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Aram Armstrong and the Innovatorʻs Compass

About Aram

Aram Armstrong is a catalyst for change, employing a powerful blend of business strategy, design thinking, and systems practice. With a focus on visual facilitation, he creates transformative spaces that empower individuals, organizations, and communities to shape a more sustainable and equitable future.

 

As a systems thinker and visual medium, Aram's expertise in methods, frameworks, and processes inspires action for systemic challenges. His inclusive approach fosters collaboration, innovation, and long-term impact, driving positive change through a deep understanding of interconnected cultural, economic, and environmental factors.

 

Aram grew up on the island of Maui and lives in the ahupuaʻa (district) of Kula.

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Aramʻs Story

Aram Armstrong is a visionary systems thinker and visual facilitator who specializes in creating collaborative spaces for virtual teams where collective sense-making and big picture thinking thrives. With a unique blend of business strategy, design thinking, and systems practice, Aram brings together a diverse range of methods, frameworks, and processes to drive meaningful change.

In 2023, Aram joined WorldLinkʻs consulting team to work on developing a collective Theory of Change (ToC) framework and Community of Practice (CoP) for food system transformation in California with a consortium of agroecology institutions at the University of California (UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and UC ANR), This innovative initiative aimed to unite stakeholders to collectively envision how they might work together to transform the food system.

In 2022, Aram joined Nourish Hawaii for a groundbreaking project, creating a Hawaii State Food System Change Map with partners from across the state, led by Transforming Hawaiiʻs Food System Together. This initiative aimed to map out the current food system and identify opportunities for improvement, promoting health, sustainability, equity, and resilience.

That same year, Aram took his expertise in systems thinking and design to the political arena, running for office as a candidate for Maui County Council. With his campaign slogan 'Lomi the System,' he highlighted his experience in systems thinking, design thinking, and digital transformation to tackle the challenges facing Maui County.

Aram's journey in consulting began at IDEO, a renowned design and innovation firm. As a senior interaction designer at IDEO, he collaborated with multidisciplinary teams on a wide range of projects, spanning industries such as technology, healthcare, and consumer goods. This experience honed his skills in human-centered design and deepened his understanding of consumer culture in various regions, including Asia, the United States, and Australia. 

After IDEO, Aram joined Fung Academy, the corporate training and innovation arm of the Fung Group, a global leader in supply chain solutions and retail. At Fung Academy, he worked closely with cross-functional teams to drive innovation and transformation within the organization. Aram facilitated workshops and design sprints, guiding teams in developing creative strategies, enhancing customer experiences, and exploring new business models leveraging data analytics, 3D printing, and wearable technology. 

Aram continued his work in academia as visiting faculty at CIID, the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Teaching service design and design research courses, as well as leading Summer School workshops and mentoring students, Aram shared service design thinking methodologies in the context of Life-Centered Design to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Aram's ability to guide students through complex challenges and new technologies proved invaluable in fostering creative confidence and impact-driven design using systems thinking.

 

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and a Master of Fine Arts from the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea (IDII), Aram combines a solid educational foundation with extensive practical experience. His academic background, coupled with hands-on consulting work, equips Aram with a holistic perspective and a multidisciplinary toolkit to tackle complex systemic challenges.

Aram's overarching mission is to guide systems change with the spirit of Aloha, fostering inclusive, sustainable, and transformative outcomes. He believes in the power of visual facilitation, design thinking, and systems practice to unlock the collective intelligence of individuals and organizations. Through his work, Aram inspires others to embrace a systems mindset, cultivate empathy, and actively contribute to creating a better future.

In his spare time, Aram finds inspiration in exploring nature, observing the beauty and intelligence found in natural and disturbed ecosystems - as well as creative immersions in new technology. This fuels his passion for re-imagining the world, drawing insights and inspiration from the totality of the human experience to create the next prototype or playful intervention - humanity is quite possibly the greatest technology of nature. To integrate body-mind-spirit, Aram practices capoeira, contact improv, and bodysurfing. He is trained in lomilomi massage and reiki energy work.

The next chapter begins with the question, "How might we...?"

Aramʻs Journey

1994-1997: Active involvement in various activities and societies at Maui High School, including the eco action club, yearbook, academic decathlon, soccer, and cross-country.

1997-2001: Pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interactive Media at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), where Aram actively participated in the academic community as a teaching assistant and computer tutor.

 

2005-2006: Attended the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, specializing in Interface Design, Tangible Computing, and Service Design. Completed a Master's degree with a focus on Service Design as Entertainment and Entertainment as Service Design. Notable projects during this time included PiediMonsterz (virtual pet pedometers), Pooptopia LBS (gamification applied to clean streets and walkable neighborhoods), Shopster (department store as AR play space), Rumble of the Future (AR ghost stories as neighborhood history lessons), and Urban Brand Warfare (a competitive loyalty program played like Pokemon Go).

 

2006-2009: Worked as an Interaction Designer at IDEO San Francisco, gaining experience and contributing to projects in innovation and design.

 

2009-2013: Joined IDEO Shanghai as a Project Lead and Senior Interaction Designer, where Aram led various innovation capability building programs, marketing and awareness campaigns, and served as the Regional Knowledge Sharing Lead for IDEO Asia.

 

2013-2015: Worked as an Innovation Catalyst at Fung Academy in Hong Kong, focusing on knowledge sharing, innovation, and experimentation within the Fung Group's leadership programs.

 

2015-2019: Served as a Visiting Faculty Member at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID), facilitating innovation workshops and supporting CIID's Interaction Design Program as an instructor and mentor in service design and people-centered research.

 

2017-2018: Design research for 1000 Landscapes, focused on enabling landscape-scale regeneration initiatives in Honduras.

2019: Worked as a Design Strategist and HCD Facilitator at Catalyz, collaborating with the Starbucks digital marketing, UX design, and mobile app development teams to improve the Starbucks app.

 

2020-present: Currently serving as a Systems Change Facilitator for WorldLink and Nourish Hawaii, applying his expertise in visual facilitation and systems thinking to drive transformative change in the food system.

Throughout his career, Aram has demonstrated a deep commitment to design, innovation, and impact.  He has gained extensive experience in interaction design, service design, and facilitating collaborative processes for diverse organizations and communities. From his educational background at MCAD and Interaction Design Institute Ivrea to various roles at IDEO, Fung Academy, CIID, and his current work with WorldLink, Aram has continually leveraged his skills and expertise to create meaningful and positive change.

>> Mahalo to ChatGPT for assistance synthesizing this text <<

Contact Aram

Made on Maui

(808) 707-2238

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