Design4Health CONFERENCE + Journal 2018-19 : Strategic Design and the Future of Work-and-Wellness

Strategic Design and the Future of Work-and-Wellness

Co-Authors: Rhea Alexander, Founder and Director of Parsons ELab and Assistant Professor of Strategic Design and Management, Aaron Fry, Associate Professor of Design Strategies and Research Assistants Aryanna Martin and Vinay Kumar Mysore.

Publication Number: ISSN: 2473-5132

Keywords: Strategic design; Wellness innovation; Design entrepreneurship; Millennials; Wellness


By 2015, 53.5% of U.S. workforce participants were Millennials; a majority that will grow over the next few decades as this generation influences economic development. Here we highlight Millennial workers’ prioritization of purposeful work, values-driven corporate citizenship, and work-life balance, arguing that start-up business entrepreneurship, coupled with strategic design promise to play an important role in reimagining workplace wellness for this generation. We discuss the role of strategic design innovation in the entrepreneurial context, presenting key insights about the design process derived from interviews with six Millennial generation start-up founders-graduates of Parsons’ Entrepreneur’s Lab incubator-who deploy design methods and tools in a business context to re-imagine and innovate ‘human capital’ wellness and work environment.

Alexander and Fry represented ELab in November 2017, when they submitted an extended abstract and presentation request, subsequently accepted to the Design4Health conference at Swinburne in Melbourne, Australia on December 4-7, 2017. The two presented a deck at the conference and the findings presented, titled “Strategic Design and the Future of Work-and-Wellness,” has been submitted in January 2018 for the Taylor and Francis Journal Design for Health – a rigorous double-blind peer-reviewed journal. The submission is comprised of a 47-page paper that includes 5 case studies and data from 5 companies out of the ELab.