Digital, Design, and the Power of Good

Emily Turner, co-founder & Zen master at The Journey Lab

Emily Turner, co-founder & Zen master at The Journey Lab

Your website describes The Journey Lab as “a cooperative of digital professionals”—what exactly does that entail?

The Journey Lab is fueled by an unconventional and increasingly powerful workforce. We are freelancing tech pros who imagine, design, engineer, wordsmith, whatever it takes to build tech products that captivate and motivate. Members bring unique perspectives, expertise, reasonable rates and freelancing flexibility to create agile and custom teams for clients.

The lean command center of full time employees directs team, secures clients and grows the co-op. Our bottom line is that freelancers can create great online impact with an inspiring supply of work and a supportive community. It’s the cat’s meow!

 

Your work focuses on non-profits and social good organizations, what motivated you to focus on this sector?

Backgrounds in DC tech exposed us to nonprofits of all sizes striving for great impact in the digital age. Even established, well-funded groups struggled to receive specialized, innovative, affordable focus from consultancies. Meanwhile, we yearned for work with freedom and purpose, and noticed a universal human trend. Our co-op model responds to this gap by connecting socially-drive initiatives to the passionate and topnotch techies that their noble causes deserve. 

My own compulsion to do and promote meaningful work stems from 2 parents devoted to vocational careers in social justice and farming. Growing up, my Dad supervised groups of his students in operating a Capitol Hill homeless shelter, spending the night in the shelter one night a week. I’d miss him on Wednesday nights, but now I understand. 

 

Technically, the NFL is (or maybe was until recently) registered as a non-profit. Is there an ethical gauge or level of criteria you use in determining which non-profits The Journey Lab is willing to work with?

Good is the most subjective concept alive. Its inherent challenge and moral imperative, keeps us obsessed with sparking dialogue and action around the matter. To focusing our efforts, we survey and crowd source to understand what is widely considered good, exciting and worthy. We also tend to keep it simple with no brainers like areas of human and environmental health cause, duh. 

 

Who would be your dream client?

Akili Interactive in San Francisco. They are building video games to treat depression.

 

Show off a little—can you share some recent work you’re really proud of?

We just launched an interactive user guide for the 2015 UN Paris Climate Talk to optimize participation from attendees. It’s going down now! 

 

You’re the co-founder and Zen master. The first title is explanatory enough—care to elaborate on the latter?

Mindfulness increases my niceness with myself and others. Practicing nonjudgmental and compassionate calm eliminates mental swirl, allowing me to intimately witness thoughts, emotions and their paths. The resulting awareness gives me clarity and conviction that sharpens my internal and externalworlds. 

Canvas an ideal incubator for engraining zen into daily, real life. I’m more a student then master, but I hope to recruit fellow seekers to join me.