Vivek Rao


Executive Director, Design & Technology Innovation Master's Program

research keywords: Engineering Design Theory and Methodology; Product Design, Development & Innovation; Emerging Technologies in Design; Sociotechnical Systems Design; Human-Computer Interaction; Sustainability; Water and Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure and Technology. 

Vivek Rao is joining Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering to develop and launch the new Masters of Engineering in Design and Technology Innovation within the Institute of Enterprise Engineering. Prior to joining Duke, Vivek spent five years at the University of California, Berkeley (UC-Berkeley). There, he held joint appointments as a professional faculty member in the Haas School of Business, teaching design, entrepreneurship, innovation, and foresight across the school's three flagship MBA programs; as a postdoctoral researcher in Mechanical Engineering, where he authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles in engineering design theory and methodology and related fields and was responsible for substantial external and internal grant funding; and as an inaugural faculty member of the Berkeley Masters of Design program in the College of Engineering, where he developed and taught foundational courses of the degree. 

His innovation and R&D experience spans products, services, organizational transformation, and infrastructure, in public sector, startup and large corporate contexts in addition to academic environments. He maintains an active consulting practice, working with clients ranging from pre-seed startups to the US Department of Defense. Before returning to academia, he worked as a designer and strategist at IDEO, where he helped Fortune 500 clients innovate in sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals to furniture, and as a process R&D engineer at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Wastewater Enterprise. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD, all in Mechanical Engineering, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Executive Director of the Design Thinking and Technological Innovation Master Program
  • Executive In Residence in the Engineering Graduate and Professional Programs

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 110 Science Drive, Box 90271, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 6124
  • Email Address:


  • D.Phil. University of California, Berkeley, 2018
  • M.S. University of California, Berkeley, 2012
  • B.S. University of California, Berkeley, 2007

Courses Taught

  • DESIGNTK 590: Advanced Topics in Design and Technology Innovation

Representative Publications

  • Kwon, E; Rao, V; Goucher-Lambert, K, Understanding inspiration: Insights into how designers discover inspirational stimuli using an AI-enabled platform, Design Studies, vol 88 (2023) [10.1016/j.destud.2023.101202] [abs].
  • Wang, Y; Goridkov, N; Rao, V; Cui, D; Grandi, D; Goucher-Lambert, K, Embedding Experiential Design Knowledge in Interactive Knowledge Graphs, Journal of Mechanical Design, vol 145 no. 4 (2023) [10.1115/1.4056800] [abs].
  • Moore, G; Rao, V; Goucher-Lambert, K; Agogino, A, JOURNEY MAPPING THE VIRTUAL DESIGN THINKING EXPERIENCE: ENGAGING STUDENTS ACROSS DISCIPLINES IN HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN, Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference, vol 6 (2023) [10.1115/detc2023-108817] [abs].
  • Rao, V; Dzombak, R; Dogruer, D; Agogino, A, Project-Based Learning in Disaster Response: Designing Solutions with Sociotechnical Complexity, Proceedings of the Design Society, vol 2 (2022), pp. 2373-2382 [10.1017/pds.2022.240] [abs].
  • Goridkov, N; Rao, V; Cui, D; Grandi, D; Wang, Y; Goucher-Lambert, K, CAPTURING DESIGNERS’ EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE IN SCALABLE REPRESENTATION SYSTEMS: A CASE STUDY OF KNOWLEDGE GRAPHS FOR PRODUCT TEARDOWNS, Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference, vol 6 (2022) [10.1115/DETC2022-90697] [abs].