Past IDer: Mario Ruiz, ‘06

by New Idiom


Name: Mario Ruiz
Program at ID: Master of Design Methods
Age: 29
Where are you from: Roswell, NM
Nationality: Mexican
Married: no
Kids: Joyce and Enric, my current roommates (and ID alumni)
Politics: Boring
Religion: Nope
Current location: San Francisco, CA

What do you do now (and any other current information about yourself)?

Working in the corporate design group at HP leading the design input into the mobility strategy.

What was your background before coming to ID?

Product Design undergraduate degree, which focused a lot on mechanical
engineering and manufacturing. I also worked at HP in the group
and as an interaction designer before coming to ID.

In which ways and dimensions do you think ID has changed your career?

For some reason, I read a lot more now. I’m more exposed to things design, which ID (students
included) had a big role in. ID was good at provoking and refining my
point of view on innovation, design planning, methods, culture, and
business. Also, in my early experiences with design, I learned how to
make and build stuff. As I did more of this, I started asking questions
on what I was building and why it was important. This led me to ID and
a perspective on the breadth of design and design research. Ultimately,
the experience at ID made me more articulate about design – being able
to speak and defend the process is one of the most valuable things if
you’re trying to increase the literacy of design in an organization.

Can you imagine what would you be doing if you had not attended ID?

I think I would have circled back to the questions of why design, who to
design for and what to design. But honestly, I would probably be at a
startup in SF - it’s more my style.

What are the skills learned at ID that you use the most in your current job/life?

1. Giving feedback in a constructive way
2. Public speaking
3. Driving action – design is a method of action (as eames would say), so leverage it to make things move forward.

What was the most valuable class that you took while at ID?

Keeley’s Design Planning, Owen’s Structured Planning and Rosenzweig’s Business Frameworks stretched my thinking the furthest, but don’t ignore the classes that seem like they’re bad experiencies – there’s a lot of value in what not to do when things go bad.

Which member of the faculty influenced you the most and why?

Keeley for his mastery of critique and Owen for his methodical approach.

What hard times did you have at ID, and what got you through them?

Quiznos was really bad. The salad place across the building was horrible. The bars around there were great, though. Large classes are hard at ID given the current space.

If you could have changed one thing about ID while a student, what would it have been?

Give more exposure about the curriculum to incoming students, let them know what to expect. Also, the students volunteer so much, they should get incentivized for it.

What’s the best anecdote you have from the time you were at school (professor or student related)?

My immediate reaction is to talk about Structured Planning; at least I
didn’t have to sleep in the hallways like some previous students.
Pulling together the final few weeks was a piece of work, but a great
sense of accomplishment in the end.

How many nights did you sleep at school?

I’m not a foundation student, question is how much did I sleep per night. 5 hours of sleep was a good average.

What is the last book that has impressed you the most?

Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

What other advice do you have for current and/or future ID students?

Try to understand why ID, rather than another design school, is best for
you. The student network at ID is one of its greatest assets for me,
take time to invest in it as well as school.