Designer and Technologist Jessi Baker (b.1984) creates user-centered experiences. She is particularly interested in the relationship between individual and collective decision making and emerging technologies. Jessi studied Engineering at Cambridge University (2003-2007) receiving sponsorship from Arup Consulting engineers throughout her degree. During her time at Cambridge, she won numerous awards for entrepreneurship and design, notably winning the top prize at the Varsity Entrepreneurs competition and the NGEF international competition in Monaco (2006).
Since graduating from Cambridge she has worked in Business Strategy for both global brands and start-ups in London, UK and the USA (2007-2008) and was a Strategy Consultant for a top French firm in Paris, France (2008-2009). She joined the Royal College of Art Innovation Design Engineering course in 2009 with the ambition of designing more socially and environmentally empathic systems and experiences for consumers, sponsored by the Royal Exhibition for the Commission of 1851.
Graduating with Distinction from the Royal College of Art in July 2011. She is now embarking on a career as an Experience Designer. Her main interests lie in emerging and future technologies (particularly the ‘Internet of Things’) for creating intelligent systems and interfaces; new dimensions of experience, particularly to foster participation, transparency of information and sustainability.
I Am Driven By | Solving a problem. I worked for quite a few years working for large brands and I realised working to strengthen their bottom line wasn’t helping anyone, apart from a few people somewhere get very rich. I quit my job and founded social enterprise Provenance in order to contribute to solving a problem I care deeply about: Making supply chains more transparent so us shoppers can make choices that are better for the environment and society.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Commitment to being great. For a long time I worked across a lot of different fields, testing the waters in different areas I found interesting. It’s made my good a few things, and realise what I am rubbish at too. One thing I have seen when visiting and chatting to the hundreds of makers of products I have encountered through Provenance is the greatness achieved through dedication and commitment. Whether it’s mastering a craft skill or perfecting a brand message – committing to doing one worthwhile thing well is very powerful. But remember, there’s no greatness without goodness.
A Key Talent | The strength that’s helped me most, is one I have had to learn: The strength of focus. You can do anything, but not everything. Pick your problem to solve or fight to fight and follow it through, because most of the time a project or startup fails when the founder decides to give up. If you exist to solve a problem – and one problem only, you’re more likely to find a way because you’ll see it everywhere. If you change focus a lot, it’s hard to do anything meaningful, I think.
The Meaning Of Life | I guess I am still figuring this out. But I do believe it’s important to be in the service of something greater than ourselves: To progress humanity, even just a tiny bit. I think inspiring empathy and understanding so we might enable fairness for everyone brings meaning to my life.