Chris Harris

Professional Praxis

I work as a product engineer, artist, and independent consultant - In software, creative technology, and other innovative digital interactions.

With two decades of experience producing innovative digital user experiences, I work to improve the innovation infrastructure of teams, facilitate cycles of R&D, lead user insight discovery, develop software architecture, and work boradly across strategic technical communication.

Either as a embedded consultant, sparring partner or team producer, I contribute to both strategy and hands-on work. Across product management, product engineering, software, and creative technology.

I work to serve an intelligent, compassionate, and thriving planet.

Consulting

Product Research & Development

To discover, de-risk, and deliver new features for innovation and product-market-fit.

I can work end-to-end with a team and independently, to collect audience insights, plan UX interventions, specify engineering architecture, develop prototypes, engineer solutions, plan upgrades, and feed knowledge back into the team.

Example

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WorldBrain/Memex

2021-08-01

Product Engineering

WorldBrain build research tools for personal knowledge management and collaborative intelligence.

While consulting for WorldBrain in product & engineering, I lead efforts in research, development, communications and overall digital product strategy.

  • I prototyped features to improve the product and architecture.
  • I lead team R&D cycles towards product-market fit.
  • In weekly sparring sessions with the CEO I guided open questions, refined specifications, and prioritized fixes, features, and technical debt.
Product Research & Development

E.G: Extending annotations from web pages to multiple media formats.

For the informed and participatory R&D of features such as this I:

  • Conducted user development interviews
  • Gathered audience analysis
  • Created behavioural personas and jobs to be done
  • Investigated technical feasibility
  • Proposed an iterative refactoring to an improved technical architecture
  • Scoped work packages in shippable modules
  • Created a strategic roadmap for launching and continued maintenance
  • Developed functioning prototypes

Extensible annotations (initially: PDF Annotations) was launched with a roadmap of transitioning to a resilient and scalable technical architecture to support multiple media formats.

Software Engineering

Early in my engagement with WorldBrain I did much software engineering to help put out fires.

Front End To alleviate regressions I lead team efforts to refactor unruly UI components. I made UI controls more modular, testable, performant and error-free for an easier developer experience and successful user experience. I also did profiling and performance tuning to speed up UI interactions.

Back End Architecture In an advisory capacity I often assisted to the CTO in providing architectural feedback and in de-risking, and aligning the team on big architectural changes, E.G. a new cloud storage implementation. In a development capacity I refactored bottlenecks in maintainability and performance across legacy architecture e.g. underlying remote procedure call architecture.

Strategic Communications

Regularly I would document latest user insights and strategic directions to for internal team alignment, through Slack memos and Notion tasks. I also started an initiative to consolidate the strategy into external communications. In the research report I contributed much of the research and writing to sections 'Who are we building for', 'Where does the product fits in your network', and 'Workflows being optimised for' (roadmap).

Other Research & Development

In addition to engineering and product centric expertise I can support via

Knowledge Engineering

To improve organisational learning speed through engines for effective experimentation and innovation. Tuning the R&D meta-layer through internal system development, lightweight process facilitation and strategic technical communication. Increasing participation accessibility and feedback throughput.

Innovation Facilitation

To empower team success through concerted innovation I can facilitate, feedback, and fill-in from hands-on experience across most of the innovation stack. Synchronizing team strategy with ample agency, and encouraging a safe and supported team for effective innovation.

Creative Technology

For participatory storytelling via novel digital artifacts. The result of this 'innovation' effort can include software, interfaces, visualizations, simulations, generative art, writing, reports, videos, audio, or 3D. Whether speculative, provocative, conversational, aesthetic or interactive.

Communications & Media

For community engagement through conversational narratives. I practice producing writing, podcasts, and video, largely to find out how I can benefit the earthly inquiry beyond technical development. From this experience I can help organisations in their strategic media and storytelling.


Earlier works

Earlier Works

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Neural Net Car Removal

2019-05-01

Generative Art

Over the course of a few short weeks, I worked on several self-directed art experiments in machine learning.

The last attempt: biophillic visions, was well received with 4 Million views on Twitter.

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Girls in Tech: Hacking for Humanity

2018-12-01

Hackathon Prize

We won hackathon prizes for Best Overall Hack and Most Innovative for the invention of an educational mobile app for inter-species communication.

I lead our small team through the requirements, design, development and pitching as we responded to the brief.

More

Learning from the previous year's hackathon, I 'reverse-engineered' the judging panel's interests to seed the best narrative and functional requirements. Combining 'user' research, storytelling and technical execution.

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ProYou.app

2018-11-01

Founder, CEO, CTO

ProYou was a startup producing a conversational mobile app for positive behavioural change.

I learned invaluable lessons about the cognitive biases in research & development, the art of storytelling & pitching, the user experience of A.I. and amoung all the myriad of socio-technical-business insights - a necessity for team and community.

Activities as CEO & CTO
  • Conducted market research, ethnography, competitor reviews, user questionnaires and user interviews to drive product features.
  • Managed the budget, runway, technical complexity, feedback, and road-map.
  • Business administration and incorporation.
  • Worked with apprentices, freelancers and agencies to coordinate tasks in design and marketing.
  • Prepared pitch presentations and investor prospectus documents, spoke to investors, took meetings and interviews including with YCombinator.
  • Developed a cross-platform mobile app in Flutter with custom Android Java and iOS Swift plugins.
  • Developed a real-time, cloud back-end, with Firebase including document database schema, storage policies, security, caching.
  • Interfaced with Google's DialogFlow for online voice recognition, speech generation and natural language understanding.
  • Developed a bespoke graphical conversation designer that compiled to a custom state-machine dialog engine, for fast, offline, scripted chat.

Developing state-of-the-art software while upskilling on product design and attempting to understand business development is not something I would ever attempt single-handedly again - the solution rightly failed to find product market fit, though the grey hairs retain much wisdom.

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University of Leeds

2011-07-01

BSc Artificial Intelligence

Studying A.I. at university included fundamental computer science plus modelling intelligence and other complex bio-inspired adaptations. The polygot of programming languages, tools, and logical frameworks was formative to my R&D practice in interactive and bio-inspired computation.

Interests and learnings

Since the MRI & BCI time was in too high demand to allow me to explore the computational neuroscience of meditation, I spent my time simulating worm brains, making augmented reality games, developing bots conversing in natural language and modeling inference in computer vision.

I left more capable in intelligence engineering but disillusioned in the growing popular narrative of anthropocentric 'A.I.' intelligence and it's use cases.

Serving an

intelligent, compassionate, and thriving planet.

Work With Me

Please get in touch to explore the high leverage I can add towards your innovations in product engineering and other creative HCIs.

Email me via hello at harrischris.com Matrix me via @chris:zoes.is