About

Hi, my name is Grace Lihn.

I'm a design strategist and independent consultant. I'm currently pursuing my MBA in Sustainable Solutions at Presidio Graduate School.

Prior to graduate school, I was an Advisory Innovation Designer at IBM for 2.5 years, where I lead design strategy on large-scale tech modernization projects with IBM's public sector clients, including state and local government agencies, airports, universities, and public school districts. I bring service design principles and participatory design methodologies into human-centered design workshops with diverse client stakeholders and IBM experts to co-create minimum viable (read: lovable) solutions that solve the most pressing challenges in the public sector.

Previously, I worked at Madison Reed, where I spearheaded product design, conducted UX research, and built out the design system with the engineering team.

I have an interdisciplinary background in conservation and resource studies that is rooted in systems thinking and spans agroecology, urban planning, and sociology. When I'm not designing in Figma, I'm usually building systems and tools (such as experimenting in Airtable) or brainstorming ideas to make our local food systems more sustainable.

Outside of my 9-5, I'm also a design consultant for nonprofits and local entrepreneurs.

My skill set

Product design:

  • Enterprise design thinking & design sprints
  • Service design methodologies
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Low, mid & high fidelity wireframes
  • User experience (UX) flows, journey mapping
  • Interaction design, CSS animations
  • Responsive web design
  • Inclusive, participatory design facilitation

Research & testing:

  • Planning, recruitment & analysis
  • Ethnographic interviews
  • Usability testing
  • A/B testing
  • Metaphor Elicitation Technique
  • Mixed methods, qualitative & quantitative

Software tools:

  • Design: Figma, Sketch, Affinity Designer, Adobe CC, Mural, Miro
  • Prototyping: Figma, InVision, Marvel, UXPin
  • Web development: Webflow

Education:

  • BSc. Sustainable Food Systems, UC Berkeley
  • UX Design Certificate, Designlab
  • Enterprise Design Thinking Co-Creator Badge, IBM
  • AI Design Essentials Badge, IBM
  • Conversational Design Foundations, IBM

See additional details and work history on LinkedIn.

My approach to design

My design framework is influenced by human-centered design principles, Frank Chimero's ideas in Shape of Design, Liberatory Design, Design Justice Network Principles, and Participatory Action Research (PAR). I believe that the people most deeply impacted by a problem should be centered as decision-makers during the design process. I also understand that it's challenging to do so, that it's a continual work in progress to achieve this. I'm inspired by projects like the Consentful Tech Project and the Center for Humane Technology, as well as the work of Greater Good Studio.

Before pivoting to product design, I worked on several diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) projects, one of which was leading an equity audit within a community grocery cooperative in Berkeley, CA. It was through this work that I found my passion in working collaboratively with people to rethink our processes for addressing complex challenges faced by our communities. That's why, although I work full-time as a product designer, I still consult for nonprofits and local businesses.

Design in action

Here are some examples of my design and research work. Since many of my projects are confidential, please contact me if you would like to see additional work samples from IBM.

Designing with purpose

I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 25 years, so I’m well acquainted with technology’s potential and its impact. We've witnessed the way products are often designed with good intentions, but still have a negative impact on people or the planet. It's time to rethink the way we design products and technologies, to make a more concerted effort to design with impact in mind.

Through a more inclusive and mindful design process, we can uncover solutions that are more meaningful, impactful (for both the business and users), and empowering. As a designer, I strive to not just build better product experiences, but also pave the way for improved processes and frameworks.

I strive to change the way we approach product development lifecycles in the tech industry, so that our products are more consentful and humanizing.
Interested in working together? Let's chat!