Dana Cho, “Humanizing Technology”

As a partner and managing director at IDEO in Palo Alto, Dana Cho, MArch ’01, leads the company’s Silicon Valley outpost, working with designers, clients, and organizations to create memorable and scalable brand experiences. Her particular areas of expertise are healthcare, hospitality, and retail. Since joining IDEO in 2001, Cho co-founded the Smart Space practice, a business within IDEO focused on applying the human-centered innovation process to physical, experiential brand experiences at scale, real-estate development, and urban design, and has led multiple large-scale projects with clients such as Nike, Mayo Clinic, Sam’s Club, Virgin Group, and the Four Seasons. For the Ritz-Carlton, Cho created “Scenography,” a program that mobilized a new approach to service design and delivery, to be implemented in hotels worldwide. Cho has taught and lectured at California College of Arts and is a frequent visiting lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has also spoken at various conferences including PSFK, ULI, and GlobalShop. A graduate of Harvard GSD, where her thesis work was carried out under Rem Koolhaas, Cho worked at several architecture firms—including Gwathmey Siegel, Morphosis, and SOM—before joining IDEO. Cho currently serves on the external advisory board of the Master in Design Engineering, a collaborative degree program at Harvard GSD and Harvard SEAS.

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