THE CLASS OF 2010
THE CLASS OF 2011
Anamika Debneth – Prashant Dixit - Robert Djaelani - Ross Forrest - Brian Griebel – Michael Koch - Anna Kulonen - Oscar Lozano - Han Pham - Zach Safford - Sara Samford - John Toubakaris - Carmen Varga - Jay Yinan
I am a user researcher with a curiosity for new domains and a passion for elegant and engaging design. My background prior to completing a MSc with distinction in design ethnography, was in psychology research and visual communication, with undergraduate degrees in art and psychology from UC Berkeley. I have had the opportunity to work with a number of live clients, including: Capability Scotland, Intel PaPR, NCR, BADSK, and Swisscom and have completed projects following the design thinking process at the Potsdam d-school. This training has shaped me in to a committed user advocate with an aptitude for translating findings in to effective and innovative software and service experiences.
Since I was very young I have always been interested in discovering things. Whether it was digging up bits of the garden to find “antiques”, telling and writing stories or learning something new, I always found a way to keep myself and others entertained. Design Ethnography is my way of expanding my knowledge and skills, having studied 4 years of Product Design, and really getting beneath the skin of the research and analysis process. When undertaking a project I always like to create something meaningful and that has a story behind it, rather than produce something that is entirely un-related. Storytelling follows us throughout our entire lives, from childhood fairytales to lunchtime gossip to validating an argument. I want to understand the importance of focused research better and be able to trace things back and prove how things are the way they are – either in the design or teaching world.
I am your standard everyday MacGyver, finding unusual solutions to the usual problems. I weave and bob through the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, that befall us all daily. I began playing with our world in the cradle and will continue until the grave. I believe our ability to play is the divine spark within us. Once upon a time I studied and worked in international business and marketing. Gathering a few skills like speaking English, Spanish, and Polish, or playing Ultimate Frisbee (yes, it’s a sport) have occupied my time nicely so far, but all these things are simply results of playing within the world. I work smartly, love fiercely, and play everywhere. My hope for the future is to help find simple, clean, and fun ways to communicate complicated information to all people. Everyone has a right to know and understand their world.
After completing my engineering in IT, I came across this unique course called Design Ethnography on the web. I looked up ethnography on Google and the vicious circle of “looking up” has never stopped since. Though, it has added exciting attributes to it like “listening”, “talking”, and “designing”. Now when people ask me “So, what do you do?”, who I guess would not understand what “ethnography” means, I say “I make people talk .. and listen to them !” which raises eyebrows but brings out comments like “Interesting Job!”
To me it has opened gateways to the mind of a user, to see what he is thinking, how, under what circumstances which is amazing and overwhelming. DE bridges the gap between producers, consumers and everything in between for me. Right now, as Virtual Learning Project Co-ordinator at the London School of Accountancy and Management, I am implementing lessons learnt at Dundee to my new work . It is helping me understand the relationship between “students and teachers in an institution bound by cultural context” at LSAM, while I am putting a Virtual Learning program in place for the organization.
Phone: +44 (0)7942850060, +44 (0)7763103504
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” — Albert Einstein. Technology in a hurry has created many problems of bridging them simply and meaningfully with people and our environment. In them, I find opportunities for our future. My professional engagement has been in design ethnography, facilitation, graphic design, information design, interaction design, mapping, photography and creative writing. I graduated as a Visual Communication Designer in 2007 from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. Some of my clients have been Nokia Research Centre, HP Labs, Infosys – Communication Design Group, Capability Scotland and currently Intel – People and Practices Research Group. With two years of work experience as a freelancer, employee and facilitator, I further look forward to building a world network of designers, ethnographers and social scientists to work collaboratively and grow.
The musician Brian Eno unwittingly captures the essence of a design ethnographer when he describes people “ who can move fluently and easily between different social and personal vocabularies, enjoying a rich diet of ideas and techniques and styles, creating their own special mixes. There is no snobbism in this picture, no material too common or too exotic to be used, no simple distinction between real & make believe.” During five years as a product designer of equipment for children with special needs research was my favourite part of the design process. The success of our products depended on the powerful insights gained by talking with children, parents, carers and therapists, visiting homes, schools and therapy centres, observing dinnertime, playtime and bedtime. This is what led me to the MSc Design Ethnography. I am building on my experience to become a better observer, listener, analyst and storyteller, with an ability to translate ethnographic insights into exciting, engaging products.
I come from a background in Film and Interaction Design and am applying my knowledge in the field of Design Ethnography. I am hungry to find out how it can be applied to organisations that do not traditionally approach design thinking from an ethnographical perspective and also exploring what value video can bring to the mix.
Curious design ethnographer. Modern nomad. Observer of life, culture, technology, and beauty. Moscovite by birth, Detroito-New Yorker at heart. Excited about developments at the intersection of aging, sustainability, BoP, and liberation technology.
I like to look at the world and attempt to understand how it works, it keeps me busy as there are always more questions to be answered. I am currently busy exploring the field of Design Ethnography, it allows me to access the tools to translate what I see and hear into actionable words and actions.
I joined this program as a clever guise for my real agenda: selecting badger breeding stock for my Cyborg Badger Army of Doom(TM) with which I hope to take over the world. However, if I hope to do a better job of running the world than those folks currently running it, it’s probably just as well that I am focusing on understanding the needs and motivations of people. Then I can name my regime “Compassionate Fascism: Understanding Your Needs and Making You Do What I Want Anyway.” Catchy, right?
But when I am not striving for world domination, I do a lot of other things. I was trained as a classical musician, where I appalled harp teachers everywhere with my disregard for correct fingerings and proper pedal shoes. I fly planes (little ones, with engines more like lawn mowers than jets), and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. As of last August, I got my “ist”, graduating from being a computer science major at the University of Oklahoma to being a computer scientist. I love machine learning, artificial intelligence, and am having an ongoing flirtation with data visualization. I want to make numbers friendly and approachable for anti-number people, and stories friendly and approachable for anti-story people.
Like everybody else, I was a born Anthropologist. But unlike many, I was fortunate to realize it during my formal training in the discipline. It was during my 2 year stint in the world of user research that I ‘observed’ the world of design.
Funnily, I realized that our role as ethnographic researchers could be compared to that of a milkman. We work equally hard, and extract and deliver a high quality product to – “a door”. Usually there is a recipient. He smiles, thanks us, closes the door and then what happens behind that door is magic. The milk that we deliver gets magically transformed into a delicious culinary experience. But how – is still a mystery to us.
Having realized that, I have taken up this course (MSc Design Ethnography) to knock on the door. I don’t want to become a designer per se but I just want to keep the door open to instigate conversations that would eventually lead to establishing relationships.
With a background in communication management and an enriching industry experience in research + strategy + design, I am keenly interested in asking ‘why?’ to the get to the root of everyday things, ‘contextually.’ I began to feel more passionately about user and consumer research after working for multi-national clientele like Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Pepsico. Through the eyes of an ethnographer, I see the world as a playground to understand how these distinct users from diverse backgrounds / cultures / beliefs co-exist.
THE CLASS OF 2011
Anamika Debneth - Prashant Dixit - Robert Djaelani - Ross Forrest - Brian Griebel – Michael Koch - Anna Kulonen - Oscar Lozano - Han Pham - Zach Safford - Sara Samford - John Toubakaris - Carmen Varga - Jay Yinan
Prashant has over three years of rich and diverse industry experience, working in various fields within User Experience & Business Centred Design. Prior to the MSc Design Ethnography, he was a Senior User Experience Designer at SAS Institute’s Research & Development division, the worlds’ largest privately held software company and leader in business analytics. A communication design graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Prashant finds an environment thrilling when it propels his creative energy to harness knowledge and explore his potential. Passionate about new challenges brought about by technology, media, mobility, marketing, branding, innovation and creativity in Business Centred Design and their intersections over ethnographic scenarios. In future, I hope to keep envisioning ideas and designing systems that deliver the promise.
“I believe that it is by asking questions that we understand our reality. The reality of product design is that we create objects for a society which is a complex and always changing. By better understanding this system and our design interventions we can improve the design process.”
Robert Djaelani studied Product Design, with a focus on Interaction Design. He is currently engaged in research on knowledge contained within the artifacts and communication tools in a society.
Phone: +44 (0) 7743 053 113
Skype: robert j.djaelani
Having recently graduated from the BSc Interactive Media Design at Dundee University, Ross felt that Design Ethnography would be a natural progression to allow him to continue on his path to becoming an experience researcher/designer. He is fascinated by the world of gaming and social media, particularly its power to connect people from around the globe, allowing them to share a common interest or goal and collaborate in more immersive and meaningful interactions.
In the course of my work, I’ve been fortunate enough to know two things: 1) that I have a passion for helping others, and 2) that I am able to and enjoy viewing the world from various perspectives. I’m always on the lookout for ways to develop my creative interests and abilities in a professional context.
With experience in marketing and ethnography, I’m uniquely situated to understand the value in both qualitative and quantitative information. I’m particularly interested in creative visualization. I like collecting stories from a wide range of perspectives, and analyzing them in new ways. Everyone communicates differently, and I like finding the spark for each person that gives them insight.
Michael Koch has an advanced background in storytelling and content creation. He produces branded video communications content that represents medium to large Corporations in today’s business landscape. His recent work in the creation of Jeppesen’s “FliteDeck Pro” (A division of Boeing) product launch video is the current standard in product videos for the commercial aviation industry. Michael’s other work includes Great West Insurance, American Dental Association, Medtronic, Teletech and many others. Michael previously worked professionally within the Los Angeles production community on a network and cable broadcasts for 10 years.
Michael presently continues his education working towards a MSc in Design Ethnography at the University of Dundee. His efforts focus on strong visual acumen into rich, new user experiences and cutting edge digital initiatives by measuring and understanding the users needs, responses and behaviors. Michael is studying design research and strategies to create and measure user and stakeholder experience in ideas and stories. He utilizes Design Ethnography, HCI, UCD, Information Design and Framemarks to understand, map, define, create and communicate a shared/influenced result or story.
For over 15 years, He has acquired advanced, hands-on experience on a multitude of professional projects. Michael has a Bachelor of Arts from The Arts Institute of Colorado in Digital Filmmaking and Video Production.
Phone: +44 (0) 7856 255547
Anna’s recipe? Dreaming, being passionate and having fun. Anna completed her BBA in ProAcademy, special unit of entrepreneurship at TAMK University of Applied Sciences in 2005. Her professional background as an entrepreneur is in branding and marketing communications.
Currently Anna is an owner and service designer of the company Kolmas Persoona, which specialises in service development and service design. She’s also an owner and board member of the company Sivupersoona – one of Finland’s biggest providers of sign language interpreting services. Anna is constantly searching for new experiences, expanding her knowledge and trying to create change.
Phone: 07708 079 460
Oscar was about to drop out of university to pursue a career as a jazz musician, but decided to give school one more shot since his next semester included a curious sounding class called Human-Computer Interaction. That class changed everything: he was now aware of existence the UX field. That semester he decided to finish his studies to become part of this intriguing industry. Graduating with a B.S. in Information Technology Management from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico, he is now pursuing an MSc in Design Ethnography with hopes of one day traversing the world working in the user experience industry. A self-proclaimed information junkie, Oscar is obsessed with the technosphere and the socio-philosophical concerns that technological progress inherently raises. Technology is now merging with people’s lives and bodies at increasing rates. How is this changing the meaning of being human?
A word that describes my focus is: Gamechanger.
I immerse myself in diverse experiences because what is standard practice in one area can shift the game entirely if applied to a new context. Good news: The new global emphasis on cross-sector collaboration and innovation is revitalizing the nonprofit, civic and private sectors — and happily, my background with leading advertising agencies, a top nonprofit leadership institute and award-winning indie magazines is quickly becoming a dynamic asset to easily shift between different audiences and diverse ways of finding those unique opportunities. Einstein said, “”Information is not knowledge.” I agree. It’s about the knack of context: the right people at the right time “getting it” so a good idea becomes an actionable one.
As a strategist, writer and speaker, I do my best work at crossroads: design, business, social change, culture. My work has been been featured on the radio, in the AIGA Design Library in New York and in publications such as Marie Claire, Hyphen magazine, Nguoi Viet News and Nha Magazine. I’ve also been lucky to be an advising curator and artist for several California arts organizations, including Kearny Street Workshop, the country’s oldest multidisciplinary Asian Pacific American (APA) arts organization and have served on the boards of Young Women Social Entrepreneurs and Nest-SF, two organizations connecting socially-conscious inspiration to business.
Zach lives to explore. From riding an electric bike around the back streets of Ho Chi Minh City to trying every taco shop in Jackson Heights, New York, Zach loves looking at what makes a neighborhood unique. He is always in search of new experiences to have and new stories to tell. He hopes to use design ethnography to better understand innovation and to help connect his love of story telling with the commercial world.
Phone: +44 (0) 7565607051
Sara is a member of the Design Ethnography Class of 2011. She graduated from University of Virginia in 2009 with a BA in English and a BA in Anthropology. Sara believes that the everyday is so exciting, mythical, and surprising that it warrents more than just a cursory glance but demands a researcher’s passion. She wants to take the rigor and thoroughness anthropologists use in their research of far away places and apply them to everyday experiences, communities, and people.
She is currently residing in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Her priorities right now are expanding her professional networks and continuing her involvement in the Design Ethnography community. She welcomes any questions or thoughts about her experiences and the DE program.
Phone: (804) 314-7289
Professional Blog: http://http://n0bs.wordpress.com/
Personal Blog: http://lettertrap.blogspot.com
John is a designer involved in a variety of product areas as well as product placement, brand visibility, interior and web design projects. Born in Athens, he was taught in school that he is European, he has now turned global.
We think in terms of a globalized world but still apply segmented mindsets. I consider this one-year journey through the Design Ethnography programme an opportunity for exploration, tinkering, experimentation and invention, creating angles that knock down our barriers. A chance to ask challenging questions and proposing answers that will lead to even more questions about how we are born, we learn, we live, we communicate, we work and die. A good beginning.
Coming from a Korean Chinese family Jin Yinan has a big and loving heart. His undergraduate degree was in Computer Science and Applied Computing, and he has been well educated in art and music since childhood. His experience working alongside coders and engineers, inspired his decision to pursue the Design Ethnography course, through the belief that technology should be tailored to serve people’s need..
With his understanding of various cultures and the ability to speak the languages of engineers, designers, and researchers, Jin Yinan is interested in helping to secure and smooth the flow of information from end users to final product. He is also very interested in applying ethnographic methodology into gaming and entertainment industry.
I’m the annoying kid that always asks people “Why?” over and over again. I am and always have been curious about everything around me. I want to know how the world works, how people think and why things are the way they are. I am particularly interested in cultures and sub-cultures which explains why I lived in 3 different countries in the past few years. I come from a background in Communication and Public Relations and have some brief work experience in advertising and the video games industry. The MSc in Design Ethnography is meant, on one hand, to satisfy my own selfish need of understanding the world and the people in it and, on the other hand, to give me the possibility to change the world into a better place.
Phone: +44 (0)7857 115224
nding towards each other.