Design Leader Series – Leticia Alameda

In our Design Leader Series we catch up with the people who are shaping Design in some of the leading companies across Europe. In this edition we catch up with Leticia Alameda, Design Strategy Lead at The Cocktail in Madrid (https://the-cocktail.com).

How would you summarise your career to date?

Started in Madrid, Spain as an account executive until I moved to NYC and developed a career in Brand Planning. From the Hispanic market into General Market, and after an adventure at Hyper Island I jumped into Innovation, where Strategy takes a whole new meaning and impact. I am glad to work not only with brands but with organisations´ products, services, culture, vision and business. I have taken risks when I needed to and have never stopped challenging myself and questioning what planning/strategy could and should be about.

What are your ambitions for Design Strategy at The Cocktail?

To evangelize Design Strategy as a growing practice and philosophy within The Cocktail, pushing for work around broader questions and challenges, not only for our clients, but for us as an organisation, and contributing to the definition of our Value Proposition for the market.

What advice do you wish you’d been given when you started out in your career?

Find the right balance between trusting/improvising and controlling/designing your own career. Speak up more and trust yourself. Do not second guess yourself that much. Find strong, female allies and look up to the few right role models.

What has been your proudest career moment to date?

Being contacted and seriously considered for a Head of Strategy position in a multinational org. (some day!). Briefing that one agency on a mutual client strategy. Shifting careers even though I would make less money. Working in Madison Ave.

Is it important to find your “niche” early on in your career?

I don´t think so. I think keeping yourself open and learning from different markets, industries, practices, methods, etc. makes you more interesting, and a better critical thinker. It is important to be exposed to different environments, people, and points of view to be a good generalist, which is what a Strategists is.

How do you stay relevant and learn?

TED ; My own LinkedIn network; Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Mashable, Techcrunch, DesignCo., The Guardian, Monocle, Slack Groups, sooooo many sources. All of them added to my social media feeds.

What’s your best advice for maintaining a healthy work/life balance?

Learn to say no without feeling guilty.

TRUST your colleagues and expect the same.

Be organized. Don´t waste your time and others´.

Educate other people on your preferences and respect theirs.

Be willing to (maybe, and sadly) make less money, at least in Spain, but value and enjoy your free time more.

What’s the hardest career lesson you’ve learned?

Don’t change jobs only based on economical reasons. Culture, people, the kind of daily work you will be doing, with whom, etc. Those things matter.

Which design leaders do you admire?

Tim Brown & Leonardo Da Vinci

Finally … what’s your favourite interview question?

One of my dearest mentors asked me in an interview which historical decade I would have liked to live in. I said the 60s and 70s because of the social revolutions and the cultural freedom. I guess she liked it because she hired me.

The Cocktail lead end to end transformation stories for their clients. Their team covers the whole discipline spectrum for online presence and business development: usability, information architecture, design, SEO, web metrics, back and front programming, marketing and research. You can connect with Leticia on twitter and linkedin.

Design Leader Series – Juliane Trummer

In our Design Leader Series we catch up with the people who are shaping Design in some of the leading companies across Europe. In this edition we catch up with Juliane Trummer, VP Strategy & Design at Mormedi (http://www.mormedi.com/)

How would you summarise your career to date?

A passionate journey of discovery and learning.

What are your ambitions for Strategy & Design at Mormedi?

To help our clients to stay relevant, to offer consumers experiences that are efficient and delightful and to contribute to culture and the intellectual design discourse.

What advice do you wish you’d been given when you started out in your career?

Identify where and how you want to work, who and what inspires you and then try to get there.

What has been your proudest career moment to date?

Being part of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner design team.

Is it important to find your “niche” early on in your career?

No – I personnally think it is important to stay open and experience different things before choosing a specialization.

How do you stay relevant and learn? 

Observation, reflection, conversation, reading, traveling.

What’s your best advice for maintaining a healthy work/life balance?

Play your favorite sport.

What’s the hardest career lesson you’ve learned?

Sometimes things are out of your control 🙂

Which design leaders do you admire?

Richard Sapper.

Finally … Favourite interview question?

What is your favourite book?

Mormedi is a strategic design consultancy that specialises in “innovation through customer experience” in the areas of service design, product design and digital design. You can connect with Juliane on linkedin.

