Dr. Helen Papagiannis is internationally recognized as a leading expert in Augmented Reality (AR) and is the author of Augmented Human: How Technology is Shaping A New Reality. She is the former Chief Innovation Officer at Infinity Augmented Reality Inc. (New York and Tel Aviv), and was a Senior Research Associate at York University’s Augmented Reality Lab (Toronto). She has presented at TEDx, her 2011 talk featured among the Top 10 Talks on Augmented Reality. Ultimately, her work spans over a decade in the field as a researcher, designer, and technology evangelist.
My first job ever was… Working at a home for the aged, visiting with the elderly.
I chose my career path because… I think it chose me — I just followed my curiosity and passion. I love this quote from Rumi: “What you seek is seeking you.”
My proudest accomplishment is… Writing my book Augmented Human: How Technology is Shaping the New Reality, published by O’Reilly Media.
My boldest move to date was… Handing Peter Diamandis (co-founder of Singularity University) a copy of my book. I saw Peter walk by the first morning of the SingularityU Canada Summit and I wove through the crowd with my book in hand to quickly introduce myself and gift him Augmented Human. One of his book titles is “Bold,” so I thought why not be bold and say hello?
I surprise people when I tell them… I’ve flown a plane.
My best advice to people starting their career is… Be in an environment in which you thrive. Surround yourself with good people who inspire. Become obsessed with what you’re drawn to. Go deep.
My best advice from a mentor was… Be yourself and have fun. You don’t need to be perfect!
I would tell my 20-year old self…Relax. It all works out.
My biggest setback was… Negative self-talk.
I overcame it by… Mindfulness, practice, love.
Work/life balance is… So important. It’s a dance, and something you have to be continually aware of and committed to.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I’m extremely silly.
I stay inspired by… Indulging in the thoughts and work of great minds, being in nature, surrounding myself with art and design, and seeking out creative experiences.
The future excites me because… It’s a moment that’s waiting to be experienced, to bloom into being. Who knows who you’ll meet, where you’ll go, or what you’ll do next?
My next step is… Asking what’s next is continually shaping my work: ‘what’s next in tech, creativity, and culture?’ But it’s also critical to ask, ‘what’s now?’ or ‘what’s my current step?’ so as to not miss the present moment while being on the way to the future.