Liz Sanders

Liz Sanders

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Liz Sanders is the founder of MakeTools, LLC where she explores new spaces in the emerging co-design landscapes. As a practitioner, Liz introduced many of the methods and tools being used today to drive and/or inspire design from a human-centered perspective. She has practiced co-designing across the design disciplines and is now bringing co-design practices to many other disciplines. Her industrial career has been focused on generating, developing and using participatory design research methods in the design and development of products, services, systems and spaces. Some of her clients have included Apple, AT&T, Coca Cola, Compaq, GE, Honda, IBM, Intel, Kodak, Microsoft, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Roche Diagnostics, Steelcase, Thermos, 3M, and Xerox.

Liz joined the Design Department at The Ohio State University as an Associate Professor in 2011 while continuing her work with MakeTools. Her many publications, presentations, design awards, patents, as well as success in the marketplace have established Liz as a global leader in the field of design research. She co-authored Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design, that is recognized as the textbook for students of co-designing in academia as well as practice. Today Liz speaks and conducts workshops about co-design research, collective creativity and transdisciplinarity with clients, colleagues and students all over the world.

Liz has a Ph.D. in Experimental and Quantitative Psychology, a B.A. in Psychology, and a B.A. in Anthropology. She was hired in the early 1980’s by a leading design consultancy as an “experiment” to explore the integration of social science and design. The experiment is ongoing. The aim of Liz’s research today is to democratize design so that all the people who will be affected by design decisions can make creative contributions and play a role in determining their future ways of living. Her research is focused on the exploration, development and dissemination of a co-design language that can be used to generate and describe relevant transformation and sustainable innovation.

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