During my master's, I developed in diverse fields of expertise. Within this section, I will explain the evolution of my proficiency within these domains and the design and research methodologies I employed. I will frequently link to relevant learning activities within this narrative as additional resources.
Design & research processes
Design and research processes are integral elements in the development of a designer. Over time, I have cultivated a unique approach to design that is open-ended, value-driven, and deeply rooted in philosophy.
My projects are ongoing explorations into a subject, placing higher importance on the journey rather than the outcome. This perspective has allowed me to navigate complex design cases and aided me in combining my varied interests and values into a cohesive and meaningful design process. In my early projects, I faced challenges integrating my multiple interests and values into a comprehensive exploration. However, my latest work reflects an ability to harmoniously merge these elements in an output that is not only personally fulfilling but also contributes value to the design case. Overall, my process focuses not merely on creating a design but weaving together my interests, values, and philosophical underpinnings in a process of open-ended exploration. This progression in my approach signifies my growth as a designer and will continue to shape my development in the design field.
Business & entrepreneurship
While there is arguably a place for entrepreneurial thinking within a non-profit landscape, business and entrepreneurship is not an area I have come to embrace wholeheartedly. Over the years, learning activities such as Ethics of Technology and my Philosophy of Humanity and Culture minor have helped me develop a healthy critique of how economic systems and business structures can negatively impact our social fabric.
Despite these reservations, I still decided to develop myself in this realm, primarily driven by my involvement in a non-profit start-up, Polar Bearings, which aimed to formulate value propositions for a complex socio-technical challenge. This experience also gave me experience in positioning a start-up within the market using a financial model informed by market analysis. Ultimately, this experience cultivated my abilities as a design-centric team leader, capable of responding entrepreneurially to social needs within the context of complex
Creativity & aesthetics
Creativity drives the design process, empowering designers to think outside the box, challenge conventions, and explore new possibilities. This leads to new insights, unexpected connections, and innovative practices. Aesthetics concerns the visual and sensory aspects of design. It allows designers to create work that engages and evokes an emotional response. It also enables designers to share their values and identify through the visual aesthetic of their work.
Throughout my master's, I developed myself as a creative thinker and doer who autonomously develops methods to ideate and manage creative (design) processes, as I have shown through my FMP and M2.1 projects. I also developed a keen eye for aesthetic qualities and finish. I developed a visual identity that fits within my vision of design, which I showcase in most projects, for example, Urban form and A designerly perspective on IoT. I also learned to appreciate and use creative (thinking) processes as a force to address societal challenges, which became clear from my last projects and the Polar Bearings start-up. Finally, I learned how to use creativity to communicate and collaborate on projects such as Project 1 design.
Math, data & computing
The designer's proficiency in math, data, and computing is crucial. As our society becomes more reliant on data, understanding and reshaping the complex systems we interact with requires proficiency and skill.
Within math, data, and computing, I have expanded my understanding of mathematical applications in machine learning, focusing on techniques like Q-learning and neural networks through various AI courses like Embodying intelligent behavior. These experiences have equipped me with skills to manage data effectively, preparing it for use in machine learning applications. My emphasis on digital design has also allowed me to become adept at writing algorithms and manipulating data, as reflected in later projects, such as my last FMP. Through these projects, I consider software as a tool to enable communities and express my vision. Finally, I value collaboratively working on software implementations and using such methods for creative solutions, as shown in my team projects such as Project 1 design and Designing with advanced AI.
Technology & realization
For me, technology and realization revolves around the practical translation of design concepts through technology, tools, methods, and materials. This involves experimenting with cutting-edge and historical approaches, reimagining what can be achieved, and seeking innovative ways to bring designs to life.
During my master's, I developed my skills with extensive tools and methods for physical and digital form-giving methods. I have been particularly focused on rapid digital prototyping and software development, as seen in my design projects. As seen in my work, I consistently deliver high-fidelity results and reliable and robust prototypes with attention to detail. I have also built a solid understanding of industry standards and a good grasp of what is possible and how to make it. Through my own design studio, I have also learned how to effectively communicate technical work to stakeholders and document it appropriately. What excites me most about my growth in this area is that my current skill level allows me to master new techniques and tools to a certain extent quickly as I for example showcased in my first FMP.
User & society
The domain of User & Society holds significant importance, as it examines the broader impact of our designs on society and the relationship between people and technology. Within this scope, the user focus is often overemphasized, particularly as we progress toward concepts like more-than-human design. Conversely, the societal implications are usually downplayed, although they are becoming increasingly vital.
In this domain, I have familiarized myself with user-centric methodologies for validating user needs and fostering social innovation, as illustrated in my projects and the course on social innovation design. I also have knowledge of social design and transforming practices, which help me to create tools to help society transform as I aimed to do in my projects. Furthermore, I developed a sensitive attitude toward ethics, enabling me to design interventions with social value. I also have developed my own way of incorporating philosophical concepts into the design process, adopting a more socio-cultural perspective in exploring and addressing our pressing contemporary challenges, as I did during my M2.1 project. This has helped me develop critical thinking skills in a societal context, allowing me to better grasp the complexity of societal challenges.
As a future-oriented designer, I might join a progressive design studio that creates immersive and insightful digital experiences to highlight societal and environmental challenges. I would be particularly interested in using my skills in digital prototyping to create interactive narratives, virtual environments, and digital tools that can increase awareness about the urgent need for sustainable and socially equitable practices.
I envision working on projects that not only challenge but also educate users about the implications of our current systems and lifestyles, and propose alternative, sustainable paths. I aim to use design and technology to illuminate uncomfortable truths, ignite essential conversations, and inspire a sense of urgency to effect transformative change.