Natalie Nixon

Design Strategist, Figure 8 Thinking

Natalie W. Nixon, PhD is a design strategist and a hybrid thinker. She applies her diverse background in anthropology, fashion, service design, and dance to change lives through ideas. In her consultancy, Figure 8 Thinking, LLC she helps organizations design smarter processes and systems, build strategy, and develop leaders by teaching and applying the strategic design process. Natalie was the Founding Director of the Strategic Design MBA program at Philadelphia University and is a published author: the editor of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond and a regular contributor to online magazine on creativity and design thinking.

Her public speaking invitations have included the Business Innovation Factory, 360 Possibles (Saint Malo, France), Creative Mornings, TEDx Philadelphia, The Copenhagen Institute for Interactive Design, The European Innovation Academy (Nice, France), SEB Bank (Tallinn,Estonia), FUSE, and the Mayo Clinic's Transform conference.  

She serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Art Commission, the Arts & Business Council of Philadelphia, CultureWorks of Greater Philadelphia, and the Alumni Association of Vassar College.

Natalie earned her BA (Honors: Cum Laude) from Vassar College with a double major in Anthropology and Africana Studies; an MS in Global Textile Marketing from Philadelphia University (USA), Shenkar College (Israel) & Reutlingen University (Germany); and a PhD in Design Management from the University of Westminster, London.

Courses Taught

Instructor: Natalie Nixon
Course Section: 021
On-Campus Day(s): Friday
On-Campus Time(s):

Fall 2017 on-campus meetings will be held on the following Fridays and Saturdays from 2-5:30pm. This is a half-semester course and occurs second session, November 10 & 11, December 1 & 2.

Online Day(s): Monday
Online Time: 8:15pm - 9:15pm
Course Description:

Social entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders need an experiential methodology that equips them to do work that is adaptive and delivers value.  In a world filled with societal challenges that are complex and ambiguous, a problem-framing approach that embraces a systems perspective is essential. Design thinking is a problem solving methodology that is a critical tool because it is human-centered; values qualitative research merged with quantitative metrics; and applies prototyping of services, processes and experiences.  This course is structured for students to learn design thinking principles experientially.  Students will arrive at the class with their own social or “wicked” challenge to address.  This course is ideal for working professionals in the non-profit and social entrepreneurship sectors, wanting to apply a robust methodology that yields innovative insights and actionable results.
Learning Outcomes: By the end of the class students will have learned:
•    Basic principles of design thinking
•    Persona development and mapping
•    Framing and defining the actual problem and questions to address 
•    How to develop and test a prototype for a service, process or system
•    Initial model and plan for an actual project to execute and carry forward in their work environment.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829