We are researchers, designers and engineers who inform
and translate strategy to create breakthrough physical
products, digital products and service experiences.
We design products that are expertly positioned, technically differentiated, robustly engineered, easy to use and desirable. We give form to user experiences through products that deliver on brand messages and on brand values, hitting performance and cost requirements necessary for success.
Because more aspects of work and everyday life are mediated by technology, we embrace an ever-closer connection between the physical and digital. We take a platform-agnostic approach to designing digital products including hardware, software, embedded interfaces, displays mobile, apps and web-delivered experiences
Services are a collection of experiences that may be delivered to users through physical interaction with a product, in person, through digital media – or some combination. We design and connect customer interactions and touchpoints to make sure they work together to deliver the best service to customers.
Legrand North America and Essential won an International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) for the adorne collection. The adorne collection is a new line of residential light switches, dimmers, electrical outlets and design-driven wall plates. Targeted to both new construction and retrofit applications, the modular line is designed to fit existing electrical boxes, making it fast and simple to install or change a switch or outlet.The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) hosts the prestigious awards program.
Altec Lansing InAir 5000 Wireless AirPlay Speaker won a Spark Award in the Audio Component category. The InAir 5000 Speaker allows users to wirelessly stream music from their ITunes and iOS devices, using AirPlay. Designed to enhance the audio experience, the InAir 5000 omits sound out at a multitude of angles providing improved sound quality compared to traditional speaker systems.
Inspired by ideas and innovations emerging from research, clinical innovation centers, tech start-ups and service development projects, Scott Stropkay and Frank Moss discussed ways on how we use design and new technologies to bridge the gaps between the research and the delivery of innovative healthcare ideas to the market. They challenged start-ups to bring in new business models that both redefine and reinvigorate the future of healthcare.
Senior Researcher, Zarla Ludin, conducted a workshop for a group of user experience professionals on the topic of reporting research findings. Often tasked with doing “right” research, she emphasized tactics to conduct research in a way that is credible, as opposed to “right.” Attendees did their own ethnographic research project and participated in interactive workshop-style activities to create relationships with the data, and discuss meaningful research outcomes.
Dave Siedzik participated in MIT Media Lab’s Health and Wellness Hackathon as a User Experience mentor for the 6 selected project teams competing for the big win. Teams were comprised of professors, doctors, students and corporate professionals who came together to focus on producing commercially viable products for the healthcare industry. They were required to use a common platform for open source innovation and to encourage collaboration.
The Shure Axient wireless management system won an iF product design award within the professional audio equipment category. Axient is the world’s most sophisticated wireless microphone system, created to manage complex RF spectrum for the most high profile live performances. The platform of interrelated tools are used for the planning, setup and direction of wireless events. Top innovation for top events, from the Olympics to the Super Bowl.
Digital technology is transforming the healthcare experience in many ways: an app that converts the iPhone into a cardiac event recorder, smart shirts that monitor heart activity and connected prescription bottle caps that text when it’s time for a refill. Richard Watson was a panelist for CES’s Digital Health discussion on leading-edge products and retail opportunities in health and fitness monitoring.
On October 9th, 2013, Essential Co-Founder and Partner, Scott Stropkay and I (a design researcher at Essential), spoke with unique group of students at MIT’s D-Lab. MIT describes the D-Lab as “building a global network of innovators to design and disseminate technologies that meaningfully improve the lives of people living in poverty.” The semester long class has students in four project groups- each tackling a different design challenge (from bicycle powered recycling trucks to water purification systems). Scott and I were asked to speak about the role of design research in the product development process and how it could be leveraged within the context of D-Lab’s mission.
Skilled product design engineer with expertise in the development of medical devices and consumer products, from conceptualization to manufacturing. Demonstrated success in simplifying complex systems, in collaboration with cross-functional teams.
Prior to Essential: Optim LLC
Education: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Director of Research
Senior consultant leading Essential’s research efforts in product and service discovery and definition. Maps strategy opportunities and drives development agendas. Expert in the translation of user and channel inputs into design requirements for hardware, software, web interaction, device interaction, and service development projects.
Prior to Essential: Fitch, Scient, and independent consulting
Education: M.Des., Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology
B.A. Davidson College
Director of Marketing
Experienced and accomplished advocate for clients within Essential’s design teams. Directs Essential’s marketing and public relations to strategically position the firm’s messaging and offer. Danielle is expert in the art of aligning client needs with consultancy offers to develop effective marketing plans.
Prior to Essential: iProspect and Sappi Fine Paper
Associations: DMI, IDSA, AIGA, AMA
Education: B.S. Elementary Education, Green Mountain College
Cross-functional team leader providing design research and analysis for projects integrating interaction design, industrial design and design strategy content. Authority on interactive systems with mobile device-based interfaces and devices supported by web-accessible content.
Prior to Essential: Microsoft
Associations: UPA, IDSA
Education: B.A., English, Yale
Graduate Certificate in User-Centered Design, University of Washington.
Passionate and analytical designer focused on aligning the goals of users and businesses to create thoughtful solutions for clients. Skilled in visualizing the synthesis of conceptual and technical criteria into meaningful products and services.
Prior to Essential: Mechtronics, Tool., The First Years
Education: B.I.D. Syracuse University
Director of Business Development
Senior consultant leading Essential’s business development by focusing on building strategies that provide product and service solutions for clients. Gregg is expert in leading innovation teams and holds more than 50 patents. He is passionate about helping clients shape and define the best path to success.
