Being curious and then what?— Jean-Marc Denis

Jean: My name is Jean-Marc, I am a design manager for Messenger at Facebook. Before that, I worked for “Sparrow,” a French startup which got acquired by Google in 2012.

I joined the Gmail team where I worked on Inbox by Gmail from the ground up as UX Mobile Lead.

After launching, I felt the need to challenge myself and curiosity by starting fresh again. I had the opportunity to join the Google Daydream Virtual Reality team where I helped to design some of the experiences.

R: Do you do some ritual every day outside of work?

Jean: Not really, I think I should, but I don’t.

R: What do you do that allows you to work efficiently alone or in your team, do you have any ritual or daily/weekly activity at work(Facebook)?

Jean: As lead/manager, my current role is a lot about the people I am working with. The only time I am working alone is when I come back home and design some 3D/AR/VR. I do not have any ritual or daily routine per-say.

R: How do you manage to do creative work every day any tips or technique?

Jean: I think it all comes down to being curious. That’s how and why I keep looking for new sources of inspiration every day. In all the things you do, some people spent most of their careers mastering their craft. Look for them and understand what make their work exceptional, make it your north star and work toward that goal.

R: What thought or tip would you give to yourself in the past?

Jean: I am going to sound like a broken record but “never settle, fuel your curiosity.” Learning new things can be intimidating but getting better at your craft is rewarding.

Helping people to grow and get there themselves is a significant part of my design journey.

R: Any study tip for a high school, university student?

Jean: If you want to work in the design industry, attend as much meetup as you can. You will learn a lot from other people background, stories and experiences. You will understand a bit more about the companies you might want to work on at some point on top of understanding the local design culture. On a more strategical level, it will help you build your network and open some opportunities.

R: What would you focus(work,love,life)on now if you would go back to high school time?

Jean: Art, color theory, typography, photography.

R: What would you suggest reading to young students?

Jean: That a question I get very often, I compiled a small list of book here.

R: How would you suggest someone to start designing now?

Jean: Start to produce designs now. Create, dive in, dive deep, get into design communities, get feedbacks, learn from the best, read books, watch tutorials, keep a unique approach to all you do, be curious. Rinse and repeat, every day.

R: What the core for your design? Just esthetics or solving a real problem?

Jean: In my opinion, empathy is the start of any design process. You want to relate somehow with your audience. Understanding this first step is a key to unlock the rest of a healty design process.

R: Do you think that Virtual Reality is going to improve or disrupt learning (self-learning and school) ? If yes how? Any vision?

Jean: I see any immersive reality (AR&VR) as a tool to enhance or enable things that wernt previously possible. Education wise it can be something with huge impact on how we teach, learn and create connections with the rest of the world. As a self-taught designer from a small city in France, I would have dreamed of sitting virtually next to the best designers and see how and why their craft is the best. That is actually the most passive way to use theses medium. How about that person interact with you in an immersive way and help you in every step of the way? What if you want to learn painting and Van Gogh teaches you his techniques, take your hand and help you to replicate the perfect stroke. What if a Van Gogh artificial inteligence help you critique your work so you are not a copy cat but this IA helps you develop your own style? Future is promising, the challenge of our times will be to avoid as much as possible the uncanny valley.

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