About Me

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I co-scope challenges with project sponsors, engage stakeholders to understand all points of view, highlight insights to reframe perspectives, generate alternative solutions and find moments to test ideas, iterate, build in feedback loops and develop plans of action to execute on ideas. Currently I am an experience designer for Kaiser Permanente. Previously, I was the Associate Director of Design for America where under my leadership the program grew from 40 college students at one university to 1,000 students at 29 universities throughout the US where interdisciplinary teams used creative problem solving for local and social good. My past work and students have been discussed in publications and blogs such as Fast Company, Chicago Tribune, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Core77 and more. I have given talks at conferences such as TEDx, IDSA, IxDA, Better Word by Design, and given workshops at college campuses across the country. I earned my masters in Organizational Change from Northwestern University and a BFA in industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design and have taught design and engineering at both universities.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Technology- distraction or documentation?

Addition: I later found out that Susan Szenasy included this email in the "Notes to the Editor" Section in March's Metropolis Magazine! Woohoo!

In recent email conversation with Susan Szenazy, editor in chief of Metropolis Magazine, my response to the question of whether or not our obsession with hand-held electronic devices are of pure detriment or serve some purpose in our society: 

One could argue that history books used to be written from one subjective opinion and typically the powers that be, dominated the school of thought as was seen with the books that I was raised with that contained a very western and caucasion perspective. With today's technology our history continually lives, breathes, and stays with us. Our online documentation tools are going to change the very method of anthropology, where the most interesting stories, and most viewed as submitted from the general public rise to the top- it is the truest sense of democracy. In line with Barack Obama, it does actually make more sense to have this historical documentation created by a view from All as oppose to a view from One.

I believe our blips are our contributions to this historical documentation as seen with PBS Frontline who have been collecting images of people's experiences on inauguration day, or Ushahidi, Erik Hersmann's company that allows individuals to text message in what is going on in their area during a political or environmental disaster, CNN's ireport and many other forms of news and history making with contributions from everyday people. People are writing their own history and one does get the sense that these individual stories can make a difference and shape our perspectives of society.

From a personal standpoint, with my family all over the world, I find documenting a personal experience that allows me to stay connected with my loved ones. With a brother in Japan, a sister in Nepal, and my mother in Mexico- when I document something, it's so I can share my small everyday experiences with those that matter most to me and I choose to use Facebook as an interface for this. So to each person's own little world, these digital files play great importance.

But again there needs to be a balance and nothing replaces face time. Everything in moderation right? It's true that if we dive into the excesses of this digital world, we will become too far removed from the real one. John Maeda talks about this and how he sees RISD as positioning itself to bring people back to the material and physical world, that we cannot allow technology to dictate our actions but we must find a healthy equilibrium between the two.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Back!

Okay, so it's been a REALLY long time since I have written here. Mainly because of the fact that I was wrapping up the Design for Social Entrepreneurship studio until December, traveling, including DC for the inauguration, and getting the ball rolling for my upcoming projects. But I am taking a moment to say hello and I will be posting some interesting conversations shortly. So stay tuned shortly!

In the mean time, check out the final projects from the RISD Design for Social Entrepreneurship studio here. The semester wrapped up fantastically well. RISD's DESE will be included in an upcoming article in Metropolis Magazine, I am writing an article about the course in RISD's publication- RISD VIEWS, and the Local401 project seen above will be used for RISD media pitches throughout Providence! Not bad!