Not as seamless as we would expect. Creativity among creative minds requires openness and empathy.

Companies are often seeking a lively and healthy design culture, but surprisingly, getting there can be very challenging. Design teams frequently overlook the importance of candor and vulnerability to encourage creativity. In addition, leadership training and bias awareness programs sometimes backfire by enabling “moral licensing”, a mental glitch in which we give ourselves permission to loosen up and act unreasonably after superficially acknowledging cultural shortcomings. This way, unwanted behaviors are camouflaged into invisible enemies.

It is important to recognize these issues and understand how they affect our team culture. A culture of creativity relies heavily on psychological safety, vulnerability and…


A short report about my experience in a design school in Brazil and its influence from Germany

It was a cold early morning of a spring day in Brazil, when I first learned about the remarkable German design schools. The weather transported my soul from my Brazilian design school to Germany. Max Bill, a cool name that is hard to forget, was a student at Bauhaus Art School and then later one of the founders of the famous Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm).

The Ulm School was the first design school to emphasize the holistic, multidisciplinary context of design beyond the Bauhaus approach of integrating art, craft and technology. …


Note: This article was written in 2010 and published in a personal blog about innovation

For years humanity has seen a spectacular communication and computing revolution. In a short period, the whole world became connected, but we couldn’t see similar growth in transportation.

Of course, we don’t ride horses anymore; now we can buy a fast car with a great engine. But just check it out: before, our engine was the horse. We had 4 legs. Now, we have a gas engine of 800 horsepower and four wheels. So, in 100 years, the cars are about 150x better. …


My memory translated in an image.

A luminescence experience in one of the most magical places I’ve been in my life.

It was a slightly overcast day with light showers in Vieques, a small island of Puerto Rico. By dusk, the gray clouds shaped away and a waning crescent moon made itself visible in the sky. I could still feel the cold drops of a drizzling rain touching my face. At a small square by the sea-shore, I was anxiously waiting for Delmar, a tour guide who would navigate us through glowing waters at the Bioluminescent Bay. Delmar was late but came. He was wearing a rain jacket and holding a beer can. …


How I connected my school to the internet while a little girl.

Johnny Castaway, stranded on a very small island with a single palm tree.

I remember being mesmerized by a specific computer screen saver. It was a man stuck on an island. He was trying to get out there but couldn’t. He repeatedly tried but never succeed. That screensaver was “Johnny Castaway”.

Since I was a little girl, I was inspired by creation and by what I could bring to the world. Art classes were the best because that was the only class I was allowed to create, to use my imagination and reinvent the world.

In my child's mind, I knew that if I had the tools, I would be able to…


Since Pandora acquired Rdio, the main topic among my friends is: How will we listen to music now? Will Pandora look as cool as Rdio? Will we need to move to Spotify? — Rdio shutdown came as a sad news for everyone.

Well, for almost everyone. I was not directly affected because I've always used Spotify. That, in fact, came as a surprise to my friends and co-workers who always preferred Rdio. There was an assumption that designers would prefer a clean, better organized and album-focus interface. And that would be true if I were not caught by Spotify before.


Photo by Pawel Kadysz

Looking for a way to adjust TVs for transparency and right levels of responsibility.

Recently, an article about the sad side of TV-addiction and Globo dominance in Brazil was published in the New York Times. It took my attention after a few friends shared it on Facebook. I read and decided to share it too, with a comment. My comment was so long that it became this Medium post. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times's article:

“A 2011 study supported by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics found the percentage of households with a television set in 2011 (96.9) was higher than the percentage of those with a refrigerator (95.8)…


Photo Credit: Greg Westfall

The danger of thinking small
when designing a product.


“I can’t direct the picture. I’m blind!”– Woody Allen as Val Waxman in Hollywood Ending

An ordinary day following the same routine. Suddenly, I can't see. If before vision was everything, now it is nothing! So now sounds have a smell and wind has a flavor. All the senses become confused and it may feel like the end of the world.

The Portuguese writer Jose Saramago, in his book Blindness Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira (1995) — which became a movie in 2010, turned the world you know into a wild and hostile camp with a blindness epidemic.

As we grow up, we learn how to strongly value the visual. Sometimes, colors, clothes and make-up…

Marianne Abreu

Design lead, creative coder and painter. Masters in Design Strategy and management from Parsons. Currently working at Google/YouTube.

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