Meet The Jury Of The 2017 Innovation By Design Awards

Judges hailed from Google, Amazon, Ikea, Airbnb, Adidas, Slack, MoMA, and more.

Nearly 30 designers, executives, and thought leaders helped judge the 2017 Innovation By Design Awards, Fast Company‘s sixth annual celebration of creativity in design. Meet the illustrious cast below.*


Katie Becker

Becker is the global senior design director of athletics and training for Adidas. She has helped launch and build the creative teams for NEO, action sports, and athletics for the brand. She does not sleep, she asks a lot of questions, she hates the word “no,” and enjoys seeing and being part of anything that pushes the boundaries of what’s next.


Koni Braman

Braman is the director of store development for Amazon Books. She led the design and construction of the first brick-and-mortar retail store for Amazon in 2015. She currently manages the team of design and construction professionals that specialize in physical retail. Her previous experience at Starbucks and Nordstrom ingrained in her the importance of the customer experience. Energized by the process of transforming spaces into shopping experiences that customers love, Braman is enjoying the challenge of redefining retail for Amazon.

Jim Bull

Bull cofounded Moving Brands in 1998. He was instrumental in developing the innovative Moving Brands approach to branding, storytelling, and experience design that has seen the company become the leading independent, global creative company it is today. As chief creative officer, Bull is responsible for the creative output of the business across its studios in London, Zurich, San Francisco, and New York. He is based in San Francisco where he has creatively led engagements with Moving Brands clients such as Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Google, Apple, and DeviantArt. Bull is a regular keynote speaker and interviewee for creative, design, and business publications.


Brendan Cormier

Cormier is a design curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. He is currently leading the development of a new V&A design gallery in Shenzhen, China, as part of a collaboration with Design Society. Prior to his work at the museum, Cormier was the managing editor of Volume, an Amsterdam-based quarterly on architecture and urbanism.

Terry Crews

Crews is an action-movie hero, sitcom star, game show host, pitchman, former NFL player, best-selling author, artist, and now furniture designer. Expanding on his extensive background as an artist and illustrator and his love of craftsmanship, Crews established the design house Amen & Amen, which seeks out and supports creatives in the world of art, music, fashion, decor, and industrial design. Crews designed his first furniture collection for the American company Bernhardt Design in 2017.

Paul Dillinger

Dillinger is the vice president of global product innovation at LS&Co. Following his passion for sustainability, Dillinger has been an integral partner with the company’s social and environmental sustainability group to develop front-end methods for applied sustainability in the design process.


Ame Elliott

Elliott is design director Simply Secure. Previously, she worked at Ideo San Francisco and Xerox PARC. Her design work has been recognized with awards from the AIGA, IDSA/IDEA, the Edison Awards, and the Webby Awards. Elliott holds a PhD in design theory and methods from the University of California, Berkeley.

Marcus Engman

Engman is Ikea’s head of design.


Behnaz Farahi

Farahi is a designer and PhD candidate at USC, whose work explores the potential of interactive environments​ and their relationship to the human body.

Phil Freelon

Freelon is the award-winning design director of the North Carolina practice of global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will. A prolific designer focused on cultural expression through built form, Freelon led the four-firm architectural team that designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. He is also the lead designer of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Historic Emancipation Park in Houston, and the upcoming  “Hitsville USA” Motown Museum in Detroit.

Molly Heintz

Heintz is chair of the MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism program at the School of Visual Arts and a co-founder of the editorial consultancy Superscript. She previously served as op-ed editor for Co.Design.

Masuma Henry

Masuma Henry was a chief operating officer at technology design and innovation consultancy Artefact, where she led the companywide social impact initiative and client collaborations with global organizations like Arizona State University, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, and others.


Doreen Lorenzo

Lorenzo is a successful leader of global creative firms who advised Fortune 100 companies on design and innovation issues for decades. She is currently the director of the Center for Integrated Design at the University of Texas-Austin, cofounder of mobile video insights firm Vidlet, and a columnist for Fast Company/Co.Design.
[Photo: Bert Johnson]

Roman Mars

Mars is the host and creator of 99% Invisible, a short radio show about design and architecture. With over 160 million downloads, the 99% Invisible podcast is one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Fast Company named him one of the 100 Most Creative People in 2013. He was a TED main stage speaker in 2015. It is currently the most popular TED Talk about design with over 4 million views. His crowdfunding campaigns have raised over $2 million and he’s the highest-funded journalist in Kickstarter history. He is also a cofounder of Radiotopia, a collective of groundbreaking independent podcasts.


