Magda WesolkowskaOctober 15th, 2010
Magda Wesolkowska is a design anthropologist and strategist. An explorer and innovator at heart, Magda combines right and left brain thinking, drawing on her academic knowledge and real-world experience in cultural anthropology, new media arts and experimental biology. Since 1999 she has worked in both the corporate and academic worlds.
Currently, she is the founder and Principal of Anthropology in Design (AiD) Consulting, a snack-size qualitative research and strategy consultancy focused on ethnographic and participatory research where she tackles social and business challenges for a broad array of non-profit/public and corporate (Fortune 100/500) clients across many areas (such as healthcare, sustainability, community development, consumer product innovation). She directs research projects and translates insights into actionable strategic recommendations or design-based solutions that contribute to the innovation of services and programs, products, environments, brands and organizational roles. Previous corporate work includes leading ethnographic projects at In-sync Consumer Insight Corporation (now Publicis Groupe), a world- class branding strategy consultancy.
Academic explorations include: the use of ethnography and participatory approaches in “habilitative design” for people with cognitive disabilities (as part of her PhD work at the Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Montreal); innovating lighting products for long-term care facilities adapted for people with Alzheimer’s (University of Montreal, McGill University and the Moe Levin Centre, Douglas Hospital, Montreal QC); development of leisure spaces for vulnerable populations in a large-scale urban development project (University of Montreal, Benny Farm and McGill University, Montreal QC); evaluation of TRG, a large-scale interactive environment (fo.am, Brussels, Belgium and Kibla, Maribor, Slovenia); research on interdisciplinary collaboration and the use of collaborative and participative methodologies and technologies (New Media Collaboration Network, Banff New Media Institute). During her graduate studies she was a member of the Advanced Research Group in Interactive and Experience Design and New Technologies, Laboratory for Health and Design (Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Montreal) and the Topological Media Lab (Department of Design and Computation Arts, Concordia University, Montreal QC). She also founded and was the inaugural Chair of the IEEE-Computer Society Task Force on Electronic Arts.
Through client workshops, she continues to teach about ethnography, culture and design thinking. She has taught at the university level and appeared as a guest lecturer at a number of institutions (Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation, OCADU; Schulich School of Business, York University; School of Industrial Design, University of Montreal; Design and Computation Arts Department, Concordia University). Her work is presented at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. Magda is also an exhibited visual and new media artist. She is multilingual, has travelled and lived in a number of places, and is passionate about wilderness, urban, literary and artistic explorations.