nicole neuberger

About me

I’m Nicole Neuberger, a Bogotá-based Designer, Consultant, Trainer, and Art Therapist with over 20 years of experience in Human-Centered Design.

I’m passionate about design for social change and healthcare innovation, eager to exchange thoughts about combining art therapy with participatory design for community empowerment! Recognizing that design cannot solely be human-centered in today’s world, I’m enthusiastic about contributing to systemic and interdisciplinary projects dedicated to designing sustainable and planet-centric solutions.

Nicole Neuberger - Design & Art Therapy for Organizational and Social Innovation

My View of Design and Creativity

What is Design? Design is creative problem-solving. It’s about identifying challenges, turning them into opportunities, and creating effective solutions. 

Creativity is innate in every human being. Unfortunately, our school and corporate system often make us believe that we are not creative. However, working with art therapy and product/service innovation has taught me that everyone can reconnect with their creativity and inner child.

Design implies change, and change is not always easy for us humans. It can be challenging or even scary. That’s why I find the combination of design and psychology so important.

Design for Social Change

I believe in the transformative power of design and am passionate about projects dedicated to enhancing public well-being and tackling societal challenges, especially in the realms of health and social innovation.

Drawing inspiration from visionaries like Ezio Manzini and Liz Sanders, I’m enthusiastic about co-creation and participatory design. I see tremendous potential in combining generative research, participatory design and art therapy to collaboratively shape a better world.

Design and Art Therapy

Design is about changing the outer world, art therapy is about understanding and changing our inner world. Art Therapy can give us access to our hidden desires, dreams and needs, activate resources and inspire new ideas. In this way, art therapy can ignite the courage and capacity to transform the outer world. 

Together Design and Art Therapy make a great team to support Community Empowerment and Social Change.

My Experience

After completing my psychology studies in Berlin in 2002, I followed my dreams and ventured to Rome for an Italian language immersion. The plan was to stay for a month, but I ended up staying for six years, working as a usability consultant, copywriter, and UX manager.

A little tired of flat screens, in 2008 I enthusiastically started working as a hardware usability analyst at Sony Ericsson in Sweden, learning how buttons and wearables need to be designed to be easy to handle. Simultaneously, my interest in holistic Service Design grew, prompting a return to design school in Italy, after having initiated and coordinated an interdisciplinary Customer Experience Forum at Sony Ericsson for a while.

In 2013, Vienna became my base as I embarked on a journey as an independent Service and UX Designer, fueled by a desire to create new public healthcare services for vulnerable groups. Yet, trying to create change in the health system as an outsider posed its own set of challenges. Along the way, I discovered increasing fulfillment in teaching and helping others grow.

Amidst the pandemic, I took up studies in art therapy. In the meantime, I had also founded my own startup, Travelhapp.com, a web app for solo travelers, with the vision of empowering more women to travel alone. (Great timing, right?)

I agree a lot with Steve Jobs when he talks about “connecting the dots”: when you follow your intuitions, at first, things often appear to be totally unrelated. But suddenly, they all make sense and help constitute your very unique profile and approach.

My Education

M.Sc. Psychology (Humboldt University Berlin and Philipps University Marburg)

M.A. Interaction Design (Domus Academy Milan)

Certified Art Therapist (Colombian Art Therapy Association)

My Top Skills

Service Design

UX Design

Human-Centered Design Thinking

User Research

Training

Mentorship

Psychology 

Art Therapy

My Tools

I started working in Human-Centered Design (User-Centered Design at the time) around 1999/2000, during my Psychology studies. Since then, I have used a variety of tools, from Omnigraffle to Axure, to UX Pin, to Adobe XD, to Figma, etc..

In my opinion, tools are really secondary. Nowadays, it has become very easy to learn any tool thanks to established design patterns, Google, YouTube, and ChatGPT. A grain of problem-solving obsession is always useful, too…

I do strongly believe in the wisdom of the hands, though, and love working with pen and paper, especially in the early stages of the design process.

Working Languages

Spanish, English, German, Italian

Something Personal

I grew up in the shadow of Germany’s largest continuous forest, the “Spessart”, a region rich with legends and stories. It’s where my love for nature, solitary walks and fairytales was born. I’ve been fortunate to live in several beautiful countries and immerse myself in very different cultures. After traveling the world and the seven seas, I arrived in Colombia to find myself in Naguib Mahfouz words: “Home is not where you were born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease.”

Apart from nature and traveling, I also like to experiment with mixed media collage and illustrations. Check out my Instagram account @inmydreams.art to see what I’m up to.

Forest Nicole Neuberger