1. YOU & IED: your Name, the IED School you attended, the Year, and the Course you graduated in.
My name is Mariano de la Canal and I graduated in 2015 from IED Madrid with a Master in Design and Innovation with a specialization in Product Design.
2. YOU NOW: your job description, where you work, projects you are working on etc.
I graduated as an Industrial Product Designer in Argentina. After a brief working experience in a local design studio, I decided to take a pause to travel the world. That pause ended up becoming a 5-year life experience. I worked and lived in the USA, New Zealand and Australia and travel around more than 30 countries, to finally settle in Madrid where I currently work as Sustainability Lead and Strategic Project Manager in Propelland, a global strategy, design, and engineering firm helping some of the biggest companies in the world to innovate, bringing to life new products, services, and experiences that add value to people’s lives.
3. ITALIAN CREATIVITY: IED is 100% Italian and 100% creative, let us know how both these aspects led you to choose IED and how they helped or influenced your career.
My background as an industrial designer implies an rational mind for roughly 50% (industrial) and a creative mind for the other 50% (design). However, most industrial designers as myself end up being 80% rational and 20% creative. The fully open, multicultural, and vibrant environment at IED makes you breathe design and creativity almost 24/7. This helped to empower my most creative side to achieve a more complete and multidisciplinary profile.
4. IED LOCATIONS: all our schools are found in some of the most creative and vibrant cities around the globe. Let us know why you choose the city you went to and what role it played in your student and future life.
Initially, I chose Madrid because of my Spanish background, and I always wanted to live a season in this country to experience its culture. I ended up falling completely in love with the city, its culture, architecture, parks, street life, art, and food. Being a university city, it was also very easy to find and connect with students from multiple disciplines, coming from all over the world as well as Spain, making the overall experience extra enriching.
5. CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES: how have the challenging times we are living affected your professional life?
It would be easy to mention COVID-19 related dramas because of its relevance nowadays. However, I believe the biggest challenges of our time are others, more structural and systemic. We are facing a system crisis, Capitalism as we know it has allowed humanity to achieve unprecedented levels of wealth but we haven't included the environmental cost in the equation, nor have we developed the wisdom to distribute that wealth more evenly. In April 2019 nearly 200 CEOs of some of the biggest and most innovative companies in the world, gathered and issued a statement: “the purpose of a corporation should no longer advance only the interests of shareholders. Instead, they must also invest in their employees, protect the environment, and deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers”. Working as a design and strategy consultant with some of these corporations, we are starting to see a true intention of making things better, tradition is heavy and part of our job as innovators is to find and provide the right arguments to keep pushing to turn that statement into a reality.
6. SUSTAINABILITY: IED is particularly involved in this argument, you may want to share with us how you or your company are facing up to today’s environmental challenges.
“We don’t need another chair” Was the first thing that Clive Van Heerden, director of the Masters programme, told us the very first day at IED. “The world is already fed-up of stylish furniture of all kinds, but it is starving of truly sustainable solutions in every single industry” he continued. These lines remained carved in my mind and became a mantra for the rest of my academic and professional life: a design will never be a good design if it is not sustainable. For the rest of the academic year, I faced all my projects taking sustainability (or even regenerative) principles as core values to pursue. Nowadays I teach sustainability at the university and I’m the Sustainability Lead of Propelland, the global design firm I work for. This means I have the double task of promoting a sustainable design culture across studios, and constantly strive to infuse sustainability as a core pillar of every project we do, balancing user desirability, technological feasibility, and business viability.
7. ADVICE: your recommendations to future graduates for a bright and creative future in your field (Management).
“The only constant in life is change”. My advice would be to keep your senses, mind and heart open, flexible and resilient. In times of unprecedented fast-paced change only those who can adapt fast will survive and thrive.
8. MORE ABOUT YOU: let us have links to web pages where students can discover more about you and your work