From Bangalore to Amsterdam to Toronto, Lisanne Binhammer is a designer's designer.
Tell us a little bit about the project you’re working on.
We’re working on a research project with a digital media publisher. We're helping them define the future of the online forum experience. Activities include running user interviews, context labs, diary studies, and now we’re making prototypes and testing them with users.
Where were you before joining Connected?
I was working at a design company called Fields of View in Bangalore, where I completed a research project with Cisco on the impact of electronic waste in smart cities. Before that, I was a designer at mediaLAB Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where I found myself doing design research on the role of public urban screens, this time with the Dutch Sound and Vision Institute.
Smart cities feels like a theme.
Absolutely. In fact, along with another designer here at Connected, I was recently a finalist for the IdeasCity competition. Affiliated with the New Museum in NYC, IdeasCity explores the future of cities via art and culture. Our submission was called “Babel,” and the idea was to leverage Toronto’s extensive library network to foster urban equilibrium across the city through large, interactive digital interfaces.
What about outside work and your, um, “civic activities”?
Ha. I mean, I love design and design research, so that kind of pervades my hobbies too. I used to mentor entrepreneurs in design at The Next 36, for example, a program that accelerates Canadian startups, and before that I was a UX/UI design instructor at BrainStation here in Toronto. And just last night I was reviewing portfolios for DesignX.
Ok but what about hobbies hobbies?
Haha. Well, I love to swim, I love my plants, I read science fiction, and I like to experiment with creative writing. I’m also currently in a choir and taking a cartooning course at George Brown, which is something I love to do. But honestly, I’m most passionate about design, about thoughtfully made experiences, about ethnographic research, and about urbanism and design for communities.
Fair enough. So aside from the opportunity to design ambitious products for great clients, what do you love most about working at Connected?
The people are remarkably thoughtful and dedicated. There's also a lot of opportunity for individual agency here—starting initiatives you think will be valuable, evolving our practices, that kind of thing. Plus there are so many fun ways to get to know others, whether through volleyball, socials, Slack, this interview... you name it.