design

Happy International Women's Day!

For International Women’s Day, I attended the Women in Industry event at General Assembly in NYC. Strong female leaders from Disney, Uber, Nike, and Dow Jones came out to represent and speak up about the importance of leading with inclusion.

Here’s a full house at General Assembly for International Women’s Day!

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It was also 2 of my classmates from Parsons’ Birthdays. So we took a Parsons Women in Design photo to celebrate the birthdays. Classmates from Colombia, Peru, India, Taiwan, and China all came out —and I was one of the few Americans.

I’m hoping to create a platform for voices of classmates at my Parsons Masters of Strategic Design program to talk about their life experiences, stories, design, and what drew them to Parsons in the new future. Look forward to my attempt to define inclusion and diversity at Parsons through new media coming soon!

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Thanks! Feedback and Iterative Design

November means it’s almost Thanksgiving! Around Thanksgiving, I like to reflect over the past year and think about what’s great, what could have been improved, and overall highlights. Think of it like a yearly progress report.

For me, feedback is a really important part of learning. How can I grow? How can I develop? What skills can I gain? What am I good at? These are a few questions I try to ask myself to learn more about how I can be better. In school, when students are measured on a metric of grades, perfection is the goal. But in seeking feedback, I’m looking more for what I’m good at, and how I can substantively improve…and iterate my life accordingly!

We’ll start with the good. This year, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about my IGTV videos, ability to learn digital marketing and branding, and skills in synthesis and facilitation. Further, I’ve started tracking food and money —learning more about myself and creating actionable insights of how I plan my week. I’ll consider those my pro’s.

I also have learned that I want to learn more in the areas of presenting more, leadership, and communication. Something I picked up from a friend at a hackathon is perhaps a bi-weekly check-in about “How am I doing on a scale of 1-10?” and following up with “How can I be a 10?” to get more imminent, actionable feedback.

Will end on a few things I’m grateful for this holiday season:

  • Family (spouse, parents, brothers, cousins coming out to support me)

  • Self-Awareness (to reflect on and learn more about myself)

  • Good Coffee (for the last push of the semester for grad school!)

Negotiation, Shared Economy, and Design's Role in New Economies

From my Parsons classes and readings, I have been thinking about design at a higher level: within teams, a firm, and at the economic (theoretical) level.

In Managing Creative Teams, we discussed Negotiation and Managing Difficult Conversations. Strategies were discussed in figuring out the other party’s interest and best alternatives in aligning interests.

The class discussion analyzed the role of designers in consultancies/agencies, companies, and startups. The class validated ideas that the UX-er in a large company often played the role of Product Manager and designers could only be “true designers” in a consultancy/agency model.

In Sustainable Business Models, I analyzed the linear model and our movement towards a more circular economy, where resources are shared. If you think about the Shared Economy, Rent the Runway is a business model that circulates clothing, saves resources, AND profits. A win on all ESG (Economic, Social, and Governance) pillars.

I looked at the supply chain of a LC4 Le Corbusier chair. Furniture is not that circular because it is constantly being thrown out when New Yorkers move.   But I do see LC4 and Eames chairs pop up at consignment stores, so perhaps certain types of collectibles are circular. Consider the vintage economy.

I looked at the supply chain of a LC4 Le Corbusier chair. Furniture is not that circular because it is constantly being thrown out when New Yorkers move.

But I do see LC4 and Eames chairs pop up at consignment stores, so perhaps certain types of collectibles are circular. Consider the vintage economy.

From the New Economies course, we studied the idea of Redefining Capitalism. I really liked this perspective because capitalism is often cast as evil/profiteering, but reframing capitalism in terms of ways to find solutions is a way designers can work for positive change (hey sustainability!).

We looked at technology and how it may have brought up more problems, despite finding solutions. How are problems weighed? What problems are considered more important? Something like climate change is a big problem but how to go about addressing these problems?

My take: (1) Capitalism drives (2) Industry, which innovates through (3) Techology where (4) ideas are created and (5) converge (come together) to (6) eventually find solutions.  If there are no solutions, as designers, we iterate, iterate, iterate.

My take: (1) Capitalism drives (2) Industry, which innovates through (3) Techology where (4) ideas are created and (5) converge (come together) to (6) eventually find solutions.

If there are no solutions, as designers, we iterate, iterate, iterate.

Week 1: MS Strategic Design + Management @ Parsons

Just started my part-time MS of Strategic Design and Management at Parsons this week. It's been a bit hectic figuring my schedule because my Thursday section was cancelled, but I think I've landed on a final schedule!

Here are the classes I am taking for my Fall semester:

Managing Creative Teams
I'm really interested in this course because it's directly related to what I'm doing right now. Our Week 1-2 readings involve Lean UX and Getting to Yes. The projects seem to involve service design and I'm excited to form and meet my team because I'll be able to practice skills I will hopefully be able to take to working with project teams in the future.

Sustainable Business Models
This is a higher-level class that focuses on the firm-level. During my first class, we had a roundtable discussing the ideas of sustainability and how there is a tension between being able to last and adapting through changes. This is a toughie because older companies tend to have legacy systems that are resistant to change...so is the solution to work with younger companies or tech companies that embrace innovation?

SD + M New Economies
New Economies embraces strategic design at a macro level --the economy. During the first class, we looked at a nonprofit's business model and whether it would work in a corrupt country. We considered systems and how design might be able to play a role in effecting a change...whether a small change can make a big change. Or whether big changes can effect wide-scale behavioral changes.

There's been a lot of reading this week and I feel that I'm learning a lot of economics and theory. I was a women's studies major, so my background about econ basically involves friends who wanted to be econ professors. My program is a creative business Masters Degree, so I get the best of business chops in design school.

 

40 Girls Who Code: Facilitation Workshop

"There will be 40 girls. We'll split into 4 groups of 10."

Those words struck fear and excitement in me. Earlier this month, I'd volunteered to help run a design thinking workshop for Girls Who Code. In this workshop, I'd help facilitate a design activity with 3 other female designers. The high school girls were split into teams of 10 and we each had to help them solve a prompt.

Our prompt was: How can we create a mentoring app for Maria (our persona), a high school girl who wants to be a policewoman, to get advice?

The girls in the team I worked with came up with brainstormed ideas in paper sketches separately. They identified the strong sketchers, and combined their ideas into a master paper prototype.

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Some ideas I found really interesting were links to Quora, Podcasts, and other resources to create a library for advice.

My best takeaway from this workshop was from my team themselves. One of the louder voices on the team stepped aside to give one of the quieter girls with many great ideas the chance to present. This was a great example of women supporting women, and a real example of true leadership!