Researcher, strategist, idea generator, and alliance builder—Christopher Ireland started her career with the notion that businesses could benefit from a better understanding of people and culture. Her ability to create simple explanations of complex human behavior and to translate those insights into effective design and development strategies attracted clients from both technology and consumer goods companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Pepsi, Levis, GM and more.
As co-founder and CEO of Cheskin, a firm that pioneered design research in Silicon Valley, Christopher and her partners had ringside seats to unrivaled feats of creation, innovation, and reinvention. Beginning in the 1990’s, she led teams exploring topics like how trends move through the teen population, how music relates to mood, the history of residential architectural styles, the power of play, the cultural and behavioral differences of girls and boys, the emerging culture of “cool” in China, the development of trust online, and the meaning of color around the globe—to name just a few. She and her partners sold Cheskin in 2007, and walked away with their sanity mostly intact.
Christopher is a co-author of Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design and China’s New Culture of Cool. She received an MBA from UCLA and currently teaches leadership and design strategy courses for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program.