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Announcing our Community Prototypers for the End of Life Challenge

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Special thanks to Claudia Bicen for creating this original illustration for the End of Life Challenge.

We’re excited to introduce you to SL, Yuan, Pearl and Rebecca — our Community Prototypers for the Refinement phase of the End of Life Challenge. They’ll be helping the OpenIDEO community move from ideas to action by building rapid prototypes to test out assumptions and uncover learnings.

From left: SL Rao, Yuan Wang, Pearl Sequeira, Rebecca Perez

SL (Shree Lakshmi) Rao is currently an Interaction Designer at Microsoft in Seattle where she leads the design process for web and mobile applications in the areas of artificial intelligence. Outside work, she can be found tinkering on educational projects for children.

Yuan Wang is currently a User Experience Designer at AvePoint in New York City. Prior to AvePoint, Yuan was a Program Manager at Greenhouse, a collaborative space that stimulates interdisciplinary collaboration, prototyping and innovation at NYU.

Pearl Sequeir has 8+ years of experience in the health care industry, ranging from pharma to community health. She is currently a Research Coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto where she applies design thinking to help organisations enhance their health care offerings. 

Rebecca Perez is the founder and Creative Director of Studio Civico in Washington D.C. Her work focuses on helping nonprofits and social enterprises increase their impact through dynamic design and agile strategies.

Why prototype?

Pearl:Prototypes are a natural progression in transforming ideas to reality. From a business/policy perspective, prototypes help us create buy-in with skeptical players – be it an influential decision maker or front-line staff. Experiencing a physical mock-up can be powerful in driving a vision over writing a long report that may be read by a few people or potentially “shelved." 

Rebecca: We’ve learned that you can no longer take a fully-baked idea into the world and expect success. Prototyping is necessary to answer questions, fix potential problems, and find out if an idea will resonate.

SL: Prototyping out an idea early shows you whether your idea will work as an actual product. It is a very cheap way to validate the concept without spending resources building out the concept only to realize that you've missed the mark. Also, it is fun and can help you continue to refine your concept!

What do you resonate with the most in the End of Life Challenge?

Pearl: This challenge is personal. I have lost friends and family members to illnesses and tragic accidents, and witnessed the harsh realities their loved ones faced with minimal support. I am indebted to the OpenIDEO community for bravely shared their stories, and creating ideas that address social and economic isolation.

SL: We don't talk about death and dying even though we all have or will have some experience with it before we eventually succumb to the end of life. Given this, it's crazy to think about how there are so few solutions in this space to tackle all the challenges around death. I'm very excited that OpenIDEO is getting more people talking about the end of life and inspiring people to draw from their experience to design solutions that will benefit us all.

Yuan: I resonate the most with how open and creative the conversations are. Growing up in a culture where death is a taboo topic — I never understood why not? This challenge is for everyone of us to look at this unique and universal challenge through a different lens. It's so exciting to see how we are opening up and looking for ways to build a better experience.

How might you support ideas in the Refinement phase?

Rebecca: During the Refinement phase, I will bring a holistic point of view without making assumptions on what success looks like. By utilizing a human-centered approach I’m confident that the idea can be prototyped and tested to find the key ingredients needed for the biggest impact.

Yuan: I want to help the team navigate their ideas, filter out the noise and optimize what we have. Let's figure out what's working and what's not by prototyping and testing them out together. Depending on the need of the project, I am versatile!

SL: I'm hoping that as a Community Prototyper, I can use my design expertise to collaborate with idea generators to bring ideas to life — by supporting the prototype creation, testing and idea refinement.

Join SL, Yuan, Pearl and Rebecca and the rest of the OpenIDEO community in the End of Life Challenge!

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