My work is an ongoing conversation between design, psychology, and technology. And I've always liked to make art in my free time. Thanks for taking a look around.
Brown University Professor of Practice Bio
Harvard University Berkman Klein Center Faculty Associate Bio
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Faculty Associate Page
Executive Director MADE Program
Office Address: Barus & Holley Building, 220 / Providence, RI
Emails: bae[at]brown.edu & bae[at]risd.edu
Download Academic (long) CV
Ames Studio: http://ames.studio
Office Address: Remote these days and in the process of transitioning to our new home
Emails: ba[at]desirabilitylab.com, b[at]ames.studio
Professor & Design Practice Bios
[last updated Oct 2022]
Professor BioBeth Ames Altringer Eagle is a designer, developer, artist, and Professor of Design Engineering at Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She leads their joint Master of Arts in Design Engineering (MADE) program. Prior to MADE, she spent 10 years as faculty at Harvard, where she developed design, innovation, and entrepreneurship courses at Harvard's engineering school, and helped them develop joint programs with the GSD (MDE) and HBS (MSMBA). An architect by training, Altringer Eagle started her practice in sustainable design in 2006. She learned through experience that complex sustainability projects require multi-stakeholder collaboration skills that are not taught in school, so she spent several years as an embedded researcher inside the world's leading collaborative design firm, IDEO, with the hopes of later developing courses to fill this gap. While finishing her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2011, she co-developed the 2025 sustainability strategy for Kering (the luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, McQueen, etc.). This initiative continues today, and helped Kering become one of the 10 most sustainable companies worldwide. She has since cross-trained in product design, UX, coding, graphic design, design research, game design, and digital arts, and counts IKEA, Uber, Diageo, Disney, Expedia, Microsoft, Bosch and General Mills as clients. In 2015, Beth was on the team that patented Gita, Piaggio’s award-winning autonomous carrier robot. In 2019, she developed Chef League, the first educational cooking game for learning to 'freestyle' with flavors without a recipe. Today, she works with artists and technologists on projects designed to increase creative expression, meaning, social joy, and resilience. She likes to make art in her free time.
My focus is on designing experiences and technologies that go beyond making life easy. Convenience by itself is a dull goal for life. I'm interested in design and technology that augments human learning and our capacity to experience regular moments of creativity, meaning and social joy.
A few highlights:
Founded The Desirablity Lab in 2014. Past clients include: Kering, Gucci Group, Uber, Puma, Swarovski, SABMiller, Diageo, IDEO, FIFA, Deloitte, Microsoft, Intel, E&Y, Onewheel, Stanford, MIT, the Knight Foundation, and more.
Created and launched Chef League, a mobile game that makes it fun to learn chef improvisation skills, in 2019. It was the first time a mobile game made it possible to compete based on editing recipes to make them tastier. It was also the first game to feature AI critics based on science-quality data. Both the scoring and the AI food critics were built on Flavor Genome Project data to help everyday people learn from chef and sommelier decision data.
Created and launched The Flavor Genome Project in 2015, flavor intelligence research software that provides new, computational ways of understanding, mapping and navigating human flavor perception. We initially worked with blind tasting experts, sommeliers, and chefs to build a strong taxonomy based on human expertise. Some early conversations can be seen in our Flavor Fluency video series. We went on improving the taxonomy and later building very large databases (e.g. 2.5 million recipes) of food and beverage flavors and their attributes. FGP has since been used as a backend to power smarter kitchen and flavor products.
Joined the founding leadership team of Piaggio Fast Forward from 2015-2017. Led design and behavioral research through the 2017 launch of our award-winning Gita and Kilo robots. I left PFF in 2017 to focus on interests in flavor, design, and education.
In 2014, rekindled a lifelong interest in flavor analysis and discovery from an earlier phase of life as a former champion taster. Created the Sensory Composition project in Italy, experimenting with flavor as storytelling.
Joined the founding team that built Kering, Gucci Group, and Puma's 2025 Sustainability Strategy in 2010. The team of five included the CEO of Puma, CEO of Gucci Group, Head of Gucci Group Americas, and a UN conservation specialist and me. Our work fundamentally changed the fashion industry. We studied and changed the ways designers made sustainability-related design decisions in these companies, and worked to make it easier for them. Most notably, we created a 10 million Euro Material Science Innovation Lab that all Kering brands could confidentially access (even while competing in the marketplace) and the first ever environmental profit and loss (EP&L) statement. The EP&L was later rolled out for all Kering brands and inspired other companies to improve transparency and supply chain management decision-making.
Education I completed my PhD in behavioral science at Cambridge University, visiting fellowship in HCI at Stanford University, postdoctoral fellowship in design at MIT, and masters degree in architecture. For years, I studied product design success and failure at IDEO and Fortune 100 companies, focusing on how top design teams can reduce their 70% failure rate. Before that, I earned a BS in psychology, and a BA in economics, from the Barrett Honors College at ASU.