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Elizabeth Gerber

Elizabeth Gerber

  • Associate Professor, Learning Sciences
  • Associate Professor, Design


Dr. Gerber researches design and innovation. She is known for her expert ability to develop rigorous theories and relevant applications at the intersection of human-centered design and organizational behavior. Gerber uses the behavioral sciences to understand and inform the design of innovative processes, products and services. Currently she is investigating embedding psychological primes into products and experiences to support innovative behavior. She publishes work relevant to the design, management and human computer interaction communities. Professor Gerber's teaching interests include design, innovation management and organizational behavior. At Northwestern. she teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on product and service design, which emphasizes the design thinking methodology — a human-centered problem-solving approach focused on gaining inspiration from human needs, working in diverse groups to generate ideas, and prototyping ideas for rapid feedback. She also advises students in the award-winning design initiative she founded called Design for America where students take on extracurricular design work to make social and local impact.


  • PhD, Stanford University, 2007
  • MS, Stanford University, 2003
  • BA, Dartmouth College, 1998


  • 2009 - Searle Teaching Fellow for leadership potential in teaching at Northwestern University
  • 2009 - Nomination for Academy of Engineering's Frontiers in Engineering Education Symposium
  • 2007 - Centennial Teaching Award for outstanding contributions to teaching in the Schools of Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, and Earth Sciences at Stanford University

Selected Publications

Chung, H. & Gerber, E. (2010). Emotional-Storyboarding: A Participatory Method for Emotional Designing for Children. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Design & Emotion.

Gerber, E., McKenna, A., Hirsch, P. & Yarnoff, C. (2010). Learning to Waste - Wasting to Learn? How to Use Cradle to Cradle Principles to Improve the Teaching of Design. International Journal of Engineering Education.

Gerber, E (2009). Prototyping: Facing Uncertainty Through Small Wins. Proceedings of ICED 2009.