SF Virtual Design Conversations: 4th Episode


June 24, 2020,
12-4pm EDT



SF Virtual Design Conversations: 4th Episode

About The Event

If you haven’t joined us yet for our Virtual Design Conversations – you won’t want to miss this – our 4th Episode!

We have 4 new speakers who are innovation leaders from diverse industries and they’ll be having open discussion and Q&A with YOU, our audience, during this afternoon of insight, inspiration, and education on Design & Innovation.  If you’re  hungry for that kind of motivation and learning that only comes from connecting with your fellow design community – (and at 12 weeks into quarantine, who isn’t!) – this is the perfect opportunity.

Sundberg-Ferar is hosting this free virtual event on June 24, 12:00-4:00pm EDT to connect with and inspire each other, AND to have a bit of fun too! We all need to cheer up a bit, in this pandemic, and we, the design community, are the ones known for our optimism. This is our time to shine!

Join us and come away with fresh ideas for how you can apply the power of design in your day-to-day work – yes, even from your basement!

Scroll down to watch the recording!


“Industrial Design & YOU!”

Jeevak Badve

Principal + Director of Strategic Growth


12:00 pm – 12:15 pm

Jeevak brings energy, passion & curiosity to his role at Sundberg-Ferar. With his unique blend of education and experience in industrial design, engineering and business, he is a rallying voice for the alignment and optimal inclusion of the end user’s un-met needs, and unspoken wants in the core value proposition of a company’s products & service portfolio to generate sought-after shareholder value. Jeevak has more than 23 years of professional design experience, first in India for 7 years at Tata Motors, and then in the U.S. for 16 years at GM Design and now Sundberg-Ferar. Beyond his role at SF, Jeevak is a board member of many prominent design associations and think tanks including the Michigan Design Council, Aether Design Group, and Detroit Creative Corridor. He also served on IDSA’s International board for 6 years and chaired IDSA’s 2017 flagship International Design Conference: “Design IS Business”. In his copious amounts of spare time, Jeevak can be found indulging his love of kickboxing, and obstacle course running, or photographing birds in obscure parts of the world.

“The Next Generation K-12 Design Thinker”

Tim Anness

Head of Jeep FWD Exterior Design

FCA – North America

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm

Timothy Anness was appointed Head of Jeep Front Wheel Drive (FWD) Exterior Design in January 2017. In this position, Anness is responsible for all exterior design activities for all Jeep FWD vehicles for North America.  He reports to reports to Ralph Gilles – Head of Design, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.;

Anness has held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in the Product Design Office, including his previous position as Head of Advance Design. Anness joined the company in 1990 as a designer. His design portfolio includes the 2008 Chrysler and Dodge minivans, Chrysler 300C, Dodge Charger, 1999 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and concepts for Plymouth Prowler and Jeep Jeepster Significant elements of his professional include: 2017, Head of Jeep FWD Exterior Design, FCA – North America; 2009, Head of Advance Design, FCA – North America; 2008, Director – Advance Design, Chrysler LLC; 2007, Director – Project D Design; 2007, Director – Advance Interior Design Studio; 2006, Chief Designer – Advance Interior Design Studio, Chrysler Group, DaimlerChrysler; 2005, Chief Designer – Truck Studio; 2002, Senior Manager – Production Interior/Exterior Design; 2000, Manager – Production Interior Design; 1999, Senior Designer – Truck Studio; 1995, Senior Designer – Jeep Studio, Chrysler Corporation; 1991, Designer – Advance Studio; 1990, Designer – International Studio

“The New Normal”

Curt Bailey

Senior Advisor


1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

Curt’s 3 favorite subjects in high school were Art, Auto Shop, and Debate. His guidance counselor thought he would be great at haggling over the price of his paintings in front of a gas station. Instead he chose a career in product development. Curt was president of Sundberg-Ferar from 1992 until the end of 2018. He helped guide Sundberg-Ferar in its transition from a traditional industrial design firm into a full-service product development company. Curt has been responsible for corporate and project management, project definition, analysis and integration of consumer research results, concept generation and development, engineering and manufacturing coordination, vendor and customer liaison. He has spoken at numerous events on the process of product innovation and is named as primary inventor on dozens of U.S. patents. Curt is now an advisor to the Sundberg-Ferar leadership team.

“Culture By Design”

David Allan

Director of Design

Stryker Instruments

2:15 pm – 3:00 pm

David leads an award winning, multi-disciplinary design team at Stryker, a high performing MedTech Fortune 500 company. Stryker’s design team collaborates with clinical and technical experts to research & develop meaningful product and packaging solutions, that improve clinical outcomes in a wide variety of surgical procedures throughout the World.

