Ruth Schmidt

As Ampersand’s lead behaviorist, Ruth studies, interprets and designs to leverage human nature.


Ruth combines principles from behavioral economics with user insights, helping teams and organizations to create stickier solutions and increase user adoption. By revealing the why behind why people act “irrationally” or don’t do the things they say they want to do, Ruth takes the mystery out of why smart ideas sometimes fail.

But cognitive biases also exist in the world of 9 to 5… in addition to informing end-user solutions, Ruth’s behavioral design methods can also help executives diagnose organizational blind spots that impact employee behaviors and group dynamics.

With her additional deep experience in user-centered design and training in semiotics—which provides a lens into hidden-in-plain-sight cultural signals and power structures—Ruth helps companies effectively build innovation and advanced “design thinking” capabilities inside their organizations.

Ruth serves as senior faculty at her graduate school alma mater, the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago. She guides graduate students and corporate executives in classes and custom programming in Behavioral Design, Communication Theory, and Semiotics.

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