Ela Ben-Ur consults, coaches and teaches in design research, strategy, and innovation through her independent organization, i2i Experience, with other senior IDEO alumni, and through organizations including Experience Point (IDEO’s workshop partner).
Prior to launching her own practice, Ela steeped deeply in innovation over thirteen years at IDEO — an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow — always focused on projects at IDEO’s leading edge as the company expanded its processes, the “products” it designs, and the people it reaches with design thinking.
As a project leader and then Content Guide, Ela led and coached teams through front-end user research, opportunity synthesis, strategy, concept development, and prototyping. Her work spanned products, services, and merchandising across diverse industries, in developed and developing markets, with for-profit and non-profit organizations. Whenever possible her work focused on positive change, including work around education, elderly independence, diet and diabetes for clients like Beaver Country Day School, Eli Lilly, PepsiCo, GSK, Lincoln Financial and GM.
Ela helped form IDEO’s global Leadership Studio for developing new project leaders, as well as the design research practice in IDEO’s Shanghai studio.
At IDEO and beyond, Ela has worked to share design thinking with professionals and young people by leading collaborative “transformation” and coaching projects, workshops, and courses with clients ranging from PepsiCo to Head Start, and at institutions including Olin (at which she is faculty), MIT/Sloan, Babson, Dartmouth, Harvard, and the International Development Design Summit in Ghana.
The bulk of her present work involves hands-on coaching of education-related organizations as they strive to do their wonderful work better with design thinking. Ela leads a Design Thinking workshop/coaching program for 10 schools in the New York area (now in its third year) and coaches individual schools as well.
Ela holds BS and MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she specialized in design and developed a force-feedback laparoscopy simulator for the Massachusetts General Hospital. The patented simulator is on display at the MIT museum.
Ela loves her two daughters and husband, running/hiking/biking/kayaking/skiing/traveling and making things with them, and taking pictures of all the above. And she fiddles (really).