Fabien Girardin

Work Biography References

I work at the intersection of design and data science.

I believe the best way to design a technology based on data starts by anticipating how people might co-evolve with it. When conceptualizing a product or service my prototypes transform visions into a tangible form that anyone can feel and understand. Additionally, I design fictions that scan the present and explore possible appropriations of technologies to anticipate future opportunities and challenges. Taken together, they present tangible concepts that uncover implications for the viability and desirability of a product or service. Some my recent public projects include: an app to adopt a sustainable social media hygiene, an platform that connects a traveler's present to another traveler's future, a diagonistic service of social media related pathologies, a business intelligence tool for retail shops and restaurants, a platform to sketch with data, an app that recommends places based on analogies, and a fictional newspaper that puts a possible day in the future of data and football in your hands. I occasionaly write about my practice in Medium and in Near Future Laboratory's blog. Recent posts include:

The Life and Death of Data Products, July 12, 2016

Social Media at Human Pace, January 11, 2016

The Global Village and its Discomfort, December 10, 2015

Our Approach of Design Fiction, October 15, 2015


Swiss born based in Madrid.

Fabien Girardin (PhD) is a researcher, engineer and creator who co-founded the Near Future Laboratory, a micro-multinational Design Fiction agency based in Geneva, Madrid, San Francisco and Venice Beach. He also works at BBVA Data & Analytics, a center of excellence in financial data analysis, where he leverages his broad and comprehensive understanding of both computational and people constraints to transform algorithms and data analytics into experiences that are future forward.

Throughout his career, Fabien has pioneered works at the intersection of user experience and data science. Most notably, he developed Digital Footprinting techniques that analyze network data to improve the observations of human mobility[1], urban attractiveness[2] and hyper-congestion[3]. Also he co-created Quadrigram, a visual programming environment that democratizes data manipulation and visualization as part of a practice he coined as Sketching with Data [4].

Fabien holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Digital Communications[5] from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain. Along his academic journey, he was also affiliated with the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to his graduate studies, he joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technologies in Lausanne (EPFL) to manage and study the use of collaborative applications. Subsequently, Fabien co-founded Simpliquity, an EPFL spin-off that produced for the Boeing Company an air-travel detection system used in experience sampling surveys[6]. Earlier in 1997, he developed a web directory popular in Switzerland that he later sold [7] to finance his studies at Biel School of Engineering and move to Silicon Valley.

In addition to occasionally lecture in universities, design and business schools, Fabien speaks in conferences such as O'Reilly Strata, TEDx, Picnic, Lift, IoT Shift, Barcelona Design Week, and Smart City World Congress.

Finally, his work was exhibited in CCCB, the National Football Museum in Manchester[8], the Design Museum of Barcelona and Laboral of Gijón.[9]


Selected Publications

[1] Girardin, F., Calabrese, F., Dal Fiore, F., Ratti, C., and Blat, J. (2008). Digital footprinting: Uncovering tourists with user-generated content. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 7(4):36-43.

[2] Girardin, F., Vaccari, A., Gerber, A., Biderman, A., and Ratti, C. (2009). Quantifying urban attractiveness from the distribution and density of digital footprints. International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research, 4:175-200.

[3] Girardin, F. (2013). Insights from network data analysis that yield field observations. Ethnography matters.

[4] Girardin, F. (2015). Sketching with Data, in New Challenges for Data Design. pp 189-205 Bihanic, David (Ed.), Springer

[5] Girardin, F. (2009). Aspects of implicit and explicit human interactions with ubiquitous geographic information. PhD thesis, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

[6] Girardin, F., Nova, N., and Dillenbourg, P. (2009). Detecting air travel to survey passengers on a worldwide scale. Journal of Location-Based Services, 3(3):210-226.

Exhibited work

[8] Winning Formula at National Football Museum in Manchester, CCCB and Fundacion Telefonica Madrid, Santiago de Chile (2014)

[9] World's Eyes at Design Museum of Barcelona and LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial (2009)

Selected media coverage

Qui sera responsable des maladies de la connexion?, Le Monde, February 25, 2016.

Muchos números para el fútbol, El Periodico, July 27, 2015.

Un catálogo de Ikea de ciencia ficción muestra el futuro de la tecnología, El Confidencial, July 2, 2015.

Interview with Fabien Girardin. Co-founder of Near Future Laboratory, Smart City Business Institute , December, 2014.

El 'efecto Mona Lisa' guia cada paso de los turistas en el Louvre, El Periodico, February 6, 2012.

La nouvelle science des données, InternetActu, July 12, 2010.

Flickr Photos Yield Tourist Trails, Technology Review, June 15, 2010.

Quelle ville voulons-nous offrir ? Quelle ville espérons-nous recevoir ?, Le Monde, March 6, 2009.

Internet revela los movimientos de los turistas en las ciudades, El Periodico, March 31, 2008.

[7] Avec Yoodle.ch, deux entrepreneurs rêvent d'un Yahoo à la sauce edelweiss, Le Temps, March 11, 2000.

Fabien Girardin. 1995-2016 All Rights Reserved