Experience in different disciplines helps you understand different perspectives. Everything you have ever learned comes back to you as a benefit.
Vida Asrina laughs about being unable to focus on one thing. At one stage in her intended career as an architect, that might have been a concern.
“I get agitated if I only do one thing,” she says. “My job now is so diverse. One day I'll be briefing a videographer, another day I'm doing interviews for a customer and another day I'll be designing a co-working space.”
For the past four years, Vida has worked for Fusion Labs in Ultimo, central Sydney. She’s helped teams of people from big companies – including Australia’s major banks and insurers – use Design Thinking, Lean Startup and other creative methods to innovate and forge new business opportunities. She is currently taking care of a service design team at Dan Murphy’s.
It comes as no surprise that Vida advocates a multidisciplinary approach to education. She’s worked in journalism and broadcasting, loves business, history, graphic design, video editing, new technology – and art. “I want to do it all!” she says.
She also continues her association with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where she took her Masters in Architecture, by teaching at U-Lab, an innovation space that brings together the Design and Business schools to engage students in new ways of learning.
In 2013, she co-founded a social enterprise in her home city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, which had been devastated by the 2004 tsunami. Driven by a passion to empower young people to have a say in the re-making of the city, Vida started the Kupi Culture Project with former UTS architecture student and friend Joanne Taylor.
The pair tapped into the popular local practice of socialising in coffee shops. Using Design Thinking methods, they brought young people together with professionals to help build a stronger community and help solve local problems.
“Banda Aceh is a very creative community, but sometimes people don’t talk to one another, so that’s why I wanted to create this collaboration; get people talking and connect the youth to the rest of the world,” Vida says.
She also took two groups of students from Australia to Banda Aceh. “It opened their eyes and introduced them to something completely different,” she says.
As a result of the project, Vida was invited to speak at an international coffee symposium in Seattle, gave a TEDx talk in Sydney as well as numerous media interviews.
“As long as I can use my knowledge and skills, and do something useful, then I’m happy,” she says.