What is she doing now that she is here?

*You are receiving this note because I value your contribution as part of my wider community of practice.

Dear Community,

A thought to share that I am excitingly exploring new professional adventures!

Over the last few weeks, after completing my PhD thesis, I took my time to transition.

Now, I have opened up more space for collaborations, new business and to co-create meaning.

This note serves to share the things I am creating and the opportunities I am seeking as designer-researcher.

Here is an invitation.


Flux.

After landing in London from Indonesia, I submitted my PhD Thesis in design research at Central Saint Martins. In that moment, the most exquisite thing I could offer myself was the permission to — just take some time.

What a precious thing it is, to take the time. What a way to honor the work!

To embrace the transition, as per Fabian’s memoir. To mindfully decide on the projects you want to create, as illustrated by Matt. To assemble and reassemble the priorities, as iterated by Jonny. To take creative ownership, as voiced by so many friends! The imperative “to live the questions now” as declared by Rilke in 1903 to Kappus, the aspiring young poet.

If you are wondering what 4.5 years of a solo design research project at the highest form of academic rigour was like — or felt like. If you are puzzled why an independent designer would sign up for this experience in the first place — then I look forward to share the story with you in the forthcoming note Where has she been? (reflections from doctoral design research) — as I wait for my thesis defence.
marker in my notebook.

In this moment.

// As designer

I continue to work on projects that push the boundaries of design intelligence through practice.

Location independent.

I dedicate my energy and knowledge in design, co-creation methods and communication to products and services that amplify the qualities of sustainability.

I launched Communication Assembly
(because outcomes of doctoral design research should not sit on a shelf!)

This new design process showed to be relevant. An experience that empowers small businesses to create their own story of impact. The workshop interaction & tools used were iterated and evaluated rigorously through a 6 loop cycle. (and like any design process, iteration goes on.)

After my pitch at the Royal Society of Arts:
. Communication Assembly has been taken onboard by accelerator programmes - I am excited to see this unfold!
. I will give an online masterclass on Communication Assembly as a process for wider reach — more info soon.
. Looking for more partners to bring Communication Assembly to ecosystems of small businesses doing good in the world (like we did with Sensecampus Dakar).

Get in touch if this sounds useful to you.

// As researcher

Design for Communication (the lighter version)
I am publishing an executive summary of my Thesis Design For Communication. Curious to read? receive it through this form.

Project DesignDharma.co
This is the byproduct of my theoretical work on qualities of sustainability
The things we can feel, as opposed to the things we can measure.
I am exploring the soul of design practice towards sustainable impact. 
The intersection of design and the human spirit. 
(because humanity also needs poetics)

Does this resonate? do you have a project in mind? please share here.

Looking to give more talks 
.
Communication assembly & how it was built.
. The research as a mesearch (as previously at Second Home and Creative Mornings). 
. Why designers benefit from a worldview.

// As educator

Available to continue teaching, lecturing, mentoring.
My work resonates mostly with programmes that support students through practice and experiential learning. Interdisciplinary, design-led, with a creative entrepreneurial mindset. I’ve learned awesome things by working with Hyper Island and IDEO U. What might be next?

I continue to advocate the benefits of diffused design —
or, why we need to share design tools across a wider circle of learners (as I’ve been doing with Edacy Senegal).


If you building something remarkable and need support
Let me know
I am open to collaborate as design consultant, researcher, facilitator.

roadmaps.

Journey.

I had my first design commission at the age of 20. Since then I’ve worked as a free agent, independently, for +10 years. I have collaborated on projects in various geographic locations. For all the learnings, I advocate designers benefit from developing their worldview.

But is it time to join a family?

My eyes are open to my people. The organisational culture that will grow my roots and amplify my craft. A place I can contribute to and nurture with learnings of my journey as a Designer-Researcher.

Preferably, somewhere warm by the water.


instagram/designdharma.co

Relish.

In conversations. 
Over the last few weeks I enjoyed multiple conversations with people. With the agenda of an explorer looking to fine-tune the craft. 
Consolidating my bisociation of ideas, dreams and learnings. Listening, more than talking. Reading, more than writing. Sketching, more than glaring at the screen.

After writing +250 pages illustrating the case Design For Communication, I subscribe to the art of conversation! I cherish my conversation partners deeply (a title I borrowed from Krista) and the unforeseen byproducts of such a practice.

Recollections from my notebook.

Everything connects.

The energizing conversation with Cosmo at Social Impact Strategy mused on the “design dharma as guidance for social entrepreneurs”. When meeting with Ben co-founder of B+A London, I reflected on “personal impact that comes in a diversity of ways” and to “find the freedom in the projects you choose to do”. With Colman at Unreasonable Group, I interiorised that “your people will find you.” From Alex, IDEO partner Munich, curiosity was sparked by the future of “live prototyping” (or life prototyping?). With Jonathan, co-founder Impact Hub and Civic, I was inspired to pursue “spaces that I am dancing in and that is rich in possibility.” From David at Idea Couture, my intuition was reassured that “the world is global”. With Camilla at Berghs, I was reminded of co-everything, “it’s all about empowering each other, that’s what we do”. While hiking with Smiley, I drew notes on the magical creative process and the hardships of writing to realise that my research as a ‘mesearch’ was honorable. From Cezar co-founder of 23Design Mexico and former partner at 500 Startups, we laughed because “as a designer at least I get to use the optimistic side of me!”. From Geraldine at the Amani Institute, I was inspired to continuously iterate my definition of impact because “water will always find its way around obstacles”.

What might we co-create ?

Let’s converse, more often.

Joana
from a shore in Portugal, July 2017

Communities
I continue to support Sandbox community as Lisbon co-ambassador. Exploring as a fellow of Royal Society of Arts. More recently, I joined The Point People, a collective of inspiring women developing systems thinking.


forthcoming note

Where has she been? (reflections from doctoral design research)

The answer slowly scrolls out like grains of sand funneling into a pile.

Revelry.

A chunk of life was spent in a privileged position pursuing a research project out of my own will and curiosity. A kind of solopreneurship of the creative mind.

[to be continued]