Find yourself travelling the World, find the World in a magical place in the middle of nothing. Is this enough to summarize the mind behind the ARK design? Definitely not! You still need to read more about service design, roller skating and, of course, a passion for nature and sustainability. Get to know Anna!
Green Steps Team is international and diverse. You can meet some of us during our events. Others maybe are working behind the scenes, or even in another continent, but we all play a part to succeed in our mission. This is possible thanks to individuals and their hearth, which is something that goes beyond their job description.
To make you all feel closer to our community, every month we post a short introduction to one of our Team Members, to celebrate the people behind Green Steps.
No distance can get in between green souls! We at Green Steps are quite proud of the talents we managed to put together. Today we introduce you to one of those who contributed the most develop our learning platform, supporting both the EU and the Shanghai teams 99% of the time from remote: Anna Rigillo. Or how should we call you?
I don't have an official nickname, because my name is already so short! Often the nicknames people use are longer than my actual name: for example Annina or Nenna.
We want to connect people with nature, take them off the screen, but we cannot ignore the digital users’ experience if we want to reach out to them. That does not sound easy: is it correct to say that that is what you do?
I work in Product and Service Design, and I am responsible for the ARK platform development. I collaborate with the Tech team to define and implement every step of the user experience on the ARK, so now you know who to blame if something does not go as expected!
Sometimes I also run into more visual and playful side projects, such as the Spirit Animals flags or the Flying Friends memory game, which are a good break from the techy world.
Your job sounds like it is somewhere at the crossroad between creativity and technology. Is that something that you find in your daily routine?
Yes, even if I don't have a daily routine. I prefer following a mix of calendar tasks and gut feeling, as lately I came to the conclusion that I am more productive if I just go with the flow.
I try to do yoga at least twice a week to unwind and rewind (almost literally).
What my coworkers may not know is that sometimes, when the sun shines and the air is crisp, I feel the need of putting on a pair of roller skates, go outside, and skate with dance music in my headphones.
"I practiced rythmic gymnastics for 13 years, and later I became a trainer. That's me displaying it was worth it 😜"
Was it roller skating or did some other flow lead you to cross paths with Green Steps?
I was born and raised in Italy, in a city too close to Milan to become big, but too cut off to become part of it.
As a child and teenager, I used to spend our 3-months summer holydays (yes, 3 in a row!) at my grandparent’s countryside house in the middle of nothing: those were months full of “nothing-to-do” and “nowhere-to-go” which stimulated explorations, tinkering and inventions; today that is still my magical place.
I studied product design in Milan and that is when I first got in touch with the concept of sustainability: “Do we really need to produce more stuff?” was a recurring question. This persistent doubt pushed me towards Service Design, a discipline that shifts the focus from producing an object that does something, to helping people achieve that something, even without buying anything. An example? Think about the sharing economy.
I continued studying in Milan, but 50% of my classmates and friends came from all over the World. That is when I decided: it’s time for me to see some other place. That’s how I decided to move to China, where I experienced a quite different day-to-day! I completed my exchange program in Shanghai in 2019, after one year and a half of amazing experiences. My passion for sustainability and the connections I made in Shanghai led me to Green Steps, where I found a positive drive and concrete ideas to make environmental education mainstream…through a service! How could I not be fully in?
If I asked you to introduce yourself using a book, which one would you choose?
“Everything Is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer, to remember that you can talk about serious stuff without being too serious.
Being purpose driven in a team mean joining forces in a common effort for a big goal under shared values. What is your personal vision of the World reaching this target?
I like to imagine that someday the standard will be to leave your family home to move into a bigger family, a community, that shares your same interests. I wish we can help people to feel familiar with every part of nature they stumble into…and if they don’t, they just need to surf the ARK to discover it or find someone to help with it.
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