Design Ethos & Body Intelligence
I ask myself why is it that a ‘movement apasionada’ like me continues to work as a designer in tech? How am I applying my skills purposefully?
How do I reconcile my passion for being in the body, constantly in motion and flow, with a profession that requires a lot of sitting hours, behind the computer, and a lot of thinking? hours and hours of processing data, researching, reading, synthesizing, ideating, clustering, testing, validating. For what? What comes out of the work I do? How will my actions become memorable? How will this work impact people’s lives?
I didn’t know right away when I started working in tech. Many times I felt foreign and lost in an endless rat race to know more, always searching for the new trend, the new best thing.
Yet I intuited that my ‘body intelligence’ one day will become my greater strength and it will complement the work done mostly by people who live ‘in their heads’.
One of my initial curiosities when I began facilitating rapid prototyping sessions at a hacker’s house in the heart of the city of San Francisco, was the intersection between holistic wellness, movement & tech.
I follow a principle called intentional serendipity taught by my DMBA teacher Corey Ford managing partner at Matter, placing yourself in situations where there’s more propensity to find fortuitous encounters that will eventually lead to something greater. I intuited that by working next to engineers and developers, marketers and big thinkers, I would be able to learn about the future of the mind, the body and society. I’ve met true innovators blending disciplines and creating entire new industries. And in the past few years, I’ve been researching a lot about motion sensors, gesture technology and their applications to kinetic and interactive art. Take a look at my blog http://theweightofanidea.tumblr.com for some inspiration.
Imagine a world where dancers, designers, engineers and neuroscientists collaborate to create interactive products that can ‘enhance’ our humanity? The insights to inform integral design lay in the realms of the senses, in the behavioral triggers that make us react and form habits, in the user’s emotional journey and the contextual relationships between people.
If we are designing the next generation of experiential technology, the craft needs to come from multiple points of view. And that is what I’m doing tomorrow. I’m helping facilitate a 2 day rapid prototyping event to design a Festival of Movement to ignite 100,000 people to be more active, therefore healthier, connected in community and feeling more vibrant and alive. All good things!
The scale of the work I need to imagine keeps getting bigger and bigger. No matter how many surveys I send and how many people I interview, designing for large scale events really stretches my thinking, furthermore my capacity for real empathy.
So tomorrow, I play many hats:
- the design researcher who surveys runners on their habit formation
- the latina who connects cultural insights with market opportunities
- the yogini who invites her trainer friends to speak about their expertise building pop-up health events
- the facilitator who leads a team with presence, foresight and empathy
- the artist who conceptualizes interactive kinetic art inspired in the body in motion
- the florist who adorned 5 rooms with fresh flowers this morning to bring life and love to the space
- the awakened woman who is confident and at peace working side by side with her ex-husband’s new girlfriend
… and this is any given Wednesday’s work a multidimensional Mari Carmen Sierra.