing cross-functional team environments.

She teaches a graduate design methods class, ME378, Tell/Make/Engage – Action Stories for Entrepeneuring – co-developed with graduate students, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood guest guides.

The parallel between the desire that drives the design process and how telling stories drives new design elements is one focus. Students commit to and tell their interactive stories by using methods that generate a creative environment for exploring the behavioral and emotional factors contained in traversing from the early developmental stages of discovery to prototype to delivery–to make real progress in their work.

Student formed and studied start-ups are the focus. Barbara is also part of the teaching team for Design Garage. She supports student risk-taking and collaborative efforts for design confidence. Barbara works with organizational leaders to uncover the surprises of collaboration and experience how telling their story paints an inventive picture of what’s next. Barbara teaches a new REVS class on the automotive experience: Tales to Design Cars By. The Michael T. Anthony Professor from 2005-2010 at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, her Educational background:

Barbara received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies in Organizational Behavior from Lesley University; the M.Ed. in Art Therapy; and was awarded a Teaching Fellowship in Leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She holds a B.A. with a double major: Psychology; and Fine Arts from the College of the Holy Cross.


*Leadership and Organizational Behavior Consultant
*User-Centered Design
*Facilitating Cross-Division Collaboration
*Teaching: Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Graduate Design Methods, Entrepreneurial Leadership
*Behavioral and Emotional Factors in Product Design and Development
*Leadership and Transformational Change
*Work with high performance teams of engineers/designers
*Making productive partnerships with industry
*Story Consulting and Color Saturation Modification tools

Peter-Merholz1Peter Merholz, Vice President Global Design at Groupon, San Francisco (USA) 

I am a user experience and design executive with 20 years experience across a broad range of digital media. 

And I’m looking to figure out what’s next. I’m one of the few people on LinkedIn who won’t be annoyed by recruiter emails.

In 2001, I co-founded Adaptive Path, perhaps the world’s premier firm dedicated to user experience. I’ve been instrumental in its growth from a small boutique firm to an international consultancy, with offices in San Francisco, Austin, and Amsterdam. 

More recently, I lead the global design team at Groupon, including product/UX, marketing, and brand design. I grew the team from 30 to 60, and was instrumental in the first redesign of Groupon.com since the company launched.

I am passionate about the potential of design’s impact, for making the world a better place by improving people’s lives. Even as an executive, I’ve kept my hand in as a user experience practitioner, most recently with a focus on strategy, research, and conceptual design. For over 10 years I’ve been a dedicated thinker, writer, and public speaker about user experience. 

In 1999, I coined the word “blog.” Really. In the OED and everything.

Specialties: user experience, interaction design, information architecture, design research, product strategy, practice development, service design, organizational operations for design, recruiting and hiring, design vision and leadership.

Michael-Stopford1Michael Stopford, EVP at Weber Shandwick, Global Corporate Strategy Washington D.C. Metro Area (USA), Public Relations and Communications

Global corporate strategist for Weber Shandwick. Focus on international strategic communications, global public affairs, crisis communications and issues management, stakeholder engagement, partnerships and multi-sectoral CSR as core platforms for sustaining and enhancing corporate reputation and corporate brand. Clients include leaders in private sector (major multinationals), global public sector and international higher education.

Lead company’s global higher education practice. Currently teaching MA International Communications at Milan’s IULM: University of Languages and the Sciences of Communication. Previously Adjunct Professorships at Georgetown School of Foreign Service; American University School of International Service; Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Sergei-Mitrofanov1Sergei Mitrofánov, Founder at Mitrofanov & Partners, Moscow (Russia)

First Media Owner in Russia with assets inside social networks. 

We develop and implement sophisticated integrated advertising campaigns for our clients across all social media channels and platforms – from social apps and gamification, to online community management and user engagement strategies. Our clients have access to the best tools to implement social media companies and promote their brand.

