Chapter 4. Co-Pilot

Chapter 4. Co-Pilot

A service platform, which processes and visualizes personal data in order to support independent creatives in their career journey.

You don’t see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it.
— Robert Stetson Shaw

Project Description


Sometimes, there comes a stage in life when we ask ourselves: ‘what has my journey been so far, what am I good at, and where should I go next?’ By choosing this as her design direction Liliana wanted to encourage conversation around personal life goals and ambitions to help people self-reflect and prioritize what is important to them.

Initially, she focused on finding the perfect balance between work and leisure to enable people to stay motivated, reflected, and well-rested. After having conducted 22 interviews and various co-creation session, Liliana found that there is no one-fits-all solution as supposed to be a fixed formula, since it’s a very subjective experience. Because people design their lives the way they aspire to, it would be way more powerful to facilitate an understanding about which decisions led them to the point of present, in order to help create a future they desire. Aiming to vividly express her research into a relatable frame she utilized the metaphor of pilot and co-pilot navigating the journey together.


›Co-Pilot‹ is a coaching service for independent creatives, which facilitates their career-related decisions via self-reflection. Combining artificial and human intelligence, the platform pools and processes personal data from various sources (e.g. Google calendar events and maps history, Health app) and visualizes it to generate engaging prompts and views on life events in relation to people’s well-being. Driven by data, the service lets users discover and set milestones, and matches them with a coach in a similar stage of life and profession to help plan a new course of their journey ahead.

The foundation for the most important feature of the application considers the trending habit of taking ‚selfies’ and snapshots as a possible opportunity to initiate self-reflection. By using this add-on Visual Storytelling through Photography, a picture can be taken and tagged with emotions and designated descriptions to create a personalized self-reflection portfolio. Based on physiological and behavioral biometrics, the device’s camera simultaneously captures moments corresponding to previously logged emotions. The AI of the service aggregates all information and delivers a data visualization on a map presenting snapshots connected to specific locations and events the user has attended. This is a new way for the individual to recap his or her daily life and allows the app to connect people who share experiences, emotions, and a similar path.


Throughout the user research, Liliana used a cooperative exercise called ›A Day in the Life‹, as tool to seek stories from interviewees and to find out how they structure their day according to three parameters: What are they doing? Who are they with? How are they feeling? Displaying a clock visual next to a physical set of cards suggesting various opposite emotional states, they were invited to work with these or add new ones. For participants she could not meet in person a Keynote prototype was created. The file was set up to add descriptions onto the time display, as well as drag, drop, and locate corresponding feelings. Screen sharing via Skype enabled her to follow the process, observe, and ask questions accordingly. These shared everyday life stories revealed certain moments and special occasions linked to a high emotional awareness - Liliana identified these as opportunities to initiate self-reflection.

Project Details


The Team

This was a solo project done in collaboration with several interviewees and advisors as well as peer support. 


Research, Co-Creation, Concept, Prototyping, User-Experience, Visuals, Video, Service Design, Speculative Design


Completed in 2 months (October – November 2015) as part of the Final Project at CIID (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design).


Since visual design is one of Liliana’s strength she wanted to improve her skillset in other phases of the design process, specifically research and prototyping. Dealing with big data - as in the high-level concept included - requires several iterations and way more time for user testing in order to make it meaningful. According to this, her next milestones would be exploring the most appropriate way to visualize data in that context by testing further, creating wireframes and key screens of the service with increasing fidelity. 


Looking back, Liliana understood that this concept would work for a larger target group than she initially thought; this idea could be relevant for freelancers of all kind, and also be incorporated by large organizations.

Analyzing specific details of the core idea behind the metaphor, she would describe the following as a detour she needed to make in order to arrive at the final stage of the concept as it is right now: A co-pilot is there to help to support decisions and when needed he is entitled as the main pilot to take over and act on the pilot’s behalf. Liliana was particularly intrigued by the second part of the setting. She was trying to figure out the question how much control of their lives people would be willing to give to a co-pilot. She wondered if this could be a new strategic approach to coaching. While usually a coach would give advice on what to do and the actual execution would be up to the individual (pilot), this is about letting someone (co-pilot) be actively involved in life, enabling the individual to free up time at work and focus on things he or she love to do, because that is mostly what they are good at.


Eilidh Dickson (Final Project Advisor)
Simona Maschi (Head of Programme, Co-Founder and CEO of CIID)
Matt Cottam (External Advisor)


Chapter 3. Spark

Chapter 3. Spark

Chapter 5. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Chapter 5. The Grand Budapest Hotel