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Sheryl Cababa

VP of Strategy , Substantial

About Sheryl Cababa

Sheryl works as Vice President of Strategy at Substantial, a design and technology consultancy in Seattle. With a background in design research and strategy, she drives a human-centered design practice that is focused on systems thinking and ethical innovation, working on everything from robotic surgery solutions to imagining global health data services. She has worked with a diverse base of clients including the Gates Foundation, Microsoft, IHME, and IKEA. Previously, she worked at companies such as frog, Adaptive Path, and Philips, conducting qualitative design research and leading user experience design projects. She is currently working on a book about systems thinking for designers.

Speaking at the conference

Designing Backwards: The Raptors Are Loose: Design, Outcomes, and Unintended Consequences

The world has been jarred awake by tech gone wrong. We are realizing that the effects of our most celebrated products are not always positive – and that for every advancement, there is a potential unintended impact. Asking whether we should is just as important as asking whether we could. We at Substantial have been creating methods in our practice for having those hard conversations and connecting them to our work. The way to do this is to surface the outcomes – both the ones you want to happen, and the ones you want to avoid – during the creative process.

Q&A with Sheryl Cababa

Jeremy will take your questions for Sheryl.

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Integrating Systems Thinking with Design Processes and Methods

When designers focus primariy on users, we become susceptible to having a narrow point of view. When tackling complex design problems, the user is just a single player in a series of causal and correlating events. How do you go beyond human-centered design to approach systemic problems? In this session, you’ll be introduced to the tenets of systems thinking, the core methods that you as a designer can integrate into your practice, and creative ways to think beyond direct user experiences.


We have a range of passes available to suit every schedule. All the conference and festival content will be available on-demand for three months after the event.

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