Designing the Future: From Design Foundations to Disruptive Innovations

Raul Guillermo Amigo, Future & Experience Designer)

Design shaping future experiences with AI, VR, and human-centered approaches for intuitive and ethical tech.

In conversation with Raul Guillermo Amigo, a seasoned Experience and Future Designer, we delve into the transformative journey that has shaped his remarkable career. His story unfolds through three distinct phases, revealing a path of innovation, adaptation, and a continuous drive for excellence.

From building a foundation in engineering school to sharpening his understanding of consumer behavior during impactful corporate roles, Amigo rose to prominence at UMUNTU CX DESIGN. He pioneered disruptive designs that leveraged emerging technologies to redefine user experiences there. Join us as we explore the insights and inspirations that have fueled Amigo’s exceptional journey in the dynamic landscape of design and technology.

Excerpts from the interview;

How can design shape future experiences, particularly in emerging technologies? 

Design has always been a critical factor in shaping user experiences, but its importance becomes even more pronounced as we venture into emerging technologies. By merging futuristic approaches such as science fiction and artificial intelligence with human—centered design principles, we unlock a vast array of possibilities to transform people’s lives in the future. 

Design bridges the gap between humans and technology in this rapidly evolving digital landscape. It helps create intuitive interfaces, seamless interactions, and delightful experiences that resonate with users more deeply. By seamlessly integrating emerging technologies with thoughtful design, we can enhance accessibility, efficiency, and overall satisfaction. 

Consider the impact of AI-powered virtual assistants or augmented reality applications.  These innovations rely heavily on design to ensure the user experience is intuitive and immersive. Designers must envision how users interact with these technologies and anticipate their needs to create compelling experiences. Apple Vision Pro, recently launched, is the perfect example of how we can revolutionize user experience by merging a sum of technologies and interface design approaches with a multi-sense impacting result that can change how we work, learn, and entertain forever. 

Furthermore, design also has the power to shape ethical considerations within emerging technologies. As AI becomes more integrated into our daily lives, designers must prioritize inclusivity, privacy protection, and ethical decision-making frameworks. We can build trust between users and these groundbreaking innovations by placing human values at the core of design decisions for emerging technologies like AI-driven robots or autonomous vehicles. 

The future holds immense potential for transformative experiences driven by innovative technologies like AI and virtual reality. Designers who embrace these opportunities have an incredible chance to shape how people interact with technology in ways that were once confined to science fiction. 

In conclusion, by merging futuristic approaches such as science fiction and artificial intelligence with human-centered design principles, we open up a seamless array of possibilities to transform people’s lives in the future. Through thoughtful consideration of user needs and ethical considerations within emerging technologies, designers can shape experiences that are not only technologically advanced but also intuitive, inclusive, and impactful for individuals across various domains of life. 

Can you share an example where your foresight into a trend significantly influenced a design outcome? 

Sure. I have mentioned the Apple Vision Pro launch before, and it is the perfect example of a trend influencing a design outcome. Immersive experiences have revolutionized our lives, including work, learning, interaction, and entertainment. By incorporating immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), designers have created more engaging and interactive user experiences. 

For example, let’s consider the field of e-learning. With the rise of immersive experiences,  learners can now dynamically and memorably engage with educational content.  Instead of passively reading or watching videos, they can participate in virtual simulations or interactive scenarios replicating real-world situations. This not only enhances their understanding but also improves knowledge retention. 

In terms of entertainment, immersive experiences have completely transformed how we engage with media. Through VR headsets or smartphone AR applications, users can dive into virtual worlds and experience movies or games in a new way. This trend  

has influenced design outcomes by requiring creators to consider how to deliver captivating narratives that fully leverage the potential of these technologies. 

Overall, the impact of immersive experiences on design outcomes must be addressed. It has pushed designers to think beyond traditional approaches and embrace innovative techniques that captivate audiences on a deeper level. Incorporating these trends into their designs can create unforgettable user experiences across various domains. 

How does human-centered design play a role in your approach to crafting future experiences? 

In crafting future experiences, the role of human-centered design cannot be overstated. Understanding these changes becomes crucial in creating meaningful and impactful experiences as human behaviors evolve. 

Strategic perspective and scenario planning are essential for imagining new behaviors and desires. By considering different possible futures and identifying potential shifts in human behavior, we can anticipate the needs and aspirations of our target audience. 

One powerful tool in this process is the science fiction narrative. By exploring futuristic scenarios and storytelling, we can unlock new perspectives and insights into how humans may interact with technology, products, and services. 

However, it is important to remember that while imagining the future is challenging, it is not impossible. Human-centered design allows us to empathize with users’ needs and desires at a deep level. By truly understanding their motivations, pain points, and aspirations, we can design experiences that resonate profoundly. 

