Let’s ask better questions of future startup founders

Alongside the global COVID outbreak, there is another not-so-deadly but easily contagious disease lurking around town, particularly rampant in innovation circles in the heart of Bangkok. You might have experienced its symptoms at its peak if you have ever been to a startup competition (a hackathon) or an entrepreneurship class. Affected individuals, mostly young entrepreneurs looking to change the world for the better or to get rich (or both) have a tendency to ideate with a singular mindset.

That mindset, for better or worse, is the unshakable belief that an app connecting users and stakeholders will solve all of life’s…


Let’s pitch design workshops as an investment in people and how they work on teams

Workshops should change the (fermentation) process to get better (wine) outcome.

Dear fellow designers,

I’d like to imagine that in our career as practitioners who run innovation / co-creation workshops, each of us has probably heard some version of this response from our client after a pitch:

“I don’t see a clear ROI for this workshop.”

I got this feedback after an informal Q&A session after meeting with Company A’s (not actual name) upper management about a potential design thinking workshop. The scope of the proposed work was to equip the operations teams across their B2B professional services with design tools and mindsets of work. I proposed a 1.5 day program…


A personal reflection of my design practice

What an eventful year 2020 was. Of all the tumultuous Earthly events, from the Australian wildfires to BLM protests, Chadwick Boseman’s death to the (rather inconsequential) impeachment, the pandemic no doubt took the crown. COVID-19 upended our personal and professional lives and brought them together like two gravitationally attractive stars, creating nothing short of a supernova in our living room.

Maybe we need some compartmentalization in our lives

Like a true Millennial, I moved back into my parents 2-BR apartment at the start of the lockdown here in Thailand, complete with a comfort couch for dozing off as my office…


What we can learn from the OG protagonist of Netflix’s Dark

Spoiler alert! If you have not seen Dark in its entirety, I would encourage you to stop reading now! No amount of time travel can save you from learning new information that drives you mad and acting horribly against your self-interest.

Welcome to the apocalypse

Not long after June 27, 2020 — the day of the Apocalypse per Dark’s canon — I feverishly caught up with my friend Tayo who first introduced me to this fantastic German series on Netflix (thanks Tayo!). We talked about everything from the show’s science to characters to human nature, ourselves inhabiting different time zones. …


An introductory Q&A about the first epic step of design thinking

Build it and they will come.

This oft-misquoted line from a baseball movie captures pretty well the raison d’être of design thinking, and in particular empathy-building. Perhaps it is design thinking’s alter moniker, human-centered design, that more clearly reflects the designers’ north star: to listen to people so that we can create products and services that satisfy real human needs.

Examples abound in the tech industry with the many hardware solutions and shiny new apps that started off with grand visions, rather than key insights into human behaviour (the…


Or, how we might adapt to COVID-19 like we eat spicy food

Green chili dip at one of my favourite spots in Chiang Mai, along with other northern dishes

One of my favourite Northern Thai dish is the green chill dip (นำ้พริกหนุ่ม) and chicharron (แคบหมู). It’s a refreshing and sometimes spicy appetizer we order without fail every time where we head up to the cool, hip Chiang Mai, a northern province of Thailand. I say “sometimes” because it seems that my tolerance for hot spiciness varies, something I chalk up to living abroad and now living in Bangkok where the food is over-sweetened to placate the urban appetite.

Or so I thought.

My dad told me that when he was younger, this chili paste used to vary in spiciness…


How might the collective action of a million people manifest itself?

After a month and a half after shelter-in-place measures in Bangkok, it came to nobody’s surprise that hair salons and barbershops all over town were to be among the first businesses to re-open, with appropriate caution of course. Haircuts are one of those quotidian services that I don’t think about until I really need it, at which point I will promptly bombard my barber with messages asking for the next available appointment (ideally tomorrow!).

Exhibit A: Socially non-distancing protestors during COVID-19 with reasonable length hair

We’ve written about hair before (by way of probing questions) and clearly, hair styles are important to people’s identities — so much so that some Americans…


Artist, Scientia Fellow, SEAsia Obama Leader, and all-around funny human being engage us with climate change through tangible moments of speculation.

Image courtesy of artist

This interview was published in the author’s previous personal blog, Sustainable by Design in 2015. It is syndicated here with modifications, in anticipation of her upcoming talk with Speculative Futures Bangkok on June 10th, 2020.

Early September 2015, back when political discourse at least feigns optimism for environmental issues, I attended a curious exhibition organized by swissnex San Francisco on the fashion of climate change — the Apocalypse project. It was an eye-opening glimpse into the role of art in public conversation for someone who, at the time, was squarely in the science and engineering side of the fence on…


Hint: everything is feedback

This is a reflection on teaching prototyping, based on a corporate design workshop. Some details of the brief, work, people, comments have been changed. Absolutely no knock-off Legos were harmed.


A reflection on systems starting from design thinking

I remembered that the Snoopy Museum was much closer to Tokyo Station where my family usually stays when we visit the capital. We had visited once before but forgot to buy advanced tickets. It was not, as Google Maps told me earlier this year, an hour away by express train. My memory had not failed me: turns out it was moved from Roppongi area in September 2018 and re-opened at the end of 2019 at Grandberry Park mall in the Machida district.

It was a chilly January morning, the day after my birthday to be exact, when we spent JPY…

Paricha 'Bomb' D.

Engineer by training, Designer in the making

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