Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Toshiharu Taura, Kobe University
Title: What is Creative Design Thinking for Innovation?

Abstract: In this talk, I am going to discuss the essence of Creative Design Thinking for Innovation. First, I begin by saying that creativity for innovation can be classified into two types: the nine-dots-problem type and the synthetic type. I will be focusing on the latter. Second, I provide an outline of synthesis in the design thinking process by referring to the two-concept combining process in design thinking. Third, I discuss the origin of synthesis by arguing that intuition is key to process of synthesis. Finally, I summarize by saying that Creative Design Thinking for Innovation is closely related to notions of synthesis and intuition.

Toshiharu Taura is the director of the Integrated Research Center and a professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Kobe University. He received his B.S., M.S., and Dr. Eng. Degrees from the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1977, 1979, and 1991, respectively. After serving as a mechanical engineer at the Nippon Steel Corporation and as an associate professor at the University of Tokyo, Taura joined Kobe University in 1999. Focusing his research interest on engineering design, he went on to understand the general terms of design, paying particular attention to industrial design, art, technology, and cognitive science. He has been a key figure in the academic field of Design Creativity and has led several interdisciplinary discussions on this topic. In 2007, he founded the Design Creativity Special Interest Group as part of the Design Society and organized the First International Conference on Design Creativity in 2010 in Kobe, Japan. He launched the International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation in 2013 and serves as its editor-in-chief.

Dr. Randii Wessen, JPL Innovation Foundry, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Gegenheimer Lecture Series on Innovation

Title: The Innovation Foundry’s Architecture Team – Identifying Tomorrow’s Space Missions Today

Abstract: The JPL Innovation Foundry has established a new approach for exploring, developing and evaluating early concepts called the Architecture Team (A-Team).  The A-Team combines innovative collaborative methods with subject matter experts and analysis tools to help mature mission concepts.  This presentation will describe the motivation for establishing the A-Team, it’s structure & operations, and a brief look at some future space mission concepts.


Dr. Wessen has been an employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1984 March.  He is currently the Lead Study Architect for JPL’s Innovation Foundry’s A-Team.  Prior to this, Dr. Wessen has worked with several mission and program areas at JPL including System Engineer in the Astrophysics division, Telecommunications & Mission Systems Manager in the Deep Space Antenna Network serving Mars missions, Manager of the Cassini Science Planning & Operations, the Galileo Deputy Sequence Team Chief, and the Voyager Science Sequence Coordinator for the Uranus & Neptune encounters.

Dr. Wessen received his Bachelors of Science in both Physics & Astronomy from Stony Brook University, a Masters of Science in Astronautics from the University of Southern California, and a Doctorate in Operations Research from the University of South Wales, United Kingdom.  He co-authored the books “Neptune: the Planet, Rings and Satellites” & “Planetary Ring Systems.”  He was the recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for his contributions to the Voyager 2 Neptune Encounter and has eleven NASA Group Achievement Awards.  Dr. Wessen is also a fellow of both the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Interplanetary Society and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics. Asteroid 31664 (Randiiwessen) is named in his honor.

Dr. Ashok Goel, Georgia Institute of Technology

Title: Cognitive, Collaborative, Conceptual, Conversational and Creative: Five Characteristics of Next Generation CAD Systems

Abstract: We envision that the next generation of intelligent CAD systems will be characterized by five features: they will be based on cognitive accounts of design, interaction with them will be conversational, and they will support collaborative design, conceptual design, and creative design. In this talk I will describe our work on computational design along these five dimensions.


Ashok Goel is a Professor of Computer Science in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, with adjunct appointments in Georgia Tech’s School of Computational Science and Engineering and School of Mechanical Engineering. He is Director of the School’s Design & Intelligence Laboratory and the Ph.D. Program in Human-Centered Computing. He is a Co-Director of the Institute’s Center for Biologically Inspired Design and a Fellow of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems. He is also the President of the Board of Directors of The Biomimicry Institute. Ashok conducts research into artificial intelligence, cognitive systems, computational creativity, and design computing and cognition. He is the Editor-in-Chief of AAAI’s AI Magazine and an Associate Editor of Design Research Society’s Design Science Journal. He is also the primary architect of Jill Watson, the virtual teaching assistant for Georgia Tech’s online MS in CS program.

You can learn more about Dr. Goel and his research at the Design & Intelligence Lab website.