Joe is a nationally known industrial designer and former senior faculty member in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. As the head of the school, he was instrumental in orienting CMU’s design programs toward the integration of high technology with traditional graphic and industrial design. Throughout his career, he has been concerned that people have satisfying, aesthetically pleasing experiences with technology, especially as it influences ever more of our everyday lives.
At MAYA, Joe was one of the principal developers of Workscape, an interface metaphor for a software product that collects, stores, retrieves, and works with large numbers of diverse documents. He has also helped to guide the design of products in the domains of consumer electronics, interactive television, military logistics, fire protection, and computer peripherals. In 2012, Joe and co-authors Pete Lucas and Mickey McManus published Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology (Wiley). Trillions explores the emerging value at the intersection of design, technology, and business at the dawn of the pervasive computing age. It is designed to help us thrive in a world where trillions of computing devices will create extraordinary opportunities—in business, technology, and quality of life—and significant challenges.
Recently, Joe and his wife Sue founded the Ballay Family Fund through the Pittsburgh Foundation to advance innovation in education at all levels.
MFA Design, Carnegie Mellon University
BFA Industrial Design, University of Illinois
BS Industrial Management, Carnegie Tech
Places I’ve Lived
Western Pennsylvania, from a used-to-be mill town named Ambridge
Quote That Inspires Me
“The ultimate effect of shielding men (people) from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”
- Herbert Spencer
Books I Love
Very eclectic. I really enjoy the history of science and technology because it maintains my perspective on humankind’s eternal struggle to understand how the world works. But then I also read murder mysteries as sort of mental chewing gum.
I also read a lot of maps — because they tell stories spatially rather than linearly.
Earliest Memory of Using Something High-Tech
Shortly after the Second World War, I recorded voices with my uncle — on his brand new wire recorder.
First Thing I Built
When I was a kid I built a LOT of things, mostly model airplanes, but furniture, and devices too. This was probably the most important part of my education. I still have some of the stuff.