Chris Cowart


Design Thinking

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Areas of Expertise

Future Forecasting  •  Design Thinking  •  Facilitator  •  Moderator

About Chris

Chris Cowart is a futurist, design & innovation leader, and venture investor.
Over a 14 year career at IDEO, he pioneered the human factors and user research disciplines in the design industry; launched many ‘first of their categories’ like Tivo and Handspring; innovated for big brands like BMW, Medtronic, Pfizer, and Walmart; established new IDEO locations in Boulder and Munich; founded the Health + Wellness practice; created fundamental content around behavior change; and incubated a number of successfully venture backed companies.

In 2014, Chris joined the Montage Ventures team as a Venture Partner. He engages in deal diligence and across the seed stage portfolio to advise on product, design, brand, and business topics. He served as Chief Product Officer for a Montage-incubated, Parasail Health, a startup aiming at the out of pocket health expenses. He also represents a Montreal family office in their technology investments, and is on the board of Kinetic Commerce based in Toronto, Ontario.

Chris currently runs an independent innovation consulting practice over the past 5 years and has led innovation initiatives for Change Healthcare, Stanley Black & Decker, Adidas, Mophie, Macy’s, VW, Specialized, The Tour Tracker, Maclean Fogg, Veracyte Diagnostics, and Nike.

He serves as design & corporate innovation faculty at Singularity University in Silicon Valley. He lectures frequently on design thinking and exponential technologies, and facilitates large workshop events. Chris also collaborates with the FWD team in San Francisco as Executive Editor for futurist content on sports and healthcare.

Chris received a bachelors degree in Human Factors from Tufts University, and a masters degree in business from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He lives in Woodside, California, with his family, where he serves as a trustee at Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park and on the board of Sutter Health Plans. Outside the office, he is a competitive athlete in cyclocross and enjoys kitesurfing.

tags: design thinking, innovation, future forecasting, future of sports, future of healthcare, workshop facilitator, keynote speaker

Exponential Thinking: A Perspective From Inside Singularity University, Samsung Forum

Speaking Topics

  • Design thinking and innovation

    This talk covers design thinking fundamentals and innovating in an exponential world; Over 15 years at IDEO, Chris pioneered design thinking, human centered design, and empathy-based design research. Design Thinking is an inclusive approach to problem solving and identifying new opportunities for innovation. You will hear stories from the field on how you might derive robust opportunities based on empathy with users, prototype for success, and tell compelling stories. We live and work in fast moving, exponential times – design thinking helps keep you nimble to respond.

  • Future of Sports

    Whether you are in the business of sports or looking to the future of sports to inspire your business sector, then this unique talk will be valuable to you and your team. Co-developed with award winning writing team who are all passionate for sports and futurism. Chris will present material that’s challenging, thought-provoking, inspiring and even unsettling, sparking conversation at every level of the sports world, and beyond. For example: Keynote speaker for

  • Science Fiction

    Science Fiction has been a great way to predict the future. Science Fiction Design Intelligence is a future-back approach to design, developed at Singularity University. Through the process, we create stories about possible futures and track backwards to identify the necessary next steps to make the future we choose a reality.

    In this session, you will:
    • Understand the power of science fiction for envisioning possible futures
    • Apply STEEP (Societal/Technological/Environmental/Economic/Political) variables to your work in order to develop more holistic solutions
    • Learn how to Retrocast from future concepts back to today to identify necessary next steps

  • The Future of Sports: From AR/VR for Fans to Machine Learning for Coaches

    Sports are a microcosm of our ever-changing world, a reflection of our broader society, and a lens through which to examine future scenarios. Athletic performances and the business of sports are under the microscope of global investors, talent scouts, and even fantasy football gamers.

    Athletics will dominate the world stage in 2018 with the winter Olympics on the Korean peninsula and the World Cup held in Russia. Which story will emerge — the political backdrop, systematic doping, or a stunning performance by an underdog?

    In this session, you will:
    – Understand the intersection of sports and emerging medical technologies;
    – Discover how the pros train both physically and mentally in order gain a competitive advantage;
    – Hear how machine learning is shaping how the game is coached;
    – Gain insight into why e-sports could be the future; and
    – Peer into new fan experiences powered by augmented and virtual reality technologies.

    Chris Cowart will show you a glimpse of sports and competition of the future — whether you are in the sports and entertainment industry, a committed athlete, an enthusiastic fan, or a student of exponential technology.

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