Yes, you should spend time and effort getting to know your user, particularly what she’s not telling you; yes, you should prototype early and often; and absolutely, you should get comfortable with failure because only through experimentation can you achieve the best results.
– – Mariana

Mariana Rego, co-founder of Design Thinking Miami, left her corporate job at UBS AG in New York to eventually start her entrepreneurial life in her adopted hometown of Miami.

For this Brazilian-born Miamian, making a difference and doing what she felt passionate about was more valuable than having a steady income at that moment. While she did learn invaluable lessons during her corporate career and had a sense of financial security, she also couldn’t envision a future in which she did not make a difference in the world.

I asked myself “When am I going to have time to quit and do what I really want to do?” and a little voice inside me answered “You’re never going to have enough money.” “Oh,” I thought. “I guess I better quit now in that case.”
– – Mariana

Mariana decided to travel and live an unstructured life, for the first time, while she thought about what she would do next.

I learned so much traveling – that there should always be mental room for spontaneity; that nothing compares to the mental freedom.
– – Mariana

Before leaving New York City, Mariana participated in a workshop that focused on design thinking techniques to help people solve problems better.

Through a series of experiences and people she met along the way, Mariana decided to 1) live in Miami, a place she believes has the supportive environment and opportunities for entrepreneurs like her, and 2) start Design Thinking Miami with her two business partners, Jess Do and Kiran Carpenter.

The journey started with experimentation. Mariana and her partners tried various programs, with little initial structure, so that Design Thinking Miami could become what they envisioned. It evolved from being a Meetup group in September 2014 to a full business partnership that has already educated over 100 people, created a community of over 1000 through several platforms, and recently spawned a Fort Lauderdale version. Design Thinking Miami helps its members believe in their own creativity and shows them that there are different ways to think about the same thing. This enables them to build better solutions.

For entrepreneurs it’s not easy to start a new venture and stay the course, especially when one enjoys the financial stability of the corporate world. However, Mariana believes that freeing one’s mind, though that itself is also tough, is key.

Balancing focus and curiosity is a challenge on this path. It’s so easy to get distracted and pulled in many directions. It’s also easy to lose sight of WHY you’re on this path, which can lead to discouragement.
– – Mariana

Mariana’s words of wisdom:

  1. Breathe,
  2. Breathe, and
  3. Breathe.

Mariana Rego  | Design Thinking Miami

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