Storyteller. Avid sketcher. Designer. and Art Center alumna. Colombian. Entrepreneur. Simplifier. Former auto mechanic. Animal lover.


what i love to do


Using a variety of design research methods, I spend weeks getting to know the user/consumer—their needs, their hopes and their fears—and translating this research into actionable insights and opportunities.

DESIGN & test

Need to design a new service? Build a new product? No problem. We work together to brainstorm, prototype and build our way up to the solution. I am a maker and builder of prototypes and crafty little things that can give us a lot of information using minimal resources in this process.



I’m as much a teacher as I am a designer. Design thinking doesn't always need to be used as whole process from beginning to end. Some simple principles and methodologies can make a big difference when trying to get "unstuck" or wanting to infuse creative thinking in an organization.



With an in-depth focus on social innovation, Mariana Prieto uses design thinking as a tool to explore innovative solutions for complex social issues such as family planning for teenagers in Zambia or creating credit systems for the unbanked. As a teacher, strategist, and product designer, Mariana has leveraged design as a tool to inform and iterate upon existing systems around the world. She now specializes in applying design thinking for wildlife conservation efforts.

Prieto was the Design Innovation Lead for the International Rescue Committee where she led design for the organization’s newest initiative, the Airbel Center. Airbel is tasked with designing and testing large-scale solutions for people affected by crisis, such as war and natural disasters. 

Previously she was a Global Design Fellow at and Co Founder of Blue Barrel Concepts, where she led research and market viability on concepts aimed at improving the quality of life for people without access to running water. She was a Fellow at Polymath Ventures, where she co-lead a team tasked to design companies meant to scale to over a billion dollars in Latin America.

Prieto has taught at USC Marshall School of Business and has been a guest lecturer at Berkeley Haas School of Business, Stanford University and speaker at TEDxYouth@Caltech. She is currently a member of the Curious Company Collective

She now lives in New York with her husband, a dog and a cat.