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The Faces of Tech

Putting a face behind screennames

Photo of Andrea Lee
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Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Hackers are among us. They’re our grandparents, our hairdressers, our bosses, our kids. They’re people behind screennames and handles – but they’re people nonetheless. We trust corporations like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft with our data, but we often forget we’re putting our trust in real people working behind these brands. We trust Colin in IT. Christina in Marketing. Emily in Business Development. We make friends (and even find spouses) on Snapchat, through gaming, with Bumble. Tech has a face – and I want to reveal them. An “average” person may not understand the ins and outs of cybersecurity, encryption or data protection. But they do know that they probably shouldn’t give their credit card number to the guy sitting next to them on the bus. Or that they really shouldn’t pick up a shady hitchhiker alone on the side of a dirt road. By revealing the “faces of tech”, we demystify the stigma of what “tech” is. Because at its core, it’s people. It’s human interaction, relationships and complex issues being solved by a network of diverse, connected and multifaceted individuals. Trust and transparency go hand in hand – which is why eliminating some of the mystery behind the scenes (or screens) can do us some good.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Although we may not be able to educate every user about how to use their devices and software as protection to stay safe online, we can humanize the trust we have in our tech. Reminding users that people are still people, and there’s a very real face sitting on the other side of that message board is the first step into building trust within our digital ecosystem. This image direction provides a few other sample photos that can be used to continue to build out this concept. I want to use “average” people to represent the diverse faces of tech. Showcase what a “hacker” looks like. Showcase what “Facebook” looks like. Showcase what “IT” looks like. It’s another way to demonstrate that we’re bringing the invisible or intangible, to the spotlight. Let’s debunk what tech looks like through humanizing the space.

What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)

Often, we get so wrapped up in our gadgets that we overlook the human element of technology. Visuals for cybersecurity lack visibility of diverse people, situations and reactions. It’s easy to take a photo of an Amazon Echo Dot, it’s really difficult to capture the feeling someone has when their credit card number is stolen. It’s interesting that we all have a concept of what we don’t want or what we’re “sick” of seeing in the cybersecurity space, but yet very few alternatives exist and our industry has yet to produce visuals to correct these oversights. We have a true opportunity here to change the course of how cybersecurity is talked about, viewed and understood going forward. I’m ready to change the face of our industry.

Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)

I'm a professional communicator who uses graphic design and writing to share stories within the tech landscape. My background is in public relations and my work today heavily focuses on digital marketing. Innovation, people and smart ideas inspire me. Opportunities for development and growth spark my interest and allow my creativity to flourish. Tech is a fascinating, fast-paced and innovative industry which pushes my work to reflect these same values.

Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)

There isn't a single day where I don't search for cybersecurity visuals. I'm familiar with what's available on stock image sites and deeply understand what types of images are currently being used by likeminded creatives and why. I'm frustrated and fed up with the lack of appropriate visual representation of cybersecurity and I want to help move the industry into a better, more honest and realistic direction. There's an exciting buzz, momentum and energy behind the prospect of changing the creative direction of an entire industry... and opportunities like this don't happen every day.


What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have minimal experience and/or knowledge in the cybersecurity field.

What best describes you?

  • Other

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO email / social media

Location: City


Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • Canada


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

Hello Andrea Lee  Happy to see your contribution to the Cybersecurity challenge. How would you consider pushing this idea further? We've had a large number of very interesting creations, have you had a chance to browse other submissions? There's a very interesting conversation around cybersecurity going on!

Photo of Andrea Lee

Thanks for the comment! I see this idea as being a full campaign spotlighting a diverse array of individuals who interact with tech daily. I'd like to focus on the people and the human side of the industry - from the innovators to the end users - and how they are affected by cybersecurity.

Yes there is absolutely a very lively, and much needed, conversation happening around cybersecurity thanks to this platform. I'm glad to see so many individuals globally collaborating and sharing ideas and messages to make tech a more accessible and understood area.