Creative Strategist & Lead Industrial Designer at NASA JPL
Talk: Interplanetary Design-Thinking
Jessie Kawata is a Creative Innovation Strategist, futurist, and educator whose passion is to explore the way humans interact with space, science, and technology. As one of the pioneering forces of creative influence at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system, Kawata led industrial design projects at JPL and spearheaded the integration of design-thinking methodologies into earlymission formulation. In addition, Kawata was able to utilize her product design background from ArtCenter and business experience from INSEAD to introduce the role of industrial design into the innovation strategies of space technology development as well as the business of space exploration. She initiated ethnographic capabilities for Earth Science missions, design strategy for disaster response robots, and co-led revolutionary mission concept investigations like automaton rovers on Venus and interplanetary cinematography spacecraft. The footprints of her strategic vision for human-centered design also expands across the agency from NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Kawata was a co-founder for a mobile healthcare management startup prior to graduating and in 2016, she was given the Young Innovator Alumni Award by ArtCenter. Her work, vision, and personal career stories can be found in media such as NPR, KCET, TIME, Newsweek, and TEDx.