How We Lose Our Authentic Self and Find It Again

We are all born into this world unique, beautiful, and whole. As we grow and are exposed to the pre-existing rules of society, we learn that there are “right” and “wrong” ways of being. Some of us learn that it is not always safe or acceptable to express our authentic self. We may even start believing that it has no worth…

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For 妈Ma

I was 8 when I jumped up

onto the bed to give you a hug

I was confused when 爸Ba stopped me

and said, “Be gentle with 妈Ma.”

That’s how I found out

that I would be a big sister.

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LifeJessica FanComment
The Path to My Authentic Self

2017 was a year of hurricanes. While Harvey, Irma, and Maria created one of the most catastrophic seasons ever recorded, I felt the same chaotic winds blow right through my personal life. Within the span of a few months, I parted ways with my beloved business partner, and my 7 year romantic relationship came to an amicable but no less painful end. I had come to see these two special people as part of my own identity, and without their anchoring presence, I was suddenly adrift and very much alone.


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BLND Talk: Musings of A Hungry Creative

This is a talk I did at BLND 2017 - a Design and Business conference hosted by the University of Waterloo.

The actual title is "Musings of a Hungry Creative". It's about the rarely shared struggles of being a creative entrepreneur, and what I learned while trying to navigate them. This is the most honest talk I've given and it was emotionally exhausting preparing it, but I'm happy that it resonated with so many people.

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Design of Everyday Things - Tokyo Edition

Tokyo is an experience designer’s paradise. On my recent trip there, I was amazed by how considerate and intentional the Japanese are with every action, product, service, and process. “How can we make life easier and more enjoyable for everyone?” seems to be the guiding principle in life. I felt it in everything from the perfect weight of a wabi-cha teacup to the incredible efficiency and accessibility of their public transit system.

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Pre-Japan trip: Conflicting emotions

This will be my first trip to the "Land of the Rising Sun", and I'm feeling many conflicting emotions. I have been a fan of Japanese culture ever since I got hooked onto Sailormoon as a kid. Anime and manga were a hugely influential part of my childhood and teenage years. In junior high, we learned about Japanese culture, feudal history, and literature. In university, I studied the approaches of Japanese design firms…

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TravelJessica FanComment
Overlap 2016 - In Service

In early June, a group of creatives and changemakers answered a vague invitation to gather in a Minnesota forest. The next few days were full of thought-provoking conversations, honest personal stories, and deep self-reflection. There was laughter, some tears, but most of all a sense of joyful camaraderie amongst kindred spirits. Together, we explored what it means to be "in service", and committed to helping each other find our way (or as Dila proposed, perhaps "there is no way"). 

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Innovation: You're Doing It Wrong

Hackathons and innovation labs have quickly made their way from Silicon Valley into corporate boardrooms, championed by business leaders who realize that they must “innovate or stagnate”. Millions have been invested into initiatives with the intent of creating new technologies, increasing profits, and attracting top talent. Although hackathons and labs are encouraging signs, too often innovation strategy stops here.


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[Betakit] Two Next 36 alumni are tackling the myth of one "magic pill" that kickstarts business innovation

“Innovation” is one of the hot buzzwords for both startups and large enterprises; as customer needs and demands change more quickly, the ability to be agile and proactively offer solutions that meet these demands has become key to survival as a business in 2016. It’s an issue that Chenny Xia and Jessica Fan — two Next 36 alumni — are addressing with Journey, a Toronto-based design consultancy helping large enterprises make innovation part of their client’s DNA. 

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Journey Mapping for Startups

As a spirited young entrepreneur, you are ready to take on the big challenges of the world. As you embark on this new adventure, you find yourself asking,  "how exactly do I uncover user needs?" In my role as a design strategist and startup founder, journey mapping has been an indispensable tool to get into the heads of users and uncover new opportunities.

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Super Heroes + Def Emcees: Biblical Prophecy in Popular Music and Film

The talk highlighted many interesting parallels between biblical stories and what we're exposed to in popular film and music. Dr. Derry specifically focused on examples in recent superhero movies and hip hop. It was concerning to see how prevalent "zealous nationalism" is in mass media (yes, even Lion King). On the other hand, Dr. Derry's examples of "prophetic realism" within hip hop music has made me view the genre in a new and much more positive light.

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[China] 雍和宫 Lama Temple Vlog

The most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet, the Lama Temple was converted to a lamasery in 1744 after serving as the former residence of Emperor Yong Zheng. Today the temple is an active place of worship, attracting pilgrims from afar, some of whom prostrate themselves in submission at full length within its halls.

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