We believe that social media goes beyond being just an aspect of the Internet; it’s more than software, more than just a platform for below the line and above the line advertising, and more than only a PR tool; Social media is the catalyst behind all of our marketing tools and underpins our strategy, focus, and creativity.

We are lucky to have the unique opportunity to not only witness the change in today’s media space, but we are also the ones who create it – and that gives us the drive and passion to help our clients keep pace with ever changing technologies while meeting their customers’ needs.

Yacoff-Serkovas1Yacoff Sarkovas, CEO Edelman Significa, Sao Paulo (Brazil)

Communications in this new world begins with the company’s purpose – its reason for being – and its values. These elements define the gravitational field of a brand, attracting people through identification and keeping them in orbit through reason and emotion. A brand becomes relevant to its stakeholders when it shares aspirations, opinions, styles and causes. The brand is strengthened and minimizes risk when it is genuine, true, fair and proactive. Relevance and transparency, therefore, is what gives substance to communications.

The means by which brands transmit their messages has also expanded. The reign of traditional media is over. Today, every medium can be considered strategic for establishing dialogues: blogs, social media, search engines, the companies’ own channels: All companies are also media companies.

Public relations is the discipline that best responds to all of these changes, because in its nature lies consideration for the views and interests of others. Its historical focus is the conversation and the sharing of value, established in complex and fragmented environments.

Simple brand exposure, paid or unpaid, endorsed by quantitative metrics is no longer enough to ensure a brand’s survival in the new market. Nowadays, brand purpose is as critical to the business as is strategic management of its relationships.

Marc-Finsterlin1Marc Finsterlin, Chairman at Aquarius Digital Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. Hong Kong, Marketing and Advertising (China)

Marc Finsterlin is a postgraduate from Global MBA University of Maryland (USA/China), Lorange Institute of Business (Switzerland) and Fudan University (China).

Marc W. Finsterlin is the Managing Director of Aquarius Asia. He is based in Hong Kong.

He looks back on consulting experience in the field of corporate strategy and global marketing in China, and in the US at O’Brian Cox. Before that he was Marketing Manager (Group Marketing) at Allianz on a global engagement and worked for several multimedia agencies.

Mr. Marc Finsterlin, Managing Director of Aquarius Asia, a German company with a regional office in Hong Kong, will also share with the audience his experience regarding present opportunities which Hong Kong renders possible in these fields.

Tobias-Sievers1Prof. Tobias Sievers, Creative Director at Luxoom / Associate Professor for Digital Media Design at Shanghai Institute of Design, CAA (China)

henesUlrich Henes, Brand2Global, Specialist in international business and localization, Madison/Wisconsin (USA)

Ulrich Henes is the founder and president of the Localization Institute, a Madison, Wisconsin, based consulting and event organizing company. Already in his early years, Ulrich was fascinated by language, cultural differences, and global business.

He spent the first decade of his career organizing international campaigns against the arms race, apartheid and promoting social justice. For the past 25 years Ulrich has channeled his passion for all things global into promoting awareness and respect for differences among people, countries, and languages in the international business community.

sasserathMarc Sasserath, Sasserath Munzinger Plus, Markenberatung und Markenentwicklung, Berlin (Germany)

Founding partner of Sasserath Munzinger Plus as well as the brand holding company Supermarque.
CEO and Managing Partner of Publicis Sasserath and CSO of Publicis Deutschland from 2001-2007. Prior to this, Chief of Strategy at McCann and BBDO. Career launched at Saatchi & Saatchi after being shaped in a family firm.
Study of economics and humanities in Germany, France, and the UK. Diploma in Business Administration, DipCCC HEC & INSEAD, Master’s in Clinical Organizational Psychology (HEC). Advisory Board member of gut.org and betterplace.org. Board of Directors at Vocatus AG, founding chair of apgd, and proud supporter of the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance.

bremerUlrich Bremer, Member of the Managing Board at IUBH School of Business and Management, Cologne (Germany)

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