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Meet Julia Thompson of ampLAfy in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Thompson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was introduced to human-centered design my Junior year in college through an organization called Design for America. DFA, as it’s fondly called, applies design thinking to local social problems by pairing community organizations with student-led design teams.

My senior year I co-led the studio with my now co-conspirator on ampLAFY, and it completely revolutionized how I think about social innovation. After graduating, I moved to LA to pursue a childhood dream of being an actor.

 

I quickly realized that the traditional acting path wasn’t for me, but I became interested in how entertainment and multi-media storytelling could impact design and vice versa.

Above all though, I think I’ve always been interested in communication, how this impacts understanding, and how to design systems and experiences for maximal learning.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think progress isn’t linear and neither is learning really, so it’s to be expected that there will always be some turbulence. What design has taught me is that we are constantly iterating – there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. That mentality has really shaped me as a person and how I choose to navigate my work.

There have been moments for sure where I’ve doubted my ideas or products, but I am lucky to be surrounded by incredibly supportive mentors and friends. Plus my two co-founders on ampLAfy, Nanami Sunaga, and Allison Wong.

From the very beginning, ampLAfy was always meant to function as a collective. I really think we place far too much emphasis on individual accomplishment when it always takes a team. It’s not really about what I’ve done but what we’ve managed to do together. Being part of a team tends to make the road smoother.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the ampLAfy story. Tell us more about the business.
We design experiences with the aim of inspiring agency and awe. We have worked mostly in the education space but are interested in the intersection of design, entertainment, and education. Most recently we’ve been helping schools to integrate human-centered design thinking into their curricula by co-creating curriculum that centers on project-based learning.

We’ve also co-created collaborative design projects with local community organizations that emphasizes that students can be and are already agents of change. Aside from curriculum design we also do workshops to talk about civic engagement and problem-solving through a creative lens.

We’re most proud of the fact that we have become a part of a community, started by the Los Feliz Charter School For The Arts, of catalysts within education in LA. We all met through a conference they hold every year, and it’s an honor to be a part of such an inspiring group of activists and artists.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In order to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st-century schools should be teaching students the 21st Century Skills. Those being collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication.

Given the incredible rate at which technology is becoming more and more sophisticated, we believe that learning communication skills and collaborative problem solving will become critical to student’s success and well-being.

There is an element of technology in the classroom which has alienated students, and we believe that the integration of human-centered and equity-based design is key to re-introducing empathy in terms of how we choose to interact with and build these new systems.

I think one of the biggest shifts we are going to see is a change in standards and how we choose to measure student’s success against those standards.

Pricing:

  • Workshops – $30 per person for 2-hour workshop
  • Workshops – $75 per person for a full day workshop

Contact Info:

  • Website: amplafy.org
  • Phone: 4254448339
  • Email: amplafycollective@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @amplafy


Image Credit:

Jonathan Shoer

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