Allen Wang
Service Designer | Researcher
I’m a problem-solver and lifelong learner with an eclectic schema and a love for unorthodox modes of future-oriented thinking. My current role is a Service Designer on the Enterprise Transformation Team at Shared Services Canada. On the side, I do freelance research contracts for non-profit organizations. I worked previously at Statistics Canada and JA Central Ontario.
I hold a Bachelor of Design with Distinction in Industrial Design from OCAD U (2016–2020) and completed an exchange semester to Designskolen Kolding in Denmark (2019).
Based in Toronto. Open to opportunities internationally.
Upcoming: Master in Design Studies (Ecologies domain) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design—class of 2025!
Shared Services Canada—Enterprise Transformation Team (2021.08–present)
Shared Services Canada (SSC) is the provider of IT services and infrastructure to other departments in the Government of Canada. To-date, I've facilitated or co-facilitated 100+ hours of consultations and co-creation with 300+ stakeholders while spearheading or contributing to eight+ major projects in collaboration with clients across the department to improve their service-delivery to internal and external users. On a team of five designers, I perform a broad gamut of roles including: project management, stakeholder engagement, research planning, session facilitation, service design, visual communication, and executive briefings.
Current project: streamlining the onboarding process for Small Departments and Agencies (2023.05)
Past projects: ​​​​​​​2022.12–2023.04: co-creating the future-state service offering for the AI Program | 2022.09–2022.11: developing a combined intake process for conferencing solutions requests from other departments | 2022.06–2022.08: researching stakeholder experiences in the personnel security screening process | 2022.01–2022.03: designing an employee playbook for ten prioritized user stories in human resources | 2022.01–2022.07: improving corporate reporting processes into the Departmental Results Framework (DRF) | 2021.11–2022.05: literature review, planning, and copywriting for the team's client-facing service design playbook | 2021.11–2022.01: internal process improvements—feedback surveys, report templates, and recruitment guides | 2021.08–2021.12: employee focus groups and recommendations on return to worksites and the future of work
Freelance Research (2021.01–present)
I do freelance research on a part-time contract basis for non-profit organizations to expand my horizons, hone my skills, and give back to the community. So far, I've completed five contracts for two clients, tackling topics related to underserved communities, program delivery, and market competition. In every project, I challenge myself to not just leverage my existing skillset, but also my knack for picking up new skills, in order to produce optimal results for my clients. For example, I learned Python to analyze and generate maps from Statistics Canada's Census of Population. What I love about research is producing net-new knowledge that goes beyond what currently exists in textbooks.
Bachelor's thesis: “A Corporeal Instrumentality Project” (2019.09–2020.05)
I love speculative and critical design. Under the supervision of Angelika Seeschaaf-Veres and Koby Barhad at OCAD U, I challenged the ubiquitous, linear reckoning of space and time (as measured in rigid Cartesian units like metres and seconds) through a body-centric dimensionality inspired by Situationism. What if your watch looked at you to tell time? A maker tutorial for how to “hack” a watch to advance on the variable rhythm of the wearer's heartbeat—not the steady oscillations of quartz—was one of many corporeal instrumentality projects hosted on a wiki-based repository to explore a new corporeal cartography.
I exhibited an in-progress version of this thesis at "Off Course" as part of DesignTO 2020, and my project was a finalist at the ACIDO Rocket 2020 competition.
“Whatever space and time mean, place and occasion mean more, for space in the image of man is place, and time in the image of man is occasion. Split apart by the schizophrenic mechanism of deterministic thinking, space and time remain frozen abstractions. Place and occasion constitute each other’s realization in human terms.”
—Aldo van Eyck (1961)
My first service design project: Kolding Hospital (2019.01–02)
The project that really got me hooked on service design was during my exchange semester to Denmark. In the eight-week Velfærdsdesign course, I worked with three other students to improve patient experiences in Kolding Hospital's emergency waiting room. After conducting semi-structured interviews with nurses and users, we identified the central problem theme as shortcomings in the flow of information in and out of the waiting room (e.g., communicating updates in the waiting time), exacerbated by environmental and systemic issues. We proposed three solutions: a communications handbook for nurses, a less-isolated room layout, and a waiting room volunteering program to shore up gaps in non-medical care. In this project, I played an active role in research planning, analysis, and ideation, then developed the volunteering program proposal. It was far from my first time working with users, but what stuck with me was the unique challenge of bridging cultural and linguistic barriers.
Pictured above: playing with the Oakville Symphony in May 2023.
Some cool things I do in my spare time:
—play the viola or cello in community orchestras and chamber groups
—practice the piano (current project: Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto)
—write essays, poems, and make incremental progress on my "novel"
—take DSLR photos of landscapes and travel, then catalogue them
—find adventure
—read Wikipedia for fun :)
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