Design in Business

Our innovation series continues with a discussion on the role of design in successful and sustainable business.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


March 09, 2010 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

Design and business have traditionally made uneasy bedfellows, with practitioners of both eyeing each other suspiciously. But in recent years, some companies have demonstrated huge success by adopting a design-savvy approach. That’s led to a resurgence of interest in design as business strategy. There remains little agreement on the best policies, structures, or principles for its smart adoption and execution, however. This panel, a continuation of our series on innovation, brings together those working on every side of the equation, from individuals implementing design within large corporations, to consultants aiming to bring an objective eye to their clients’ problems, to educators working to shape the future discussion.

With moderator Helen Walters, editor of innovation and design at Bloomberg/BusinessWeek; Helmut Traitler, V.P. of Innovation Partnerships at NESTEC Ltd., in Vevey, Switzerland; Udaya Patnaik, Jump founder and principal; Nathan Shedroff, chair of the MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts; and Mary Jo Cook, Vice President of Discovery and Design for Clorox.

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Follow the conversation on Twitter using #dbizsnx and use it to spread the word! Also, join the event’s LinkedIn Group to network with other participants.


6:30 pm doors open
7:00 pm panel discussion starts
8:15 pm networking and reception
9:30 pm doors close


Mary Jo Cook

Mary Jo Cook is Vice President of Discovery and Design for Clorox, where she leads a corporate innovation group responsible for creating large new business opportunities for Clorox and increasing company capabilities in breakthrough innovation and design. Prior to this role, Cook was Vice President of New Businesses for the Cleaning Division, where she created and led a cross-functional group that delivered a series of innovations, including the Clorox® Ready Mop® system, Clorox® Bleach Pen (a Business Week “Top New Product of the Year”),  Clorox® Toilet Wand® system,  Clorox® Anywhere® daily sanitizing spray, and  GreenWorks® from Clorox®, the first national brand of effective cleaners made from plant based, biodegradable ingredients.
Her innovation accomplishments were recognized by BusinessWeek, which named her one of their “top 25 innovation champions” in June 2006.


Nathan Shedroff

Nathan Shedroff is chair of the MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. He is a pioneer in Experience Design, the approach to design that encompasses multiple senses and explores common characteristics in all media as well as related fields including Interaction Design and Information Design. He speaks and teaches internationally and has written extensively on design and business issues, and he maintains a website with resources on Experience Design at
Shedroff holds an MBA from the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco and a BS in Industrial Design from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He co-founded vivid studios, a decade-old pioneering company in interactive media and one of the first Web services firms on the planet. He won a Chrysler Innovation in Design Award in 1994 and 1999 and a National Design Award in 2001. His new books include Design is the Problem, Experience Design 1.1, and Experience Design 1 Cards.


Udaya Patnaik

Udaya Patnaik is a Jump founder and principal. He advises executives in technology, communications, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and retail. Over the years, he’s worked with leaders at companies like HP, Target, and Harley-Davidson to solve long-term strategy issues while delivering rapid results. Udaya uses experience in research, network analysis, roadmapping, facilitation, and training to help clients manage innovation, create new businesses, and transform organizations. Udaya is a frequent speaker on the topic of using innovation to drive growth. Prior to Jump, he worked in community and economic development, providing technical assistance in finance, policy, and systems improvement to governments and non-profits. He taught at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and Technical Communications Program.


Helmut Traitler

Helmut Traitler holds PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Vienna, Austria. He was an assistant professor and a group leader of the research team for Westvaco.
In 1981, he joined Nestlé Research and became a member of the editorial board of JAOCS (J. Of Am. Oil Chemistry Society). He subsequently managed the project for low fat ice cream coatings at Nestlé R & D in Van Nuys, California, and the project for coffee extraction in Marysville, Ohio. In 1993, he created the Nestlé Technology Transfer Team in Lausanne, Switzerland, and later became head of the dapartment of Food Science and Technology. During this period he was also involved in and/or leading several development projects such as freezing extrusion for ice cream, generation of aromas above the cup in soluble coffee, and Nestlé “Pure Life” water.
As Director of Corporate Packaging in Glendale, California, he was involved with intellectual property in packaging, new ways of supplier audits and selection, RFID, and new designs for infant formula. In 2003, he became head of CT-Packaging, Nestec Ltd., in Vevey, Switzerland. Since October 2006, Helmut Traitler has been V.P. of Innovation Partnerships at NESTEC Ltd., in Vevey.


Helen Walters

Helen Walters is the editor of innovation and design at Bloomberg/BusinessWeek, where she has written about the intersection of business and design since 2006. A native of Sheffield, England, she moved to New York City in 2002 to found and edit the online, acclaimed, now-defunct design magazine, IDANDA.NET. Prior to her American life, Helen was the features editor at the British design magazine, Creative Review, for which she is still a contributing editor. She has also written for numerous international design publications and is regularly invited to take part in discussions about the goings-on within the business of design at conferences around the world. She has also served as a juror on a number of international award panels. The author of five design-related books, including a trilogy on contemporary T-shirt graphics and a collection of experimental animated short films from 1940, she has also written essays for monographs by a number of leading edge creative professionals. And, as if that weren’t more than enough Helen Walters for one lifetime, she tweets, @helenwalters.


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos