Meet Emmet Connolly.
He’s a graduate of the Digital Art & Technology masters course run here at Plymouth University, and a close friend of i-DAT’s.
He got in touch after reading the November 2014 newsletter which mentioned Mike Phillips and his flashy Android Wear smart-watch.
Emmet emailed to tell Mike that he’d started the project which turned into Android Wear as one of his 20% projects at Google – the famed ideas-time given to employees there. Other 20% projects have resulted in Gmail and Adsense.
Said Emmet: “I was working as a designer for Google in Zurich when I started a 20% project to build a computer watch, then moved to Silicon Valley to develop and launch it as Android Wear. Most recently I’ve moved back to Europe for a job as Director of Product Design at Intercom, where we’re building simple ways for people and businesses to communicate.
“Messaging is quite simple but so powerful and flexible, and I think there’s lots of ways of exploring how to use it as a medium in itself. We write about design on our company blog”
Of course, we asked him how he thought he’d been served by gaining his Masters in Digital Art at Plymouth University, and he said: “Regarding Plymouth, what I really took away from my Masters was an idea of how to explore new ideas and projects even if I didn’t have a complete understanding of them up front. That it’s okay to get just lost and go exploring, and that interesting directions can come out of that.
“There was a real multi-disciplinary approach that kept us from being boxed into one way of thinking. So much of design and technology today is about constant change, and so specific technical skills become obsolete within a couple of years.
“It’s a lot more important to learn how to explore new materials, draw connections between ideas from different fields, think critically and iterate on your own work, and generally learn how to keep learning.”