Designer, entrepreneur, TED Fellow, futurescaper: Anab Jain wears many hats, and brings them all together at her multidisciplinary design studio, Superflux. Based in London and India, Superflux is both a consultancy and a lab, operating in the realm of emerging technologies—think drones to the Internet of Things to innovative products and tech across many categories—for business, cultural, and social purposes. It’s a future-facing company, and it’s making big waves.
Anab Jain is a filmmaker, inventor, and one of the brightest innovators around. As Founder and Director of Superflux, Jain hopes to realize the vision of the studio as a new kind of design practice—one that is responsive to the specific and unique challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. On stage, Jain is candid, honest, and soft-spoken, but very sure of herself—qualities she’ll showcase at this year’s TED 2017 conference, where she’s set to parse “uncertainties around our shared futures to create provocative experiences, tools, and tactics that we can adopt today.”
Superflux’s work is currently focused around civilian drones, the Internet of Things, innovation, futures, design, and the general impact of new technologies. The company recently won the Internet of Things Launchpad competition for their design of a compact air quality monitoring and GPS tracking sensor that can be easily fitted to a child’s pushchair. Jain is also the co-founder of IoTA, a civic innovation and advocacy platform around the Internet of Things, and has tutored at the Royal College of Art, HEAD Geneva, Goldsmiths University, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Educated in India, Vienna, and London, Jain has an MA with distinction in Interaction Design from the Royal College of Art, London (2005). Since then, she has consulted on both strategic and speculative design and technology projects for clients such as Microsoft Research, Nokia, Design Council, BBC, Sony, Samsung, Anthemis, the Government of UAE, and NESTA. Her experience and knowledge of design, emerging markets, new technologies and innovation has led her to be invited as a speaker for conferences worldwide.
She is the recipient of the Award of Excellence ICSID, UNESCO Digital Arts Award, and Grand Prix Geneva Human Rights Festival, as well as awards from Apple and the UK Government’s Innovation Department. Jain has also presented her work at MoMA, NY, V&A Museum, Science Gallery Dublin, Apple Computers Inc, Mattel HQ, London Design Festival, National Museum of China, and British Council, amongst others. Her work has been profiled in WIRED UK, Guardian Business Supplement, Popular Science, Marie Claire, and Blueprint among others. Previously Jain has held senior design and research positions at the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre, Microsoft Research Cambridge, and Nokia Design London.
Superflux The Future of Design Practice
The business has two parts: the consultancy is client-facing, offering bespoke services, while the lab is a research space where new ideas are developed and tested. Though these two parts function independently, Jain and her team have come to rely on their contrasting rhythms for team sanity, the ‘sweet spot’ of unexpected synergies, and a steady stream of new ideas and provocations. Superflux is particularly interested in the ways emerging technologies interface with the environment and everyday life. Ultimately, Jain and her colleagues strive to embed these explorations in the here-and-now—using rapid prototyping and media sketches to turn them into stimulating concepts, experiences, products and services.
In this talk, Jain reveals the benefits and unexpected outcomes of this new business model, and how it can—and should—be applied elsewhere in the business world. With proven experience in design, strategy and foresight, Superflux is in a unique position to explore the implications of these new interactions—and Jain is in an even more rare, important and timely position to discuss their findings and observations. As the eyes and ears of this futuristic company, Jain’s insights are essential for any business hoping to move more concretely, and creatively, into the twenty-first century.