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Motivating read: Brutally Honest: No Bullshit Strategies to Evolve Your Creative Business by Emily Cohen. The title is self-explanatory.

Engaging entertainment: Dark sci-fi series like Battlestar Galactica, classic anime like Attack on Titan and postapocalyptic fiction. These are good escapes from my professional work.

Inspiration IRL: I visit museums and interactive spaces—like the Museum of the City of New York; the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; and the recent King Kong exhibit at Empire State Building Galleries—to get firsthand experience of their user experience kiosks. The singing robots at Stew Leonard’s supermarkets are particularly effective; my kids can’t get enough of them. 

Creative leaders: I follow makers and designers Karen Palmer, Yugo Nakamura, Zach Lieberman and Pinot W. Ichwandardi. They all explore new tech in artificial intelligence and augmented reality. It’s fun to let my mind wander into the future and nd practical uses for these new technologies.

Under-the-radar resources: Touchpoint magazine by the Service Design Network, and design and research tool dscout.

Fascinating book: Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall, which talks about the notion of phase transitions.

Creative fuel: Sketchnotes from my son Justin Rheinfrank. Walking and talking with colleagues. Iced tea.

Favorite place: The Marker Hotel’s swimming pool in Dublin.

Industry definer: Hugh Dubberly from Dubberly Design Office. He continuously redefines what he and his firm do.

Emerging talent: Fjord’s Connor Upton, who is based at Accenture’s research and development and global innovation hub The Dock in Dublin, is doing amazing work with something he calls Designed Intelligence—it brings the best of people and machines together in service of human needs.

Promising tools: Tasks that are repetitive and mechanical will be automated through artificial intelligence (AI) tools like Uizard, which transforms hand-drawn wireframes into digital design files and front-end code, and teleportHQ, a suite of open-source tools that simplifies the process of creating, maintaining and publishing user interfaces for desktop and mobile devices. Also, voice user interface is picking up steam as the future era in design.

Useful platforms: Productdesign.tips and Mobbin are great showcases of the latest design trends and resources, which I find quick and usable.

Eye-opening book: Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. This book is a testament to the fact that the biggest problem in the world can be solved with simple solutions and political will. As designers, we constantly strive to make designs that add value to the user’s life. That simple things have had an impact on millions of poor people is simply mind-blowing.

Inspiring work: TikTok’s user experience. It’s combined the best of YouTube and Instagram, and that’s why it has surpassed Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It has more than 200 million users!

Challenges: Being trans, neurodiverse, faceblind and female have all challenged the way I see user experience. I am obsessed with how small decisions can exclude significant numbers of people, and how hard it is to course correct those protocols once they are adopted as normative. Machine learning is not new in this eld; it’s just the first time we’ve opened up a new growth eld of computing with a broader awareness of inclusion.

End-of-day rewards: Dark chocolate and audiobooks. I also watch crime and dark romance stories, like The End of the F***ing World, Euphoria, Fleabag, Marcella and Killing Eve. And I like getting dressed up with my queer family for a big night out. It helps you realize that all forms of othering can be overcome with compassion, community and a banging tune.

Unsung heroes: I don’t have an assistant because I’m fairly unassistable, but the people who do support me and anyone who is struggling need more recognition. These are the people who get the least praise for a successful project, yet enabled more to happen than anyone else. I like this fantastic and rare opportunity to point out that you make everything actually possible.

Underappreciated tools: Simple but effective tools like AirDrop and Dropbox are something we take for granted. We should all be paying more attention to which apps will help us create and prototype from our mobile devices. Soon, we’ll be designing straight from our phones, and that level of instant design excites me a lot. Also, check out Fontself, a revolutionary tool that enables anyone to create typefaces from scratch.

Rousing reads: You: Rebranded: Be seen, be heard, get noticed by Richie Manu and Don’t Get a Job... Make a Job: How to make it as
a creative graduate
by Gem Barton.

Stress reliever: Music, specifically Jai Paul, Sade and Young Thug.

Exciting work: The developments from the team at electric vehicle startup Arrival. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in the next decade.

Dream partners: I want to work with organizations such as the United Nations and UNICEF. Education, especially creative education, is close to my heart, and I want to have a role in shaping the future of education of our youth globally.


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