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A quick word with … Chris Jackson of DNA

A true designophile, DNA’s new service design lead Chris Jackson can generally be found reading, writing, tweeting or talking about it when he’s not actively designing.

With a background in industrial design, Jackson digs the intersection of objects, services and technology in the form of connected products, as well as digital manufacturing, participatory design, all things “open” and user-centred design methodology and research.

chris jackson dna service lead designI start the day with… A freshly ground coffee at DNA and a homemade blueberry muffin, made with the help of my daughter.

And end it with… If it’s a Friday, then one of Wellington’s finest craft beers. Do you know we are the craft beer capital?

And in between, I… Plot with Grenville Main about how we take over the world, or at the very least produce great work that delivers impact for our clients and value for their customers.

What excites you most about what you do? A strategic, open and collaborative approach like service design requires you work with lots of different people in a variety of capacities. The relationships that build from this make my work at DNA so exciting, alongside the opportunity to produce design that matters to a large audience.

My first creative memory is… It sounds quite contrived, but making a Lego helicopter whilst watching Airwolf. I’m showing my age with that pop culture reference.

My first rung on the professional ladder was… A 32-week industrial placement formed the honours part of my Bachelors degree, so that was my first experience of professional life. Later, when I finished my Masters degree, I moved to London and started my own studio. London was the gateway to building relationships with lots of inspiring people, too numerous to mention, but anyone who has touched my life through design has generally had an effect on me, both good and bad.

My advice for youngsters who’d like to have this job one day… Treat people as you’d like to be treated.

One design trend to watch in 2014 is… The internet of things; the intersection of technology, products and services. Berg Cloud’s Cloudwash is a lovely case study on the potential of connected objects to provide tangible value for people. 

My favourite creative work in NZ at the moment is… Utilising the everyday props of architecture to reinterpret the urban stage through creative, dynamic movement. You may also know this as skateboarding.

If Service Design Lead is your Clark Kent day job, my Superman night gig is… Design is my life, so I’m a permanent Clark Kent.


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