Allison Ávila

Alisson Ávila has 25 years of experience in the fields of Research and Strategy, Innovation Management and Marketing and Communication based in Lisbon, São Paulo and Porto Alegre. Head of Applied Strategy of Nova SBE’s Innovation Ecosystem, Alisson was Co-founder of Couture, a pioneer company in Portugal in the field of Applied Ethnography and Business Anthropology – through where he managed to present the only Iberian project selected for ESOMAR 2017. He was also Co-Founder, Head of Business Innovation, and Communication & Knowledge Principal of collaborative consultancy firm Beta-i. 

Alisson is co-creator of the Co-Innovation Builder, a planning and managing tool for collaborative innovation projects validated by almost 3,000 people worldwide, and Strategy & Planning consultant for companies both in Portugal and Brazil. He was guest lecturer of Cross-Cultural Insights and Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Digital Businesses, and is creator and co-founder of Portugal Tech League, a platform for digital & innovation public policies. Besides volunteering at Tech4Integrity and Social Good Accelerator projects, Alisson is involved with the Art space as curator/developer of the international Visual Arts festival Loops.Expanded, in association with the National Museum of Contemporary Art. 


Sara Camnasio

Sara uses design to help people engage more deeply and more consciously with the world around them. Her work spans from integrating design mindsets into environmental and conservation projects, creating educational curricula to engage students on STEAM topics, to helping improve public and private services and products. She leverages tools and methods from human-centered design, participatory design, interaction design, and ethnographic research.

Sara originally started her career in science: she studied Physics at Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Hunter and conducted Astrophysics research at the American Museum of Natural History and at telescopes around the world for 5 years. After her undergraduate studies, she decided to dive into design, to apply design thinking methods to science and conservation projects. In 2018, she received a master’s degree in Integrated Design & Media from NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She’s been a National Geographic Explorer since 2015, and through this community, she has led and co-led several international projects focused on conservation and environmental education.

Currently, she is helping grow HCD and co-design practices at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in the US Federal Government. She also runs the Sonoma County Feminist Bird Club – a growing community of friendly bird nerds who care about the outdoors and social justice.

Mafalda Paiva Chaves

Mafalda Paiva Chaves is currently Team Leader for the Co.Innovation Lab, a member of the Innovation Ecosystem at Nova SBE. She has diversified experience in corporate innovation projects, both in open innovation and in-house ventures, through which she has developed a deep understanding of the challenges corporations face innovating their business models and adopting new technologies to keep up with market disruption. 

Having attained a BSc in Neuroscience at King’s College London and a Masters in International Business at Hult International Business School, Mafalda started her early career in management consulting in the financial services sector in a big four consulting firm, and lived and worked in five different continents. These diverse experiences have made her passionate about challenging the status quo and promoting unlikely collaboration, including that between corporates, startups and students. She is an expert in finding less obvious connections and bridging worlds, which is where the most unlikely but disruptive innovative opportunities lie. In her free time, Mafalda likes to practice yoga and Muay Thai kickboxing – (it keeps her balanced)! 

Rui Coutinho

Firestarter. Agent Provocateur. 

Rui Coutinho is the Executive Director of the Innovation Ecosystem at Nova SBE. 

Expert, professor-of-practice and consultant in the areas of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He also works as a mentor, entrepreneur and consultant, in several entrepreneurship ecosystems and with several startups.

Rui is a member of the Berkeley Innovation Forum and an external expert of the European Commission and the OECD for the HEInnovate initiative. He also  sits at the Advisory Board of Grow by José de Mello and the Investment Committee of Beta Capital.

Previously Rui was Executive Director at Porto Business School (University of Porto), where he founded and directed the Center for Business Innovation and their Postgraduate Program in Business Innovation. Rui was also part of the group of founders of the ScaleUp Porto initiative. 

At Politécnico do Porto, he founded and coordinated Porto Design Factory, where he managed more than 100 innovation projects with large companies. He collaborated with universities such as Stanford, Aalto, St. Gallen or São Paulo and joined the Design Factory Global Network and the Stanford University Global Alliance for Redesign.