Netta Marshall

Marshall is a designer and photographer living in San Francisco. She’s had the pleasure of working with companies like MTV, Disney, Square, and Rdio before joining the team at Airbnb. Aside from design, Marshall enjoys other creative works including pottery, watercolor painting, and leather working.

Justin Moore

Moore is an urban designer and the executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission. He has extensive experience in urban design and city planning–from large-scale urban systems, policies, and projects to grassroots and community-focused planning, design, and arts initiatives.

Stefan Pannenbecker

Pannenbecker is vice president at Teague where he leads a multidisciplinary team of creatives driving innovation at the intersection of travel and technology for some of the world’s leading brands including Intel, Toyota, Samsung, Hyundai, Panasonic, Honeywell, and B/E Aerospace. Prior to joining Teague, Pannenbecker held numerous senior leadership positions in the design industry including senior vice president and head of design at Nokia, as well as senior vice president of design at Microsoft.

Emmanuel Plat

Plat is the director of merchandising of MoMA’s retail division.
Plat plays the lead role in shaping the merchandising strategy for the MoMA Design Store brand and developing products for distribution through MoMA’s retail and wholesale channels. Before joining MoMA, Plat built a 19-year career in merchandising, marketing, and administration with the Conran Group.


Laurie Pressman

Pressman is the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. In addition to managing a global team of color and trend experts for the development of Pantone’s color research and color trend forecasting products, including the annual Pantone Color of the Year selection, Pressman and the Pantone Color Institute team work with companies around the world to create tailored color strategies that include customized color selections for products or brands.

Dominique Price

Price is a California architect working at the intersection of public infrastructure and construction arts, blending technical expertise with humanistic sensibility. Price is director at M Moser San Francisco where she works with private commercial and workplace developments to uncover unexpected social strategies that cultivate their unique cultural communities.

Amy Schwartz

Amy Schwartz is a designer specializing in branding, digital experiences, and games. She is currently the design director at Cards Against Humanity and its sister company, Blackbox. Amy was the winner of Command X at the 2015 AIGA National Conference, and her work has been recognized by the Webbys, Co.Design, and AIGA.


Victoria Slaker

Victoria helped form Ammunition in 2007, and, as a leader for the industrial design group, she has been instrumental in cultivating one of the industry’s most awarded design teams. Working with a broad range of companies from nascent startups to global brands, Victoria focuses on creating beautiful, iconic products that build businesses and define categories.


Yancey Strickler

Strickler is cofounder and CEO of Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. He was named one of Fast Company‘s Most Creative People, and serves on the board of New Inc., the New Museum’s incubator for art, design, and technology. Prior to Kickstarter, Strickler was a music journalist whose writing appeared in the Village Voice, New York magazine, Pitchfork, and other publications.

Kristy Tillman

Tillman currently serves as head of communication design at Slack. In previous lives, she lead both brand and product design teams at Society of Grownups and worked at as a designer at Ideo.


Joshua To

To is a design director at Google and leads UX for Daydream (Google’s VR) effort. Before Google, To founded Hattery, an early-stage venture capital fund and innovation lab. To has always been interested in working across the intersection of design, entrepreneurship, and technology. He is the founder of nonprofits Soup and WellDone International.


Khoi Vinh

Vinh is principal designer at Adobe, where he is a lead contributor to Adobe XD, the company’s new end-to-end design and prototyping application. He is charged with aligning Adobe’s design initiatives more closely with its customers, its partners, and the community.

Mehrdad Yazdani

As principal of CannonDesign’s national practice and design director of the Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, Yazdani practices at the intersection of the large office and the small studio. Named by Progressive Architecture as one of the world’s top emerging architects just three years after earning his Masters of Architecture, he has garnered over 50 major design awards and publication in national and international journals. His work has been exhibited around the world and held in permanent collections at the MoMA, SFMOMA, and the Library of Congress.

Forest Young

Young is the head of design for Wolff Olins San Francisco, where he leads design initiatives for the world’s most influential companies. His work has been exhibited at MoMA and the Royal Ontario Museum, and has received the highest design accolades including the Gold Design Lion at Cannes and the ADC Black Cube. Young is a critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art, where he received his MFA and was awarded the Mark Whistler Prize.

* Judges recused themselves from deliberating on entries from companies where they’re employed.


About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D