PhD in Transition Design
In the engaged community of Oakland, California, Hillary directed in-depth user research at her firm, Winnow Research Studio, for seven years. Focused on understanding and finding patterns in what matters most to people, she loves in-context interviews and rich synthesis. Hillary is particularly interested in creative ways to incorporate iterative and tangible learning tools, such as cultural probes and collaborative prototyping in a range of design processes. Through Winnow's work with Kaiser Permanente, she has practiced participatory innovation techniques-- designing the space, technology, roles, and flows of medical buildings alongside workers and cross-disciplinary teams.
Teaching part-time at the college level has been an essential part of continuing to learn. Hillary worked with the Industrial Design department at California College of the Arts to teach Design Methods and Research as well as to develop the research component of Senior Studio. Most recently she taught Design Thinking and Innovation to graduate-level journalism students at the Northwestern campus in San Francisco.
Her dissertation inquiry combines the complex social challenge of racism and racism-denial in the United States with the creative work of materializing visions of better futures. Is there a connection between experiencing a long-term vision of a better, more just, more healed society for everyone and the mindset changes needed today?