Past Member

Philippa Mothersill

Former Research Assistant

Pip Mothersill (MSc '14, PhD '20) is a human-centered product designer, philosophically-minded technology researcher and unconventional computational toolmaker. Bridging design theory, cognitive psychology and computer science, she develops digital tools and augmented environments for creative thinking that embrace purposeful ambiguity and intentional serendipity to provoke perspective-changing ideas, especially in the early phases of the creative process.

Design tools she has developed include: the EmotiveModeler CAD tool that allows users to use expressive adjectives to manipulate 3D forms; the Reframe creative prompt tool that juxtaposes language from a designer’s notes in surprising ways to provoke new associations between concepts in their project; the Looking Sideways inspiration exploration tool that presents a diverse range of content for each search query and suggests connections between the concepts discovered; and the digitally-augmented Design Daydreams ideation table and post-it note that seamlessly connects the physical and digital content that designers use in their creative processes.

Pip has presented her work at  international academic and industry conferences, including CHI, TEI, Design Research Society, European Academy of Design, Design Museum Boston, SXSW, Northeastern University and the Royal College of Art. As well as her academic experience, Pip has several years experience in industry (P&G/Gillette) developing new technologies and leading upstream product design strategy.  She also holds a MEng in Aeronautical Engineering, and a joint MA/MSc degree in Industrial Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art. 

Pip is continuing to develop her PhD research outside of the MIT Media Lab and would love to hear from you if you are interested in using these tools within your organization.  You can learn more about this work here: