Peter Zak Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
College of Business Office BUS 308
Professional activities and areas of interest
Peter Zak is a design consultant, educator and empathic disruptive innovation coach. Peter got his first lesson in mass marketing as a packaging designer on Loblaws’ No Name and President’s Choice brands, which turned a nearly bankrupt grocery store into North America’s multi-billion dollar food retail giant. Peter was part of the core team which launched the global expansion of Walmart’s Great Value, one of the world’s biggest selling brands. Both retail brands launched thousands of packaged goods products, which were tested by fire in a ruthless mass retail environment. Both became Harvard Business School case studies.
Peter’s design consulting career includes 20 years of branding projects, working on global retail branding, corporate branding, media and user experience design programs for clients such as Advil, Astra Zeneca, Citibank, FedEx, Glad, Honda, Kraft and USA Network. He has applied his strategic skills to projects involving a variety of organizations, including startup companies, non-profit groups, major educational institutions and the North American manufacturing sector.
In addition to his consulting work Peter is an Adjunct Professor in the MBA program at Schulich School of Business. He has taught design and experience design at a number of design schools, including The Bell Centre for Creative Communications, York University Design Department and the Industrial Design program at Humber Polytechnic.
Peter’s design and innovation practice is complemented by his research exploring empathy based disruptive innovation and its business and social impact. In this ongoing project Peter has compiled innovation wisdom from contributors such as: co-founder of IDEO, Bill Moggridge; anthropologist Grant McCracken; VC and founding director of the HBS Life Sciences Project, Juan Enriquez; inventor, Dean Kamen; MIT Media Lab founding faculty director, Alex Pentland and the founder of XPrize Dr. Peter Diamandis, among others.
In his consulting, teaching and research practice, Peter continues to explore a life-long fascination with the persuasive power of user experience design to affect human behavior. His work and research are focused on the exploration of the links between design, innovation, cognitive science, technology and culture.
- Recipient, Masssachesetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President's Citation Award for research, media and branding work done on behalf of MIT Enterprise Forum.
- Recipient, Canada Research Council research award for examining for the relationship between branding and culture.
- 2010 | Co-Producer of Better World, Accelerating Lab to Market Innovation conference, at the MIT Media Lab
- 2011 | Curator of emtech MIT, the emerging technologies conference, organized by Technology Review magazine. This event gathered elite thought leaders of the tech industry, including: Media Lab's director and angel investor, Joi Ito; KPCB partner and Sun Microsstems founder, Bill Joy; SV Angel managing partner, David Lee; founder and CEO of Ion Torrent, jonathan Rothberg; founder and CEO of ZocDoc, Cyrus Massoumi; CEO of Siemens Healthcare, Dr. Gregory Sorensen; ARPA-R's technology director, Dr. Eric Toone; and president of GE ecomangination, Mark Vachon.