👋 Hello, I am Fabien.
I am a researcher and engineer in emerging technologies with a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Digital Communication. With my experience in both academic and industry settings, I co-founded the Near Future Laboratory to help organizations like BBVA, Boeing, and Le Louvre prototype 'what might come next' just beyond the core of their activities.
My research has been cited in more than 2000 academic publications and my creative work has been exhibited at the Museum of the Future in Dubai and the Design Museum in Barcelona among other international cultural institutions.
Refined over the last 15 years with my colleagues at Near Future Laboratory, my approach is multidisciplinary. It is about mixing creativity and imagination with logic, structure and engineering skills. We published The Manual of Design Fiction, a guide to our practice, its origins, its utility and its impact.
Fabien Girardin (Dipl.-Ing. Ph.D.) is a founding partner of the Near Future Laboratory, a distributed network of accomplished practitioners best known as pioneers of Design Fiction. Since 2009, they have helped over 100 organizations – from multinational companies and governments to NGOs and start-ups — bring focus to their visions and discover 'what might come next' just beyond the core of their activities.
Throughout his career, Fabien experienced first-hand what it means to run a company that lasts, to co-create and launch products, to lead teams of talented technologists, to be on a board of directors, to help executives make sense of socio-technological evolutions, to stretch people imagination through public exhibits, to teach and mentor young professionals.
Most notably, he was co-CEO at BBVA Data & Analytics, a center of excellence in advanced analytics that derived knowledge from financial data. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he pioneered techniques that analyze digital traces of human activity for urban innovation and applied them in the industry for Le Louvre, the Boeing Company, Navteq, City of Geneva, among other clients. Subsequently, he collaborated with the data visualization studio Bestiario, to bring to market a visual programming environment that democratizes data manipulation and visualization as part of a practice he coined as Sketching with Data.
Fabien holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Digital Communications 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). His research has been cited in more than 2000 academic publications.
Prior to his graduate studies, he joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technologies in Lausanne (EPFL) to manage and investigate the use of technologies for collaborative learning. Earlier in 1997, he developed a web directory popular in Switzerland that he later sold to a local Internet Service Provider to finance his studies in Computer Science at the Biel School of Engineering and expand his horizons working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.
Besides occasional lectures in universities, design schools and business schools, Fabien teaches at University School of Design, Innovation and Technology (UDIT) in Madrid. He speaks in international conferences such as O'Reilly Strata, TEDx, Sonar+D, Primer, Picnic, Lift, Barcelona Design Week, and Smart City World Congress. And his work has been exhibited at the Museum of the Future in Dubai, the Design Museum in Barcelona, the National Football Museum in Manchester, the CCCB in Barcelona, the Fundacion Telefonica in Madrid, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Lima and the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague.
Born in Switzerland, Fabien has lived in Geneva, Oakland, Palo Alto, Barcelona, Boston and Madrid. He has recently moved to Gijón, Spain with his wife Eva and two children Noah and Luna. He speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and a rusty German.
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