#7 The Networked Designer

Matt Cooper-Wright is an interaction designer at IDEO in London. He has been part of creating the course structure for Digital Experience Design. I’m really looking forward to meeting him in London in a couple of weeks time to explore how and when he will be involved in working with our students.

Here’s what he has to say…
1. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?
You are only as good as your network, build connections to interesting people and procure a circle of talented people. The company I work for (IDEO) is a network of amazingly talented people, each of whom procure a network of the their own, the network effects that come from this kind of organisation unlocks all kinds of opportunities.
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The traditional image of networking is slightly disingenuous face-to-face conversations in the hope that you might benefit from someone else in the future. The network effect I’m most interested in is founded in the realities of a networked society and economy. Many small interactions with generous exchanges.
 
2. What’s your burning question of the moment?
How designers and design thinkers build data into their work. Data is (at least) two things for designers: firstly a new resource for inspiring design and identifying challenges; secondly it’s the outcome we’re now designing. People everywhere are trying to figure out what to do with data, anyone who has an answer right now is probably bluffing, designers need to figure out how we’re going to work with data both for our own purposes, but more importantly on behalf of the people we design for.
 
3. What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?
I’m inspired by new things everyday. When you tune into a subject you care about, being inspired becomes easy, suddenly you see connections between all kinds of stuff. But that’s not answering the question.
Practically, Ed Catmull’s book on running Pixar (Creativity Inc.) is a great lesson for anyone working in creative teams. The Startup podcast is an amazing tale told by great storytellers, if you have aspirations to start you own company you should listen to it. Finally, IDEO Labs is a constant source of inspiration from within the IDEO network, the technical stories behind great projects happening around the world – also a great example of staying connected to interesting people.

4. What would be your one piece of advice to students on Hyper Island’s new MA in Digital Experience Design?

Being a designer today isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago. The complexity of the systems we design within mean that there aren’t any fixed points anymore. As designers we are well placed to move with change, to seek out new problems and new solutions. It’s never been harder to be a designer, and never more rewarding.

You can hear our other industry connections answer the same questions over here:#6 The Speculative Designer#5 The Digital Maker#4 The Craftsman#3 The Storyteller#2 The Dreaming Maker  and #1 The Go-Getter.