About the CfC Team

The CfC team is a multi-disciplinary cohort of collaborators, driven by intense curiosity and a desire to help make the world a better place. We are joined by work study students and research assistants from all across the RISD community.

Justin W. Cook Founding Director

Justin W. Cook is the Founding Director of the Center for Complexity. He is a strategic designer working on the world’s most challenging problem sets, such as healthcare, sustainability and education. His passion is to tackle these systems challenges by designing innovative organizational architectures.

Until 2018, Justin was Senior Lead for strategy at the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra, where he spent a decade working to focus Finnish society on greater sustainability and human wellbeing. His portfolio included strategic design, urban systems, decarbonization, impact investing and the future of education. In 2018, Palgrave published his book Sustainability, Human Wellbeing and the Future of Education. While at Sitra, Cook was a founding member of the Helsinki Design Lab. In 2016 he joined the OECD’s Observatory for Public Sector Innovation as an advisor. He has worked with organizations such as the UNDP, IAEA, Special Operations Command, RI National Guard, Harvard, MIT, Johns Hopkins University, Google, IBM, Infosys, and Fidelity Investments. Justin holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington.

Tim Maly Senior Lead

Tim Maly is Senior Lead, Strategic Design & Communications. At the Center for Complexity, he is working on Nuclear Threat Reduction; Opioids, Care, and Addiction; the Future of Food Systems; and supporting our Research Assistants. A writer and critical designer, he teaches in the Masters of Industrial Design program at RISD, helping students understand the role of writing and speaking in a design practice.

Prior to joining RISD, his work focused on the small details and vast networks at the strange edges of architecture and design. He is a co-founder of the Dredge Research Collaborative and of Capybara Games. As a journalist, his work has appeared in Wired, Fast Co.Design, Medium, The Atlantic, Works That Work, and Urban Omnibus. With co-author Emily Horne, he wrote The Inspection House: An impertinent field guide to modern surveillance, published by Coach House press. He is @doingitwrong on Twitter.

Toban Shadlyn Strategic Designer & Researcher

Toban Shadlyn is a Strategic Designer and Researcher. She is leading the Design & Education and Opioids, Care, & Addiction portfolio work at the Center for Complexity. Prior to joining the CfC in 2018, Toban worked as an interior architect in Western Canada and most recently in Rhode Island, specializing in adaptive reuse projects for residential, commercial and civic spaces. She has also spent time working as a strategic designer with the Rhode Island State government, Rhode Island Public Libraries, and municipal government in Edmonton Alberta Canada.

Toban holds a Masters of Design in Interior Architecture from RISD, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta and a Certificate in Foresight from the Istituto Europeo Di Design in Barcelona, Spain.

Sahib Singh Strategic Design Lead

Sahib Singh is a Strategic Design Lead stewarding projects on complex spaces in Emergency Medicine, Civics and City Making, and facilitation practices for complex environments. He’s vested in how we see questions and connections which go unnoticed.

Translating across perspectives, Sahib has worked on multidisciplinary teams with organizations such as eBay, American Express, Genentech and the National Institutes of Health. He co-led a type-2 diabetes pilot project in Ghana on a team of designers, engineers, and social scientists in graduate school, and co-led the development of a prototype and patent as a hybrid team in high school to equip wheelchairs to independently mount sidewalks which lack curb cutouts.

Sahib holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Chemistry from NYU, magna cum laude, and a Masters of Integrated Product Design from the University of Pennsylvania.

Irina Wang Nuclear Systems Design Fellow

Irina Wang is a designer and writer practicing the creative work of cross-sector translation, the strategic work of systems transition, and the ethical work of forging allyship. As Nuclear Systems Design Fellow at the Center for Complexity, she supports the design and management of a portfolio of interventions in Nuclear Threat Reduction.

Her background in typographic, editorial, and book design started at University of the Arts London, expanded into independent publishing, and carried over to Pentagram where she led cultural sector identity projects like London Design Festival. Combining a love of letterforms, literature, and environmental philosophy, she began working alongside linguists and native communities to revitalize endangered languages and ecosystems. Irina obtained a Master of Industrial Design at RISD, interrogating the role of artefacts in changemaking and developing transdisciplinary approaches to urgent systems-shifting. At the intersection of existential risk and structural injustice, her current project mosaic spans equitable carbon sequestration, global security architecture, indigenous language sovereignty, queer futurity in classical music, and circular energy/food systems.

Julie Woods Strategic Programs Lead

Julie Woods came to the Center for Complexity and Strategic Programs in early 2019 to provide administrative and logistical support for programs and events. Her varied background—in education, government, community organizing, finance, real estate development and more!—quickly made her a valued member of the team.

Prior to coming to RISD, Julie served as a 3 term Selectman, and worked on economic and cultural development in the Blackstone Valley. She organized conferences on special education, co-founded grassroots organizations to support public education, and founded a speakers group on civic dialogue. She has also worked in real estate development and sales, in the finance industry, and taught English and Writing at Northeastern University where she earned her MA. Julie also worked at Fitchburg State as a researcher, and with graduate students as the editor of a publication on young adult literature. Her undergraduate work at Suffolk University was in English with a concentration in journalism. She has written for newspapers, radio, and magazines, and has been a writer and field producer for public access cable programming.

Current Team Members
  • Lina Lopez
  • Nick Larson
  • Ollie Rosario
  • Sophie Engel
  • Daphne Hsu
Past Team Members
  • Katie Cush
  • Charlotte Clement
  • Maddie Woods
  • Micah Epstein
  • Sruti Suryanarayanan
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