When people ask me what I do, I usually pause.

I don’t usually tell them I’m a designer, because I’m not a make-things-pretty kind of designer. I’m a <service, research, strategy> designer.

After I pause, I usually tell them something like this:

"I do a lot of research with, and represent the voice of, customers. I learn about their behaviors, attitudes and feelings and use what I learn to brainstorm and develop new opportunities to make their lives better, easier and more enjoyable. And let’s throw some business value in there for good measure!"

If they’re still interested, I’ll talk a bit about a recent project I’ve done. Other times, I'll talk about the DMV or the Post Office. They serve as great examples of a lack of service design and often represent negative customer experiences that everyone can identify with. #FAIL is the technical term, I believe.

I’m passionate, enthusiastic and curious.

I like to work on challenging and complex problems, always focusing on the human experience at the center of it all. I like to solve puzzles - figuring out how things work, what are all the pieces, how do they fit together and what does it all mean? I believe that design problems require a strategic approach to understanding behavior and context, and everything will flow from that understanding...despite how murky and nebulous it might feel at first. Design, innovation and strategy are not outcomes or deliverables - they are a process and mindset to how I approach everything I do. 

I believe that empowering both customers and stakeholders to go along for the ride, learning from them and getting them engaged in and excited about the process, is one of the best ways to achieve results.

In my 5th grade math class, my teacher told me I asked too many questions and to put my hand down.

I've been avoiding Mrs. Politi's advice ever since.