Mariana’s story originally appeared as part of Desigmatters’ Alumni Spotlight series. Find out more about Art Center’s social impact design department, Designmatters.
“How was the IDEO.org Fellowship?” many people ask. Although extraordinary, intriguing, surprising, challenging, and rewarding all are words that immediately come to mind, I don’t want to oversimplify my answer and leave it at that. I am still digesting the wonderful learnings and lessons that I have gathered in the last year. For now, let me start by focusing on my time doing research and prototyping out in the field. Over the course of the past year, I’ve spent a cumulative five and a half months traveling and visiting the communities where we work. This is where the magic happens. This is where our work intersects with the people we are designing for and why so many of us choose to follow the path of social design.
During this year I have taken on five design challenges ranging from agriculture development in India, family planning in Zambia, financial stability in the Philippines, and the health and life of informal workers in South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, and the Philippines. Chapter 1 is about the 10 lessons I have learned from fieldwork as an IDEO.org Fellow (who knows, maybe I decide to give writing ‘Chapter 2: Lessons from the studio’ a try, so I’m calling this one Chapter 1).