Sameera Chukkapalli Holmes

Sameera Chukkapalli Holmes is an Obama Leader and the founder of Needlab, an organization that works to solve habitat and resilience problems in cities and rural areas. Needlab works with communities worldwide to develop human and environmental-centered architectural design solutions. They have completed 46 projects on four continents, directly affecting over 5,000 individuals. Currently, Sameera is working on “house for all” with migrants, refugees, and locals on one of the first participatory designs for a new, sustainably-built housing project. The project aims to help improve the integration of migrants and refugees through participatory collaboration. Sameera is the youngest architect to participate in Barcelona Design Week, UN-Habitat’s first assembly and she is passionate about making sustainable design solutions accessible to all.

Catarina Lisboa

Catarina Lisboa​ is enthusiastic about design and how it is used to help individuals and organizations understand and improve themselves. She believes in the value of working as a team. Her personal goal is to be creative and innovative with everything she does so that any challenge she may face is completed efficiently and with impact. 

Catarina has interest and expertise in Design Thinking, Innovation and UI-UX. She teaches since 2001 Graphic Design Project and Multimedia & Interaction Design. In recent years, she collaborated with UNIDCOM/IADE as a Project Manager and consultant in research and innovation projects, particularly in Graphic Design and Product development. She is currently the Head of Portfolio Management at Nova SBE.

She received a Degree in Visual Design (IADE, 2001) and a postgraduate degree in Graphic Design (FAUTL, 2006). 

Rui Quinta

Rui Quinta co-founded the fish shop Peixaria Centenária, the space experience design studio, Toyno and With Company, a Lisbon based transformative design company, from where he tries to help others better everything. 

He’s an invited lecturer of Futures, Strategic Design, Creativity and Innovation at ISEG and also teaches Design Management and Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. Since 2012, he’s been coaching teams on Design Thinking and Innovation with the Hasso PIattner Institute Academy from Berlin.
Rui have not lost the taste for big audiences and loves to develop content about the things he is most curious, passionate or knowledgeable about. As a result of that, he is been frequently assigned as a speaker in various events such as BCreative (in Seoul and in Shanghai), Startup Guide (Berlin), Ouirshare Fest (Paris) and TedX Lisbon. 


Joana Ramalho

Joana Ramalho grew up in a large family, so mediation has always been part of her life. She has been a volunteer on numerous projects with a strong human component, where she soon realized that quality time is the most valuable assetwe can offer others. Studied design at the Faculty of Fine Arts and recently took several courses dedicated to more Human Centered Design.

Worked for 5 years at professor José Brandão’s studio and has worked for the PÚBLICO newspaper since 2012. Manager and founder of the PÚBLICO Communication Office, she now coordinates a team that designs experiences (internal and external) that create emotional relationships with PÚBLICO brands that go beyond the simple consumption of the product.

Her three children inspire her daily to look differently at the world. She believes that children set the example of how we should live life: with emotion in one hand and curiosity in the other. 

Molly Ritmiller

Molly Ritmiller is the Design Lab Manager at the NYU Tandon MakerSpace. She has a background in industrial design, creative technology, and architectural research with a Masters in Industrial Design (MID) from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. 

Molly Ritmiller is the Design Lab Manager at the NYU Tandon MakerSpace. She has a background in industrial design, creative technology, and architectural research with a Masters in Industrial Design (MID) from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. 

Karine Sarkissian

Karine Sarkissian is a founding partner at Tamar Capital (2016), a single-family office based between the Middle East, the UK, and the US. She oversees the FO’s Impact and Venture portfolio. Designer and Design Strategist by background, Karine has extensive experience in social innovation for urban and economic development initiatives within New York City and Internationally. Leveraging her expertise, she co-founded Le Studio as part of Tamar Capital to actively support portfolio companies and investors alike through design, impact measurement, and strategy development. Since inception 2 years ago, Le Studio has supported more than 50 aspiring entrepreneurs across 4 continents.

Karine also co-created and co-facilitated the Open IDEO NYC Chapter, served as a Design for America mentor to graduate students within New York University, as well as a Hult Prize accelerator mentor. She often freelances as a graphic designer and illustrator, and spends most of her time outside or in the ocean.