I’m Nicole Neuberger, an independent Designer, Trainer, Mentor, and Art Therapist with a background in Psychology – born in Germany and based in Bogotá. I bring over 20 years of experience in Human-Centered Design and I’m passionate about Design for Social Change. Below, you will find some information that will hopefully help you understand if we would make a great team working together.
Some Thoughts on Design
What is Design? Design is 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 easy for us humans. It can be challenging or even scary – both for the end users and for people working in organizations. Designing an interface, a product, or a service is one thing; getting it to work depends a lot on our individual and collective psyches. That’s why I find the combination of design and psychology so important.
My Favorite Projects
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 Elizabeth 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 and art therapy is about changing the inner world. Art therapy can ignite the courage and capacity to transform your personal world or change the outer world at a more systemic scale. Together Design and Art Therapy make a great team to support Community Empowerment and Social Change.
My Experience & Background
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 (after surviving some weird job interviews).
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.
In 2013, Vienna became my base as I embarked on a journey as a self-employed 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, though, 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 Top Skills
I started working in User-Centered Design in 1999. Since then, I have used a variety of tools. In my opinion, it has become very easy to learn new tools: one can leverage previous experiences, and Google, YouTube, and ChatGPT help to get up and running quickly. A grain of problem solving obsession is also useful… Besides that, I believe in the wisdom of the hands and love working with pen and paper, especially in the in the early stages of the design process.
Spanish, English, German, Italian
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.