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Alyson Yamada is a Principal Designer and Project Lead at IDEO's Cambridge studio. She is fascinated by how we experience the built environment— how its design affects our choices, nudges our habits, and impacts our thinking. This intersection of physical expression and human motivation is core to her work. Alyson's expertise lies in helping clients translate qualitative design research into tangible product development strategies. While at IDEO, she has partnered with a tactical knife company to launch an approachable line of multi-tools, invented a new nail polishing experience for cosmetics aficionados, and imagined medical devices, connected homes, and children's toys of the future. Alyson joined IDEO Palo Alto in 2013 as a mechanical engineer, before joining the Cambridge studio in 2017. She holds a B.S./M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design from Stanford University, where she first fell in love with the “build-to-think” mentality through her work with the Product Realization Lab. In a past life, Alyson was a ballet dancer with The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet. An injury ended her career but, ultimately, led her to engineering in her quest to learn the limitations of the human body. Today, when not tinkering with IDEO teams, Alyson can be found reunited with her love of movement, music, and performance as a spinning instructor.