Design Strategy + Innovation

Design for Philanthropy


Başak Altan leads the efforts in integrating design thinking principles into the curriculum of the Berkeley Turkish School,  a nonprofit she founded. She believes in the high value design thinking plays in early education and in building strong communities.

Başak leads initiatives in designing the nonprofit's day to day operational structure as well as creating the valuable partnerships and providing services to its extended community through community workshops, seminars, university engagement programs. One of these important programs is the partnership Başak has created between her CCA Industrial Design students with the Berkeley Turkish School community to design educational products that focus on teaching culture through creativity. You may see the results of this partnership in the examples of her students' work below.




The mission of BTS 501 (c) (3) is to inspire the children of the Turkish American community and aid in their ability to understand, speak, read, and write Turkish.

To learn more about this public charity, please visit here.


CHIME Xylophone


A study in the universal language of music

Inspired by the premise that language of music is universal, in the Spring 2017 Semester Industrial Design students Hugo Waldern & Xander Tocher in Başak Altan's class designed this collaborative music education tool for BTS. 

Chime Xylophone's goal is to enhance the class dynamic by encouraging children to both play individually and as well as in a team.

Desesn Blocks

DESEN Blocks


Connecting symbols from the past to the stories of the future

In this project Başak's CCA Industrial Design students of Spring 2017 Miles Callan & Cameron Putnam explored a modular system.

In this innovative playful learning structure, students could replicate kilim patterns and at the same time learn about the meaning of the symbols with a supporting visual card system.

Bina Brix for BTS


Teaching history through architecture

Bina Brix is a result of her Industrial Design students Isaah Jones, and Adrian Karaan's work during the Fall 2016 semester.

Bina bricks are an educational tool that feature 4 slits where connector pieces and attachments can smoothly fit to connect more blocks or feature a prominent piece.  These blocks are paired with a process book that guide the students towards their end goal of kids build Turkish architectures, they will also engage in creative play and learning.