Pontus Wärnestål, PhD

Short bio

Pontus Wärnestål (he/him) is an award-winning Service Designer and Human-Computer Interaction researcher, with 20 years of work experience in User Experience, Service Design, and Human-Centered AI. He is the author of 40+ scientific papers and the book Designing AI-Powered Services (available at Studentlitteratur in Swedish and English). Pontus is passionate about teaching and an experienced public speaker and writes about design, value, and AI. Since 2023 Pontus is spearheading the AI and Design track at Ambition Empower.

Pontus Wärnestål. This image can be used for speaker promotions.

Longer bio

During his Master studies in Cognitive Science at Linköping University, Pontus designed and developed a spoken dialogue AI system for Nokia Home Communications. The work transformed into his Ph.D dissertation on design and development of user-adaptive spoken recommender systems. After finishing his Ph.D in 2007, Pontus did Interaction Design and UX Design work for various clients, including Volvo Cars and web agency Daddy. He was co-founder and UX Lead of a tech startup before joining digital creative agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky Europe where he spearheaded the new UX department as Director of User Experience.

In 2012, Pontus joined the Informatics department at Halmstad University, researching and teaching digital service innovation. His work has led to award-winning research on peer support for children cancer-survivors (SIGCHI Honorable Mention Award 2014, Livestrong Innovation Prize Winner 2014, Svenska Designpriset nominee 2015).

Pontus created and directed the Bachelor program Digital Design and Innovation given at Halmstad University 2013-2016. As a passionate teacher he has received both the Accomplished Teacher Pedagogical Merit in 2014 and the Excellent Teacher Pedagogical Merit award in 2019.

Between 2016-2022 Pontus worked as Design Director with a focus on Service Design and Human-Centered AI at design agency inUse in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.

Pontus earned the Associate Professor (Docent) degree in June 2018 at Halmstad University where he is working on education programs in the intersection of Service and UX Design and Artificial Intelligence. He is also one of the creators of the AI.m program. In 2022, Pontus became Adjunct Professor at Woxsen University in India. He occasionally writes about design and innovation on Medium. Pontus’ book “Design av AI-drivna tjänster” came out in Swedish in 2021 and the English version “Designing AI-Powered Services” was released in September 2022. Starting in June 2023 Pontus is spearheading the AI and Design track at Ambition Empower.


Speaker engagements via Athenas.