Leticia Britos Cavagnaro
ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AND CO-DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSITY INNOVATION FELLOWS PROGRAM
Leticia Britos Cavagnaro is fascinated with how we learn and the dynamics of creative teams. Growing up, one of the people who influenced her the most was her basketball coach, who taught her that perseverance and team play can do much more than just win championships. In design thinking she has found the ultimate team sport that pushes her onto greater challenges. She’s not sure what the next play will be and she’s comfortable with not knowing. Leticia has a Ph.D. in developmental biology from Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Along with the degree, she acquired strong analytical skills -which she balances with creative thinking-, and the ability to learn from failed experiments. Venturing outside of the biology lab, Leticia found that designing learning experiences was just as challenging, and even more rewarding. She isn’t planning to give up experimenting any time soon though.
Leticia was Deputy Director of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which operated with funding from the National Science Foundation from 2011 to 2016. She is a co-founder and co-Director of the University Innovation Fellows program, empowering students to be change agents at their universities. She has collaborated with the d.school’s K-12 Lab and, as a former member of the Research in Education and Design team (RED Lab), explored how design thinking contributes to developing creative learners. As lecturer of Design Thinking Studio and Negotiation By Design, she witnesses the journey of students as they develop their creative confidence. As a result, bringing design thinking to as many people as possible has become a priority for Leticia, and she has worked with hundreds of teachers and students of all ages, as well as corporate and non-profit leaders in the US and abroad. In the summer of 2013, Leticia engaged thousands of people from over 130 countries in learning design thinking via an experiential MOOC.
Her favorite thing in the world is to act as a catalyst, creating connections between people and ideas, and building bridges between disciplines. If she were granted a wish, she would ask to bring her home country of Uruguay a tad closer to California. A teleporter to go back and forth in an instant would do too.