Barbara Knickerbocker Beskind

Barbara Knickerbocker Beskind, 91, works with IDEO, a global design company. Beskind specializes in design for older adults, bringing a personal perspective to the work. She can tell young designers what it’s like to have macular degeneration, for instance, or that people she knows have a real fear of falling and need tools and products to prevent and soften potential falls.

In her early career, Beskind made her mark as an occupational therapist (women generally couldn’t get the engineering degrees needed to become designers in those days). She developed inflatable equipment that helped children who needed it develop their balance.

Beskind now designs products for her peers. Hers was one of the most memorable quotes at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging when she said simply, “Design with, not for.”

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