Research Narratives:
Transfer through Entertainment

New design research methodologies and techniques have increased in response to new business problems. However, there has been significantly less effort put into research transfer mechanisms, demanding additional responsibility on the field of design research. New measures of value will require not only successful design research, but also a cost effective transfer mechanism of that research into product development cycles.

Not long ago, a client approached BMW Group DesignworksUSA with the following brief: devise a method to transfer 2000 pages of research content, communicating very new consumer environments in under an hour to 15,000 corporate knowledge workers. Through case study examples, Bernstein will demonstrate how visual storytelling from the entertainment industry can be applied to increase the efficiency (speed of consumption: new requisite due to increased business complexity), impact (resonance of content and its consequences on development), and empathy (understanding of new markets: we are no longer designing for ourselves) transferred from research data to define design guidelines.


Alec Bernstein's position is an integration function for strategy research and business development staffs at Designworks USA.

Bernstein has more than 20 years experience in communications, interface/new media and advanced product development. He joined BMW Group DesignworksUSA in 1994 where he has lent his talents to a number of high-profile client projects, including BMW AG, Munich and SIEMENS AG Munich, and Nokia, Helsinki. Until 2006, he was the Director of the Advanced Communications & Advanced Concepts Department.

He created a multi-disciplinary team structure to integrate visual thinking and technical innovation development. Typical department projects include: Man machine interface, information systems, and advanced consumer electronic features in cars for BMW AG; and multimedia projects for CD ROMs and trade show films (Detroit Auto Show) for BMW AG, Nokia, Siemens, and many other clients.

Bernstein, who holds several patents in energy systems and interface designs, also has worked with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab on the Gossamer Project (brainstorming and visualization) and with Cal-Tech, Pasadena to develop a Virtual Reality Workbench. Some of his work has been published in Design Management Journal and Der bewegte Sinn through the University of Leipzig.

Prior to joining BMW Group DesignworksUSA, Bernstein spent nine years as a designer engineer consultant for energy efficiency product development companies in Washington, DC, working on energy controls and data collection.

He studied classical languages at Columbia University, earned a bachelor's degree in music composition from Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University and earned a bachelor's degree in product design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

His right brain is considerably more exercised than his left, a result of a continuous pursuit of creativity.

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