Ultimately, the goal of human-centered design is to create experiences that are intuitive,  seamless, and delightful for users. By placing humans at the center of our approach and leveraging tools such as strategic perspective planning and science fiction narrative, we can craft future experiences that truly meet the evolving needs of our audience. 

Design often involves collaboration with various disciplines. How do you foster collaboration between design and other departments or specialties? 

Design is no longer an isolated discipline in today’s complex and interconnected world.  Creating meaningful experiences often requires collaboration with various departments and specialties, including anthropologists, data scientists, screenwriters, set designers, and many more. Fostering collaboration between design and these different disciplines is crucial for achieving a truly integrated and impactful outcome. 

One of the key ways to foster collaboration is through an iterative and co-creative process. This involves bringing together experts from different fields at the early stages of a project to brainstorm ideas, share insights, and challenge assumptions. By involving diverse perspectives from the outset, you can ensure that all stakeholders have a voice in shaping the final product or experience. 

Furthermore, creating an environment that encourages open communication and mutual respect is essential for successful collaboration. Designers should actively seek input from other departments or specialties and be willing to listen and incorporate their ideas into the design process. Likewise, professionals from other disciplines need to recognize the value of design expertise and be open to working collaboratively. 

In addition to fostering communication within project teams, establishing cross-functional partnerships can facilitate collaboration between design and other departments or specialties on a broader scale. This could involve setting up regular meetings or workshops where representatives from different disciplines come together to exchange knowledge,  share best practices, and explore opportunities for joint projects. 

By embracing a collaborative mindset and creating structures that support interdisciplinary teamwork, organizations can harness the collective intelligence of their diverse workforce to create innovative solutions that truly resonate with users. Designing meaningful experiences becomes not just a task for designers alone but a shared endeavor that brings together various talents toward a common goal. 

How do you approach prototyping and user testing in the design process, especially when dealing with innovative or cutting-edge experiences?

Regarding prototyping and user testing in the design process, especially for innovative or cutting-edge experiences, it is crucial to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to think and act like a playing child. This mindset allows designers to explore uncharted territories and push the boundaries of what is possible. 

To stay focused during the prototyping phase, it is essential to use a sound methodology that helps guide the process. This allows designers to iterate quickly and efficiently,  ensuring that they are constantly learning from user feedback and making improvements. 

Involving the user in the entire process is key. By including users early on, designers can gain valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and pain points. This ensures that the final design meets user expectations and provides them with a seamless experience. 

Leading the change is another crucial aspect of prototyping and user testing in innovative design processes. Designers must be willing to challenge conventions, take risks, and embrace new ideas. It’s important not to fall in love with your idea but instead remain open to feedback and iteration throughout the process. 

Furthermore, maintaining a sense of wonder throughout this journey is essential. By avoiding biases or preconceived notions about what a solution should look like, designers can truly innovate and create experiences that captivate users. 

In conclusion, when approaching prototyping and user testing for innovative or cutting-edge experiences, embracing a playful mindset while using a solid methodology is essential. Involving users throughout the process helps ensure their needs are met, while leading change requires openness and adaptability. By avoiding biases and staying curious,  designers can create remarkable experiences that push boundaries in design thinking. 

How do you measure the success of a design beyond aesthetics? What key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics do you use to evaluate the impact of your designs? 

When measuring a design’s success, aesthetics are just the tip of the iceberg. While visual appeal is important, several other factors play a crucial role in determining the overall success of a design. To evaluate the impact of designs, it is essential to consider key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics encompassing various dimensions. 

One of the primary factors to assess is functionality. A well-designed product or service should fulfill its intended purpose effectively and efficiently. This could be measured by evaluating user experience, ease of use, and how well it solves a problem or satisfies a need. Economics also plays a pivotal role in measuring design success. This involves analyzing cost-effectiveness, return on investment (ROI), and overall financial impact. A successful design should look good and provide tangible benefits and value for businesses and consumers. 

The emotional factor is another dimension that cannot be overlooked. Great designs evoke emotions, connect users emotionally, and create memorable experiences.  Measuring emotional impact can be done through user feedback, surveys, or even monitoring social media sentiment. 

Lastly, aspirations are an important aspect when evaluating design success. Designs that inspire and align with users’ dreams and aspirations leave a lasting impression. This can be measured by assessing brand loyalty, customer satisfaction rates, and whether the design resonates with target audiences’ values and aspirations. 

By considering these four dimensions – functionality, economics, emotional factors, and aspirations – designers can gain valuable insights into how successful their designs truly are beyond mere aesthetics. These KPIs or metrics provide a holistic approach to measuring the impact and effectiveness of designs in meeting user needs while achieving business goals.