XD Intern

In Summer 2019, I joined R/GA Tokyo as an Experience Design Intern for 13 weeks. During my time as an intern, I had the opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary team and see how each person serves the purpose of the best result.

I supported the team on various client projects by conducting research, concepting for a pop-up store, facilitating ideation workshops, crafting UX/UI for Google's B2B platforms, and prototyping for a client pitch. Clients include Shiseido, Google, Merck, Clé de Peau Beauté, and Mori Building. Although I am unable to share my work publicly, I'd be more than happy to talk about it in-person.

In addition to client work, I also worked on a self-directed brief/pitch for Coca-Cola: reimagining the vending machine experience to help the company be part of the solution to plastic pollution. I presented the project to the team on my final week as part of my internship program.

Chemistry

One of the most valuable takeaways from my time at R/GA was a new understanding and appreciation for building relationships. Any business or organization revolves around people, and the relationship of these people influence change. Team chemistry and client relationships highly influence how ideas come into fruition.

To be effective in a multidisciplinary team, it was important to define my role by understanding who is on the project. Their background, strengths and weaknesses, how they validate quality, and most of all their personality—getting to know these qualities helped me realize that mentorship isn't something that is just handed to you with your contract. It’s something you have to earn by building a relationship organically through daily conversations and collaboration.

In hindsight, I wish I had done a better job facing clients. Sharing ideas with clients who aren't familiar with the design process was a new challenge that inspired me to be better.

Knowing Each Other

Aside from actual work, the best part of the summer was getting to meet a diverse range of people with interesting backgrounds. Hearing different stories and learning each person's journey prior to joining R/GA has helped me gain awareness of my own situation.

Being a design student, the importance of understanding people we design for was instilled in my mind, but rarely do we talk about understanding the people we directly work with. Not only to know them, but to be known by them as well—the art of knowing each other, something so simple yet so powerful. There is no culture without chemistry.