A mini series: BIF's Unusual Suspects

At BIF we love to cultivate RCUS (also known as Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects) Perhaps it is because we ourselves are a group of unusual suspects. In this occasional series, you can find out just how unusual we actually are.

This week I caught up with BIF experience designer Crystal Rome. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Crystal now finds herself living and working in the capital of the smallest state in the U.S.

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What is your favorite aspect about the project you are currently working on?

“The freedom,” she begins. Freedom and access to “the space and resources” that enable her and the rest of the BIF design team on what we’re calling around the office “the Dallas Project” to reimagine and design solutions to what Crystal refers to as a “huge conceptual problem” within the complex social system that is healthcare.

Crystal also enjoys very much being able to see the project holistically. This allows her to approach it in a thoughtful way; “considering it from a customer, consumer perspective,” and above all, “taking a human approach”.

Where do you look for inspiration?

It’s no surprise that Crystal, finds inspiration in science fiction, since she  dressed up as a Star Trek character for Halloween this year. She finds inspiration in all forms of science-fiction, or sci-fi. Whether it’s in books or movies, or on TV, for Crystal sci-fi displays the “ultimate creativity in what could be”.

Another inspiration go-to for Crystal looking and listening to podcasts that will “fill [her] brain with random stuff”. A few of her favorites: Planet Money, 99% Invisible and Love & Radio. Other times she takes an entirely different approach -- instead of filling her brain, she clears it by taking walks through the neighborhoods in Providence.

Last, but not least, Crystal says she looks to economics for inspiration. I know what you’re thinking...economics?? But she says “looking at the problems of economics are so relatable” not only to  the projects and problems we take on here at BIF, but to problems in almost every aspect of our society.

What would your dream project would look like?

Before saying anything, Crystal grabs a nearby book and holds it up from me to see. It’s Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, one of her Christmas gifts this year. “Behavioral economics,” she says.

I have only a vague concept of what behavioral economics is or what a project on that would look like. So I ask her to explain further. With enthusiasm, she gives me a flash lesson.

Here’s what I learned: Traditional economics says human beings are rational. For example, it’s a misconception that we base our financial decisions on thought and logic as traditional economics says. “In fact,” Crystal says, “we make rash decisions based on emotion”.

So, Crystal says, her ideal project would help to solve the “big problem” of on bridging the gap between how public policy is created and how people actually behave.    

Did you make a new year’s resolution? If so, what was it?

Stop drinking, because “I would like to exist as a social being without alcohol.”


Kudos to Crystal on this resolution, and a big thanks to her for being my first victim for BIF’s Unusual Suspects mini series. As of late, if Crystal isn’t working in the common space in the back corner of the BIF office she most likely is in Dallas with the rest of the Dallas team. You can find her on Twitter @crystaljunerome and on Instagram @crystaljunerome — her pictures are rad!

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