Nested Learning Collective

Nested Learning Collective began with a simple idea: rally around our educational communities and provide relief to educators tasked with rapidly adapting their classrooms for the Fall. Nested is a COVID-19 relief organization that focuses on postsecondary educators, students, and their families. Along with our efforts, we hope to highlight and promote related initiatives targeting secondary schools. Altringer started the collective because our educational communities are struggling. Teachers, like all of us, are dealing with COVID-19 at work and at home. On top of this, many are now juggling a double duty workload. Adapting live classes to be exciting via Zoom is time consuming and difficult to do well. At the same time, schools are facing severe budget cuts, and some may not survive. Even if universities remain open, many students will avoid in-person classes, and professors will effectively have to run both a live and virtual version of their class. Nested's volunteer community of educational leaders and technologists finds, tests, and recommends engaging, modular, ready-to-incorporate, inexpensive, home-appropriate activities, projects, audio stories, tools, and more. Learn more or join our efforts .

Design Lab at Harvard: Product Design and Innovation Theory and Active Learning

We help people create more desirable products and services based on behavioral research and run studies to improve research, practice, and curriculum for design and engineering. The Design Lab is methods-agnostic (Human-centered design, lean startup, user experience, large scale behavioral economics trials, and other methods all have strengths and weaknesses); we adjust our methodology based on the problem goals and constraints. We define ‘Desirable Design’ as products and services that:

  1. Truly help humans by reducing stress and/or adding delight.
  2. Are as inclusive as possible and developed based on quality research.
  3. Feel organic and account for complex attitudes and behaviors, recognizing that someone who cares about the environment may recycle (+), eat a lot of meat (-), and drive often (-).


Product Design and Innovation: High Performance Teams

This longitudinal study examines differences in successful and unsuccessful projects in high performing innovation teams at IDEO with Fortune 500 clients. It contains in-depth qualitative and quantitative analysis of over 300 projects. This data provides a rare view of success and failure in the real-world complexity of innovation projects, which often involve multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural and multi-organizational collaboration. The ongoing analysis is identifying patterns associated with more (and less) successful outcomes. The work has been funded by the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching and the MIT International Design Center and the University of Cambridge. The original study inspired the development of several of Altringer's project-based design and innovation courses at Harvard.

Product Design and Innovation: User Values of Designed Experiences and How People Learn What They Like


This longitudial study analyzes large volumes of product and service review data for patterns in what values users attribute to designed experiences. Talks and workshops on this research can be arranged for groups outside of Harvard, which helps fund the continuation of the research. See the 'join' tab or email ba[@] if you or someone you know would like to join our efforts on this project.

Altringer has long been interested in flavor as a metaphor for how people learn what they like. Her design studio works on integrating scientific data on flavor with natural language processing analysis that can identify patterns or ‘genres’ of flavor experiences based on how ingredients and dishes are described, experienced, and discussed by experts, scientists, and everyday reviewers. Getting to the point of automated understanding of what people are intuitively searching for in a food or drink experience, regardless of the terminology they use to search for it, will eventually enable us to intelligently help people learn their own flavor goals and empower them to discover more experiences they are likely to enjoy. 

Design Community Professional Opportunity Board

We run a job board for current and former students, professionals who want to offer professional opportunities to them, and friends of the lab. Request to join.