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Michael James


 

designer, strategist, futurist, activist, and leader
influencing radical, interdisciplinary, inclusive, and sustainable social change
to serve people living in precarity who are vulnerable, neglected, and denied

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Michael James


 

designer, strategist, futurist, activist, and leader
influencing radical, interdisciplinary, inclusive, and sustainable social change
to serve people living in precarity who are vulnerable, neglected, and denied

What I Do

I invent and apply innovative processes and approaches to address complex social problems. 
I spend most of my time on 'who, why and how' to design and implement the right 'whats'.

I shape what people share they need and desire, and what I observe about how things work,
into realized interventions that change the status quo.
I do this by asking uncomfortable questions, looking ahead to alternative futures,
responding to new constraints as they arise, and, most crucially,
placing people first and building respectful and collaborative relationships.

I apply entrepreneurial spirit, playful experimentation, and rhetorical analysis
to devise and bring about products, services, organizations, environments, policies, and artworks
that increase accessibility, pivot perspectives, and reconfigure value.

My dramatic background has taught me how to use storytelling to raise
marginalized identities, hidden experiences, and systemic breakdown into the public sphere;
sketch and render ideas, experiences, and futures; and
engage communities through participatory, compassionate, and egalitarian exchange.

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Projects


Projects


I am in the process of documenting the following projects. Please check back mid January 2018 for updates.

  • A More Sustainable Existence: designing and implementing strategy and interventions to improve mental health and wellness
    at CMU with a focus on service design, cultural intervention, and campus-as-ecosystem; advised by Jodi Forlizzi, Director of HCII
  • CommunityCrit: HCI research I contributed to at UCSD on the design, development, and deployment of a platform for
    crowdsourcing civic engagement to inform urban design (forthcoming in CHI'18)
  • Reducing HIV Transmission in the US within 10 Years: a design strategy, futuring, and social entrepreneurship process
    which led to a proposal for a social venture which would co-package and work to subsidize condoms and home tests
  • Promoting Children's Vocabulary Growth: my HCI capstone on a speech recognition-driven iPad app that provides feedback to low-SES children on their speech production and language development as they are guided through picture books
  • Tools Towards Trust: a humanitarian impact participatory design, policy analysis, and market research project which led to
    a toolkit that helps managers learn how to support employees with trauma and a model for a social venture to distribute it
  • Carnegie Leadership Consultants: my leadership and restructuring a university-sponsored student team that works to
    grow our peers' capacity for leadership  through consultations, partnerships, programming, and digital content
  • Design for San Diego: my work on the leadership team for this year's inaugural Civic Design Challenge for the City of San Diego
  • Memothy: a speculative critical design project about a future in which building empathy is incentivized by the government
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Sketches


Sketches