Blending his global background in automotive, consumer, and medical design, David has a passion for demonstrating how Design can lead and transform the way companies work, strengthen the relationship between users & brands, and increase the bottom line. With many successful product launches during his 24yr professional career, David is driven by developing integrated, high performing global design teams that deliver value.

David lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and enjoys outdoor sports and adventures with his wife Tammy and two children, Isla (9) and Allister (11).

“Complementing Free Innovation – White Space for Design : The Von Hippel Principle & Some Cases in Point”

K. Venkatesh Prasad

Sr. Technical Leader, Corporate Strategy

Ford Motor Company

3:15pm – 4:00pm

Recommended listening: Honey, I grew the Economy (Ep. 399) – A Freakonomics podcast

Dr. K. Venkatesh Prasad is the Senior Technical Leader for Open Innovation and a member of the Ford Technology Advisory Board.  Effective January 1, 2017, he is also Ford’s Global Innovation Implementation Leader, Vehicle Components & Systems Engineering.

Dr. Prasad is known as Ford’s “What’s Next” guy, responsible for influencing both transformative and organic innovation at Ford. He was previously responsible for the research, architecture, standards, and proof-of-concepts development electronics and embedded software systems. His revolutionary thinking of a contemporary vehicle as an inter-networked platform-on-wheels in early 2000 has led to the successful development of the renowned Ford SYNC® system, which has directly impacted Ford’s present vehicle production.

In the early 1960s he was just a small boy in Chennai, India, who was fascinated with electricity. As a precocious five-year-old undeterred by his parents’ heed to not play with wires, Prasad conducted his first experiment with electrons by plugging two wet shoelaces into a 220-volt power outlet.

“That shocking lesson stays etched in my mind today,” he said.

Before joining Ford Motor Company in 1996, Prasad worked as a senior scientist at RICOH Innovations in Menlo Park, Calif., developing automatic “lip reading” as a novel human-machine interface. In addition, he was at Caltech and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where he worked on the world’s first telerobotic visual surface inspection system to help design the International Space Station.

Attracted by an open-ended challenge to discover ways to integrate “intelligence” into cars and trucks, Prasad joined Ford to work with a small group of engineers in the development of adaptive headlamp and lane-mark detection technologies.

“When I first met with Ford decision makers, they asked me what I knew about cars and I told them, ‘Not much.’ They said, ‘that’s who we need… we have 15,000 engineers here who know everything about cars and trucks. What we need is someone from outside our box to help us make our products safer, cleaner and the journey more fun.’ That intrigued me,” said Prasad.

As Ford’s “What’s Next” guy, Prasad in the late 1990s was imagining the vehicle as a software platform where features and services could be beamed in from the outside – without incremental built-in hardware. This was during the time when others were hot to find better ways to build in phones and trunk-mounted six-disc CD changers.

“In early 2000, formats started to change drastically – no longer were mechanical devices necessary to play music, only a piece of software. Everyone started carrying cellphones,” he says. “I envisioned transforming the move-alone vehicle into an inter-networked platform-on-wheels so people could use the devices they already had in their vehicle and reduce the steps needed to do things. Such connectivity required a revolutionary change of thinking.”

That revolutionary mind-set led to the development of Ford SYNC®. Software-based, the voice-activated SYNC system allows Ford and Lincoln vehicle owners to seamlessly connect to their cellphone, MP3 players and a host of other features and services in and through their vehicle – hands-free.

In 2011, Prasad architected OpenXC, the industry’s first open-source hardware and open-source software platform – an “innovator’s toolkit” – which launched in 2013 and today is one of the tools used by Ford employee-innovators to design, test and release products and by researchers and experimenters the world over.

He also co-founded Ford’s startup-lab in 2012 as a 5-person office; a year later it scaled to become Ford’s Research & Innovation Center Palo Alto and today is a 150-person operation.

Personal Insights and Fun Facts:

  • Prasad earned a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., in 1990, and a master’s degree from Washington State University, Pullman
  • Before coming to the U.S., in 1984, he obtained engineering degrees from IIT-Madras (1984) and NIT-Trichy (1980)
  • He is on the advisory boards of engineering departments at Northwestern University and Michigan State University
  • Prasad lives with his wife and daughter in Ann Arbor, Mich., and they enjoy hiking the world – mostly in the wild outdoors