My name is Santiago de Francisco Vela, I'm from Bogota, Colombia. I did my undergraduate degree in Industrial Design at the Universidad de los Andes (2008), and then I did a Master in Design for Interaction at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (2014). During my stay in Holland I was part of the research group of the DIOPD (Delft Institute of Positive Design) which seeks to stimulate the development of new knowledge from design and support issues related to subjective well-being and human flourishing. With them I developed my master's degree project called "Billy Cash", which explored the emotional dimensions of saving through a digital piggy bank. I am currently an associate professor and chair at the Design Department of the Universidad de los Andes, where I have taught courses related to design thinking, participatory design, emotional driven design, product design, financial innovation, social innovation and strategic thinking. I co-directed the "Rocio Project" in which we developed strategies for environmental conservation through information and communication technologies and models for new rural economies. The project is part of the program "Conservation and Governance of the Amazon Piedemont", led by Fondo Patrimonio Natural with sponsorship from USAID (U.S Agency for International Development). Currently, I am a member of the Design for Justice Lab. This initiative seeks to develop a new generation of concrete solutions to access justice in Colombia in real contexts that link legal innovations, systems thinking, and design thinking. The Tinker Foundation sponsors this project under the “Democratic governance and sustainable resource management” program.
Within my interests is the understanding of human behavior as a generator of opportunities that can be translated into solutions, products and services that generate a high emotional and significant impact. During my academic and work experience I have had the opportunity to work with multidisciplinary groups, manage projects and lead creative processes for the generation of new ideas. Recently I have focused on creating links between design and different disciplines through the development of tools that help generate a reflexive position and serve the user to make decisions that impact their emotional and behavioral interests.
Media and other appearances
The Rector's Office approved the designation of Santiago de Francisco Vela as director of the Department of Design, for two years, starting July 1, 2023. To read the article click here (spanish only)
On November 17, 2021, the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad de los Andes launched a new space for dialogue and debate, Foros CONTACTO. The inaugural forum, entitled "How to digitize justice? An interdisciplinary perspective", will be a conversation in which the challenge of digitizing justice from the perspectives of law, design and engineering will be discussed. In addition, the launching of "Digitizing Justice", the new chapter of the documentary series developed by the Design for Justice Lab of the Universidad de los Andes, will take place. To watch the forum click here. (spanish only)

We were invited to the Legal Design Podcast. We discuss the role of interdisciplinarity, human emotions and engineering skills in legal design. We hear what lawyers, engineers and designers could learn from each other, and how to combine these three fields of expertise into one when designing better access to justice solutions. We also hear what positive design is and why lawyers should care more about emotions. But why would engineers already make great legal innovators? And what explains the popularity of legal design in Colombia?
To know more about this episode click here.  To listen to the episode click here
Fuckup Nights is an event dedicated to honouring failure. The 9th version dedicated to public innovation and Govtech took place on 21 October. On the same stage we had the public sector, entrepreneurs and academia sharing failures and learnings on their way to innovate for the public good. Among the guests I was with María Andrea Luque, advisor to the Social Innovation team of Prosperidad Social and Juliana Ocampo, partner of Orza, developers of Sonar. To watch the video click here (spanish only)
In this webinar, we talk to Valentina Giraldo and Alejandra Arce about building a winning resume. Valentina Giraldo is a designer and artist with an option in journalism at the Universidad de Los Andes; also, she is the founder of "La Valentina Design." Alejandra Arce is an architect, graduated from the Universidad Javeriana and is currently the director of the "Arquitectura e Interiores" design department. They gave us tips and suggestions from their experience and answer questions related to content and appearance.  To watch the webinar click here (spanish only)
The Design for Justice Lab of the Universidad de los Andes is an interdisciplinary and collaborative project led by the Faculties of Architecture and Design, Law, and Engineering. Its purpose is to provide a space to develop a new generation of concrete solutions to problems related to access to justice in Colombia. To this end, they develop projects in real contexts and integrate legal innovations from systems thinking and design thinking to formulate possible responses. To read this webnote click here (spanish only)
The portfolio of a designer or an architect is the entrance letter to any place: a new job, a master's degree, or even the search for investors; it is practically what every creative represents. In this webinar, we talk with Catalina Villabona and Diego Mazo, who share some tips for building a good portfolio and telling us how to do it from Behance.​​​​​​​ To watch the webinar click here (spanish only)
Proyecto Rocío seeks to contribute to biodiversity conservation and the reduction of deforestation from the local level. To this end, we develop strategies to establish incentive schemes that promote conservation, sustainable production processes, and capacity building of local grassroots organizations. As an example of these activities involving the community, we developed an "Environmental Manifesto" construction.  During the session, participants rotated around four tables reflecting on their actions to protect and care for the territory and the environment. To read this webnote click here (spanish only)
The GPDI is a platform initiative of international design schools. On September 24, 2019, delegates of eight design schools launched the initiative by signing a GPDI manifesto during the opening session of the International Conference on Design for Experience and Wellbeing (hosted by NPU and Delft University) in Xi'an, China. The GPDI has an Academic Board consisting of members from all affiliated design schools. They are the main points of contact at their schools and help collect and distribute Positive Design knowledge. To know more about the GPDI click here
For eight weeks, we worked with the coordinators of the different areas of the Administrative and Financial Vice-Rectory of the Universidad de los Andes in a workshop course on Design Thinking. The objective was to train the Administrative and Financial Vice-Rectory coordinators in the appropriation of design tools and methodologies for the formulation and development of projects in their areas. The course had 54 participants from different departments and professions.​​​​​​​ To read this webnote click here (spanish only)
The bachelor course "Emotion-Driven Design" turned into a creative laboratory for a few weeks. Design students from the Shcool of Design of the Universidad de los Andes worked on social experiments and their measurements. They presented the results to a team from the Creative & Education Laboratory of Corpovisionarios, headed by its former director Sheila Burkhardt.​​​​​​​ To read this webnote click here
The School of Design at the Universidad de los Andes began a collaborative work process with Avianca in October 2017 as a joint commitment to bring together the efforts made in the private sector and academia in Colombia. The objective of this collaboration was to introduce Avianca to the design thinking mindset while creating innovative solutions for each of the points of contact (check-in, lounge, boarding process, deboarding and connections, baggage reclaim, irregularities, and in-flight service) with the user within the experience.​​​​​​​ To read this webnote click here (spanish only)
This exercise aims to enable design students to use food as a medium that allows them to sensitize themselves concerning their creative processes. Following Pieter Desmet's definitions of positive emotions in his article Faces of product pleasure: 25 positive emotions in human-product interactions (2012), each student explored the conceptual aspect of a specific emotion. In this exploration, they used different media, such as mind maps, video exploration, 2D and 3D mood boards, and the writing of narratives. As a result, the students defined a concept, which incorporated the emotions and served to design a recipe.​​​​​​​ To read this webnote click here (spanish only)
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