Ricardo's a social systems designer and his work is at the intersection of social design, visual art and action research, working with projects in diverse global contexts, including Brazil, India, Mexico, Australia and the United States. He holds a MFA in Transdisciplinary Design from Parsons School of Design, New York; and is currently a PhD candidate at the Monash University Art, Design and Architecture, Melbourne. At the Presencing Institute (MIT), he co-leads the action research effort to investigate social field shifts using embodied practices. Ricardo works in the context of trans-disciplinary research efforts involving human learning in a broad sense, and what it means to change mindsets, cultures and behavior towards the co-creation of healthier futures. Previous work has been in exhibition at the Milan Design Week, featured as a "World Changing Idea" on Fast Company, and published by the Stanford Graduate School of Education. His work is an attempt to collaboratively respond to pressing social changes at the intersection of design, arts, social-emotional learning, and technology – moving from problem-solving into dreaming, imagining and co-creative spaces. Previous projects include works with TEDx, United Nations, TATA Group, Parsons The New School for Design, Presencing Institute (MIT), Ashoka and Ford. 

Core topics of expertise: pattern-finding; process design; design research; prototyping the emerging future; embodied-led practices; action research; data visualization; participatory design; design of learning environments; open innovation; systems thinking; social-emotional learning, and social innovation. 

Visual & making skills: rapid prototyping; graphic design; photography; video making & editing.


 Fig.: Intersection of different fields of knowledge.

Fig.: Intersection of different fields of knowledge.



1. DESIGN: including (1) the uses of generative tools and tangible artifacts as self-orienting devices; (2) the “relational” qualities of man-made artifacts, i.e., their abilities to occasion enchanting, amusing, or challenging encounters – the evocative, transformative, and “holding” powers of artifacts, respectively their potential to bring about meaningful associations, to “let people in”, to sustain engagement and capture human imagination over time; (3) how facilitated conversations about aesthetic principles and visual perception can influence decision-making in complex and changing environments; (4) the uses of prototyping and tinkering as approaches to rehearsing, experimenting and testing possible alternative futures.  


2. LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT: including (1) the learning process and how individuals derive meaning in order to orient their action in the world, i.e., their capacity to sense-make learning experiences, develop self-reliance and operate from new emerging dynamic realities. 


3. CHANGE: including (1) how large-scale collaborations happen through open innovation in global networks; (2) system leverages for change, particularly the notion of emergence, social fields and awareness-based technologies. 




Working and collaborating with projects and partners across various locations is a key aspect of Ricardo's global practice. He believes that working collaboratively and co-creating across various knowledge hubs in the world to be a key sign of the emerging and future of work.

Awards & Recognitions:

  • The Alternative – solutions for the social domain at Milan Design Week, 2016 *(an iteration of this project has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 World Changing Ideas Award, by Fast Company)
  • The New Challenge – grand prize winner; social innovation award by The New School, 2016
  • Unreasonable Lab, Columbia University – thesis project selected among other 100 applicants by the prestigious Unreasonable Institute
  • Brazil Scientific Mobility Program – fully funded graduate scholarship by the Brazilian Government, 2014\16
  • 1st Place at Dartmouth Startup Weekend, 2015
  • United Nations Summer School, 2013 – selected among 100 global leaders from a pool of 140 000 applicants. Watch video here
  • Ashoka and Staples Youth Social Entrepreneurship Award, 2008







A new wave of designers formally educated in human-centered design—taught to weave together research, interaction, visual and code to solve incredibly gnarly 21st-century problems—will move into leadership positions. They will push the industry to new heights of sophistication.
— Fast Company