Roles and Interactions between Design, Technical Innovation and Business Relevance

What can we learn across industries?

Event Details


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


August 14, 2008 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

Innovation can reduce costs and grow corporate value.  It is one of the most important criteria investors look for in a company.  Most Fortune 500 companies even assign a dollar figure to it in their annual reports and websites.  A study by Ernst & Young Cap Gemini reports that some experts estimate that innovation accounts for about 7.5% of a company’s total market value. How does design fit in? Does design matter? What is the ROI? How do you measure the impact of design to your business relevance?

This event is co-hosted by the Greater Zurich Area, with the support of Presence Switzerland.


6:30 – 7:15 pm doors open, networking reception
7:15 – 8:15 pm roundtable discussion, Q&A;’s with panelists:
Pramod John, VP, Service Innovation Business Technology, McKesson Pharmaceutical
Sebastiaan la Bastide, Head of New Concept Incubator, Roche Diagnostics
Nikolaus Hafermaas, Dean of Communication Design, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena\
Helmut Traitler, VP Innovation Partnerships, Nestle
Yves Behar, President & Creative Director, fuseproject
Moderated by Reena Jana, BusinessWeek
8:15 – 9:30 pm more networking with food and drinks


Yves Behar

Yves Behar is the founder of the San Francisco design studio, fuseproject.  Yves is focused on humanistic design and the “giving” element of his profession, with the goal of creating projects that are deeply in-tune with the needs of a sustainable future, connected with human emotions and enable self-expression.
For Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization, fuseproject designed the world’s first $100 “XO” laptop aimed at bringing education and technology to the world’s poorest children. Yves’ commercial projects set out to be equally impactful as exemplified by the Herman Miller LEAF Lamp, the Aliph Jawbone and, most recently, Y Water.
Yves’ work has been the subject of two solo exhibitions and resides in the permanent collections of international museums worldwide, including MOMA and the Musee d’Art Moderne/Pompidou Center.


Nik Hafermaas

Nik Hafermaas is Dean of Communication Design at Art Center College of Design, leading the departments Graphic Design, Advertising and Graduate Media Design.  With his L.A.-based company UeBERSEE, he recently designed and produced a major architectural exhibition for the Vitra Design Museum in a former supersonic wind tunnel. His large-scale environmental artwork PowerPLANTs for the City of Pasadena was featured in The Design Dozen of NEWSWEEK. Nik is also currently working on permanent artworks for San Jose International Airport, and Midtown Crossing in Los Angeles.
As former principal and chief creative officer of Triad Berlin, he and his two partners formed one of Germany’s leading design firms specialized in communication design. His clients include Bertelsmann Media Group, World Expo 2000, Deutsche Telekom AG, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Zurich Financial Services for the Swiss Expo.02.
Nik was Professor for Integrated Design at the University of Arts Bremen, and co-curator of the Berlin-based network Young Creative Industries. He is recipient of numerous international design awards and member of the AIGA National Board of Directors.
At Art Center Nik has created a new Communication Design curriculum. Pursuing the idea of the ‘wall-less classroom’, he regularly co-hosts transdisciplinary studio abroad projects that send students to work in places like Berlin, Copenhagen, and Tokyo. Recently, Nik hosted a series of funded educational projects for NASA, where students from various design disciplines conceived new communication design solutions for the space agency.  Nik studied Visual Communication and Architecture at the University of Arts, Berlin.


Reena Jana

Reena Jana is the Innovation Department Editor at BusinessWeek magazine and the Executive Editor of IN: Inside Innovation. Prior to this position, she was a staff writer on innovation and design at
Her writing on design, culture, and technology has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, and numerous other publications.


Pramod John

Pramod John is the Vice President of IT Strategy & Architecture for McKesson Pharmaceutical. He is responsible for the alignment of IT with strategic business objectives, architecture, risk management, strategic sourcing and M&A.; Pramod is also responsible for  monitoring and responding to changes in business and technology in order to ensure that the organization maintains its competitive status, as well as modeling and optimizing the “business of IT.”
Prior to joining McKesson, Pramod was the founder and CTO of PacketMotion, Inc., a venture- funded startup in the enterprise network information and policy management space. Pramod also founded netExaminer in 1999, which was acquired by SonicWALL.  At SonicWALL, Pramod was the Director of Software Engineering. In addition, Pramod has served as an Enterprise Consultant, advising companies such as Cisco, Barclays and Veritas. Before that, he served as Software Systems Architect at Lockheed-Martin. Pramod’s career includes over a decade of experience in high-speed systems architecture, software development, and IT operations.
Pramod has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Sebastiaan la Bastide

Sebastiaan la Bastide is Head of the New Concept Incubator for Roche Diabetes Care, in Palo Alto. This cross-functional innovation group is chartered to identify and develop new growth opportunities for Roche Diabetes Care. Before he started this group in 2007, Sebastiaan worked 5 years with Roche Diabetes Care in Germany and Switzerland, where he was a.o. responsible for strategic planning and program management for the Advanced Systems group. His current mission is to develop solutions for the type 2 diabetes epidemic.
Prior to joining Roche, Sebastiaan worked six years in the semiconductor industry, where he experienced a variety of different roles from graduate researcher at the Philips Research Labs to software engineer, project leader and product manager at ASML, a world leading provider of semiconductor capital equipment.
Sebastiaan holds a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, as well as an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.


Helmut Traitler

Helmut Traitler has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Vienna, Austria. He was an assistant professor & group leader of the research team for Westvaco in Charleston, S.C., USA, and in Vienna, Austria.
In 1981 he joined Nestlé Research in various functions 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 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. Different assignments in high pressure depositor in York, UK, followed.
As Director of Corporate Packaging in Glendale, CA, 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., Vevey, Switzerland.


Photo: Myleen Hollero