During the Fall semester of 2008, I co-tought a collaborative graduate studio with Mike Edwards in partnership with JP Morgan in the Design and Technology Department at Parsons the New School for Design. Our studio also teamed up with a Research Methods undergraduate course from the Design Management Department for a "co-disciplinary" approach to the partnership.

The course launched with a team from JP Morgan delivering an opening presentation to both classes and describing their initial design brief. The company consists of 180,000+ employees and they were interested in design proposals that would bring people within the company closer together and introduce employees to one another across hierarchical and divisional silos. They proposed the existing intranet profile and search pages as an initial point for intervention and redesign. It had been difficult to get employees to contribute information to the existing system and searches would result in fairly basic information.


JP Morgan design program.


We started the course by having the students design and develop alternative interfaces for exploring skill sets. The interface prototype could be used to search for students by their skills.


JP Morgan Studio: Interface for building teams based on skills.


We then moved on to studying datamining in more detail by investigating the Enron email data set. The Enron emails were released to the public in the wake of the trial that ended the company. They contain 400,000 emails from 150 users and are an ideal set of data for mining connections between users. Students mined the data for clues to the users and for interesting correlations. The group that produced the chart below were able to compare the emotional tone of the emails with the stock price of the company and political influence over time.


JP Morgan Enron Exercise


At the midterm the students presented final project proposals directly to representatives from JP Morgan. They were encouraged to go beyond the scope of the original design brief and formulated five projects that covered keeping employees in touch with a status update/scheduling system, an online group-building network, a custom intranet homepage feature, and two projects that addressed better methods for search.


JP Morgan Midterm Proposals


JP Circles was a project that was meant to be used as a personal and professional group-building tool. It would bring employees together from across hierarchical silos and different locations.


JP Morgan Circles


JP Morgan Circles Interface.


Checkpoint was intended to be a new status and scheduling tool that could be accessed online though an intranet-based web app and would exist as a mobile interface.


JP Morgan Checkpoint

JP Morgan Checkpoint Interface


The class presented their final projects at JP Morgan headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.