Ken Fry

Ken Fry

Thursday, March 5th, 7:00 – 9:45 pm

The Future of Our Digital Possessions, Memories, and Moments

In The Duncan Anderson Design Department Gallery at California State University, Long Beach
6241 East University Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815
Park in the Foundation Lot across from the Design Department main entrance – $5

Three interrelated technology waves – cloud, mobile, and social communications – are collectively driving generational changes to our cultural landscape.  Examples of these changes spring up every day.  We listen to our music using cloud based streaming services, engage in personal communications using social media services, and preserve our digital memories using online storage services.  But the designers of these experiences risk building the modern equivalent to the “horseless carriage” by relying on old models and metaphors.  The future of our digital things depends on our ability to shatter old metaphors and actively shape the technology that will transform our culture in fundamental ways.

In this presentation, Fry will discuss how major shifts in our technology, culture, and policy are setting the scene for the future of collaboration and communication around our digital stuff, and the unique role designers have in defining that future.

Ken started his career as a designer for Microsoft where he held leadership positions on user experience teams for the company’s hardware and software divisions.  While at Microsoft he helped shape the design strategy that would transform Microsoft’s consumer software business.  He led large multi-disciplinary teams in designing the first Surface table concept, delivering the first signature concept PCs aligned with Microsoft Windows design principles, and evolving Microsoft Hardware’s design strategy from one-off products to diverse product lines.

As design practice director for Artefact (, Ken was frequently hired by companies to facilitate and coach global technology leaders to develop game-changing innovations on television, tablet, phone and PC technology platforms.  Today Ken is responsible for Microsoft’s cloud storage and collaboration design strategy as the Director of Design for Microsoft OneDrive.

Ken has gathered an impressive collection of awards, including FastCompany (nee Business Week) IDEA award, Design Zentrum Red Dot, and ID Magazine Annual Design Review.  He parlays his experience into helping others by teaching design courses at Seattle University and his alma mater, the University of Washington.  Additionally, he chairs the University of Washington Department of Design Professional Advisory Council, a consortium of over 25 corporate and consulting design organizations who facilitate dialog and collaboration between the university and pacific northwest design practitioners.  His articles and interviews have appeared in several publications including Business Week, FastCompany,, and the 2008 book Building Design Strategy edited by Thomas Lockwood and Thomas Walton.



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