Elisa Ngan is a transdisciplinary systems designer and Assistant Professor of Practice in Urban Technology. She applies design theory to software practice to investigate how the sociotechnical process of creating digital platforms, mediates, structures, and enables the phygital production of space, access, and labor. Her research pivots around creating data interventions for long-tail problems at the end of the product lifecycle, cross-pollinating with topics of category theory, industrial cybernetics, and epistemic injustice to reveal the broken relationships of industrial maintenance and repair invisibly affecting the lives of marginalized persons and communities.
With applied expertise in enterprise digitization and software engineering culture, Elisa has designed roles and workflows for emergent professions creating the epistemic and environmental integrity of the future. Her impact in product operations, architecture, and design can be found at Treasure Data (a customer data platform acquired by Softbank-funded Arm to build out their device-to-data strategy) and Tulip Interfaces (a manufacturing operations platform and research spin-off out of MIT’s Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces research group). She is a disabled Cambodian-American woman with a B.A. in Architecture from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Design Engineering from the Harvard GSD. She is currently working with the talented team at Certain Measures and Windfall Data.