What do you do and why?
I’m currently a Design Director at McKinsey & Company, a global business strategy and design firm. I work on a variety of projects that transform businesses and products through design thinking. We have a stellar team and are very lucky to work with some of the world’s largest corporations and industries.
I’m also the founder of a nonprofit called The Design Futures Initiative and the organizer of a Meetup called Speculative Futures. We have chapters in San Francisco, Austin, New York City, Berlin, and London. I’m also the chair and organizer of our annual conference, PRIMER. These events center on strategies for designing for the future and addressing both the challenges and opportunities that emerging technologies may bring to society.
What change would you like to enact in the world?
Simply put, I want people to consider the impact we make in the world. The Speculative Futures Meetups I organize host speakers and workshops to give designers (and anyone else who is interested) new tools for looking at how the future may play out, and how to create strategies today to address the problems of tomorrow. For example, how will AI, robotics, and biotechnology evolve? What are the policies and ethical challenges we face developing those technologies, and how will it affect our culture and society?
We also welcome anyone doing work in emergent fields because, ideally, the topics we discuss about the future are also about re-shaping today’s agendas. It’s about ethics, responsibility, and stimulating a new kind of creativity that will make us more powerful (and mindful) designers and creators.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Before I became a designer I was a DJ. That was over 20 years ago. I made a living playing at clubs and working at a record store. It was an amazing time — electronic music was just sprouting out of the underground. It was really those club flyers that inspired me to become a designer. People were doing amazing things with graphic design and “multimedia” in the clubs, and I became interested in motion graphics and typography through those experiences. My first real job was as an animator and Flash designer, which was super fun at the time.
Why did you join IVY?
To be honest, it was for the network, the conversations, and to continue to be inspired. Before McKinsey, I worked at GE. So I’ve been surrounded by really smart people for a while and it really gets my creativity stimulated. I love talking about ideas and finding new channels through which I can promote our events and invite other entrepreneurs into our world.
The other reason is really to help build support for our nonprofit and our conference, PRIMER. We need help growing and supporting our mission. I’ve been funding it myself, and when I heard the stories about IVY, I thought it would be a great place to build the network and support. The events we organize aren’t just for inspiring people to be more mindful about the future: it’s about inspiring the right people who can make a difference. We believe San Francisco — and Silicon Valley more specifically — is an ideal place for us to have the conversations we need to have about ethics and responsibility with the technology that we’re building to move the world. The more people we can reach to spread this message, the better our world will eventually be.
What has been your most memorable IVY Experience?
They’ve all been great actually. I go to a lot of conferences and it reminds me of that experience. You know everyone’s joined for a reason, so you have that as a common ground. But you also know they’ve stepped into IVY for similar reasons: meet smart, driven people; make connections; build something. Whether it’s a relationship or a new business, it’s all about creating new experiences. Personally, I love to go and strike up a conversation with a random person, learn about their work and life, and see if there’s some way I can help or grow.