Prior to Essential: Radius, IDEO, RISD, Robert Luchetti Associates
Associations: IDSA, DMI
Education: MFA, Furniture Design, RISD
B.S. Social Analysis, University of Massachusetts
Versatile, hands-on engineer with a passion for design. Specializes in the development of real world manufacturing solutions and strategic execution of engineering specifications. Skilled in the design and fabrication of electro-mechanical systems. Entrepreneurial tinkerer continually seeking better methods and solutions that inspire others and delight users.
Prior to Essential: Bioactive Surgical, Boston University Imagineering Lab
Associations: ASME, SME
Education: B.S., Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Boston University
Talented designer of complex technology-based products requiring a skillful balance of form and function goals. Highly experienced in the design of wearable, handheld and portable devices that enhance human performance and aesthetic experiences.
Prior to Essential: Design Central, Smartshape
Education: B.A., Industrial Design, Cleveland Institute of Art
Consulting Principal Engineer
Senior project leader with deep experience managing development programs for medical devices, healthcare product systems, and complex consumer electronics with demonstrated skills in managing diverse requirements across broad, cross-functional teams.
Prior to Essential: Fitch
Associations: ASME, Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council
Education: M.Eng., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Northeastern University; Medical Device Development: A QA/Regulatory Overview, Graduate Course, Northeastern University
Director of Engineering
Senior consultant leading Essential’s engineering development efforts. Advises clients on product development process and strategy. Authority in critical-path project management. Master engineering/development tactician; recognizing potential obstacles and leading teams past them for efficient and effective product development programs.
Prior to Essential: Fitch, a/d/s/
Associations: Society of Mechanical Engineers, Mass Medic.
Education: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Multifaceted designer of products, communications materials, and graphical user interfaces. Deep interest and expertise in trend analysis, color forecasting and color/material/finish definition. Creative and thoughtful in her design of web interactions, consumer products, toys, and soft-goods.
Prior to Essential: Worrell, Inc. and Little Tikes
Associations: IDSA, CMG
Education: B.A., Industrial Design, Cleveland Institute of Art
Certificate in Graphic Design, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
End-user focused designer of elegant product and packaging solutions. Generator and translator of consumer insights with experience creating innovations that have direct influence on the quality of the user’s product experience.
Prior to Essential: Smart Design, Carroll Design, Mattel
Education: B.A. Industrial Design, Cleveland Institute of Art
Accomplished product development professional advising clients on product portfolio approach and tactical product development issues in the medical and consumer product markets. Leader of cross-functional project teams and developer of sophisticated engineering designs. Manages Essential’s FDA compliant quality and risk management systems.
Prior to Essential: Proteus, Manta, IEC
Associations: ASME, SPE
Education: B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Boston University
Senior Designer and master craftsman in the development of computer-aided-design databases and other digital deliverables for clients. Recognized leader and consultant to various CAD software developers.
Prior to Essential: Fitch
Education: B.A., Industrial Design, Massachusetts College of Art
Molly is an integral part of Essential’s administrative team. Her strong people and organizational skills help to manage the teams and clients at Essential. In addition to being a great team player, her event planning experience and knowledge is put to use while assisting in running the office and managing several tasks at once.
Prior to Essential: Watson Adventures and J.J Vaccaro Inc.
Education: B.S. Nutrition and Dietetics, West Chester University
Strategist and human factors specialist merging experience in marketing and user research to create value for clients. Paul’s cross-functional experience has helped him excel at crafting intuitive and useful products. Passionately curious, Paul strives to find the root needs and desires of those who will ultimately use the product.
Prior to Essential: PUMA, Partners In Health
Associations: CHI, UPA
Education: M.S., Human Factors, Bentley University, MBA, Bentley University, B.A., Psychology, USC
Leading advisor to companies on product innovation and authority in the field of design strategy. Speaker on the subject of the business power of design strategy, design vision and trends analysis. Active and extremely accomplished designer of successful, award winning products.
Prior to Essential: Fitch, GE Plastics
Associations: IDSA, DMI, APDF
Education: M.A., Industrial Design, Manchester Metropolitan University, England
B.A., Silversmithing, DE Montford University, England
Principal Interaction Designer
Senior team leader driving user experience and interaction design content into multi-disciplined projects across a wide range of industries. Experienced information architect in web and mobile application design. Passionate end-user experience advocate.
Prior to Essential: The Barbarian Group, RDVO, Tank Design, WBUR & Razorfish
Education: B.A. Human Factors and B.A. in English Tufts University
Leading advisor to companies on cross-functional innovation; integrating management, marketing, r&d, engineering, and manufacturing goals. Speaker on the subject of innovation process. Design strategist to companies seeking new opportunity definition in product, interaction and service development.
Prior to Essential: IDEO, Gillette
Associations: IDSA, DMI, APDF, Mass Medic
Education: B.F.A., Industrial Design, Cleveland Institute of Art
Artful manager of Essential’s business relationships with clients. Guides Essential in effective and efficient business practice management to focus the team’s attention on clients’ priorities. Also manages human resources and staff development activities.
Prior to Essential: Fitch
Education: Undergraduate in Business Administration, Poole College, England
Anthropologist and human factors specialist focusing on opportunity definition and usability research. Zarla’s experience centers on mobile and web applications ranging from healthcare platforms to financial services. Accomplished in recognizing usage implications from behavior patterns and translating research results into actionable design recommendations.
Prior to Essential: The Design and Usability Center, Autodesk
Associations: UPA, ACM, CHI
Education: M.S. Human Factors, Information Design, Bentley University
B.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado