WHAT I DID HERE
IBM was an interesting place to work. As a Product Designer, I was part of a massive effort to transform the culture of IBM to be more design-lead. The first "boots on the ground" meant working with engineers who had never worked with a designer before — not even once in their in +25 years of making software.
I spent most of my time on Smarter Cities, a family of products that cities use to do everything from capture terrorists to monitor toilet flushes across the city. It inspired the game Watch Dogs and during my time was moving into budgetary advice for city officials. If the cops have to be paid overtime to help with a concert, then money needs to be moved from somewhere else. I pointed out once that this was essentially the entire game of politics being conducted by an algorithm, which begged the question: should we create a Republican and Democratic algorithm? Should voters vote on their algorithm? Should we personify the algorithms so they are more relatable? Weird shit.
PROJECT WALKTHROUGH: CALVINO - A LOCAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP APP
My favorite project was also my first one. A team of five designers (researchers, UX, visual, and front-end developers) set out with the vague prompt of "build something that will make cities more prosperous." We spent weeks combing through research, thought pieces, articles, and think tank visits to come up with a central premise that local entrepreneurship is a strong vehicle for enhancing the prosperity of cities. One example, in Miami during the housing crisis the main industry was collapsed and the city needed to invigorate other kinds of businesses. At the same time, micro-brewing in Florida was taking off, but the city had dated Prohibition era regulations. Breweries had to fight for years to get common sense regulation and when they did, they soon brought in $1 billion in revenue for the city to tax.
Calvino (named for Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities) was an app where city managers could highlight districts in need of new businesses, entrepreneurs could post ideas for shops and businesses, and active citizens could comment and contribute in one geo-located feed. This project had real potential and I even got to pitch it to the city of Austin to be part of the Beta, but it was ultimately hampered by competing company interests at IBM. I can't show the full prototype here, but happy to share more on the project in confidence.