Design Leader Series – Mark Delaney

In our Design Leader Series we catch up with the people who are shaping Design in some of the leading companies across Europe. In this edition we catch up with Mark Delaney, Head of Design Studio at Huawei in London (http://www.huawei.com).

How would you summarise your career to date?

To quote the legendary cyclist Greg LeMond, “It never gets easier you just go faster.”

What are your ambitions for your Design team at Huawei?

To help Huawei navigate the ever-changing mobile communication market.

To anticipate potential future business opportunities, and then using design tools make those futures tangible so senior leaders can fully understand the potential, the challenges, and the most importantly the investments necessary.

To deliver products and experiences to market which are intuitive, delightful and above all useful.

To deliver positive and sustainable growth for the business.

What advice do you wish you’d been given when you started out in your career?

There is no such thing as design strategy – there is only business strategy, and design needs to align.

What has been your proudest career moment to date?

Still working on it….

Is it important to find your “niche” early on in your career?

No, early in your career you are still very much in learning mode, so I think it is a good idea to move about a bit, work in different types of company, different fields of design, different sizes of team. Get as much experience as you can and then you have a much better foundation upon which to build upon when you do evantually decide to bring a little more focus to your career.

How do you stay relevant and learn?

As a designer, you are constantly learning and building experience. You are like a ‘cultural antenna’ taking in visual influence, observing people, dissecting experiences – always looking for ways to improve and refine everything around you.

It’s important to look beyond design to understand the broader context – read the business press, talk to product planners, work with the portfolio teams, understand the brand you are designing for and most of all immerse yourself within the engineering teams to gain a deep understanding of how products are really made.

What’s your best advice for maintaining a healthy work/life balance?

It’s all about give and take, as a designer you are passionate about your work and sometimes, if you are busy, or just really excited about a project, then work can take over for a while. That’s OK, because at other times you need to prioritise life and you need to come in a little late or leave a little early.

The key thing is to avoid workplaces and bosses that drive a culture of constant long hours.  Working 9am to 9pm every day is not good for your health or creativity. Any company that expects you to put in hours of unpaid overtime is pretty poor at business and should be avoided

What’s the hardest career lesson you’ve learned?

I cannot expect to change large multi-national corporations just through my individual design efforts!

Which design leaders do you admire?

Often the best design leaders are not designers themselves, but they are business leaders with an instinctive understanding of the role design can play in their organisation and they are great creating the space for great design to happen. Steve Jobs is the obvious example with his pioneering use of design to build Apple into the world’s most valuable brand.

Today good design is very common, so to stand out you need to consistently deliver GREAT design.

I think CEO Bracken Darell has been doing a fantastic job enabling design at Logitech and in doing so has completely re-built the brand and delivered significant profits,. Simon Mottram has built cycling brand Rapha upon the foundation of great design and marketing, and has taken the company from a niche UK sportswear brand to become a globally influential, and hugely profitable. I also really admire the record label Warp, with their utterly uncompromising approach to music, design and video enabling artists like Aphex Twin and Chris Cunningham.

Finally … what’s your favourite interview question?

Do you ride a bike?  What music do you listen to? What’s your favourite book? – the person is as important as their talent as a designer.

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Their ICT solutions, products, and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population. With 180,000 employees, Huawei is committed to enabling the future information society, and building a Better Connected World. You can connect with Mark on linkedin.

Design Leader Series – Jorge Teixeira Da Silva

In our Design Leader Series we catch up with the people who are shaping Design in some of the leading companies across Europe. In this edition we catch up with Jorge Teixera Da Silva, Partner and Business Service Designer at Foreteller in Lisbon (http://www.growininnovation.com).

How would you summarise your career to date?

I’ve been always involved in the line between Customers and Brands, trying to connect the need from the solution.

What are the challenges for the growth of service design as a discipline?

The most difficult aspect, is the lack of knowledge about Service Design and the problem that we see, is that people tend to see it as a design discipline and not as a strategical methodology to transform their business and innovate.

What advice do you wish you’d been given when you started out?

That it’s going to be a hard road and that in many ways you have to use service design internally to understand how to be successful.

What has been your proudest career moment to date?

The creation of a new Digital Mobile Operator from the ground up – creating everything from scratch.

Is it important to find your “niche” early on in your career?

Yes, since you have to be an expert on something to be successful. Being good at everything, it means that you’re an average professional on everything and you should be extraordinary on a particular matter.

How do you stay relevant and learn?

Read, read and read. I always follow the events of TED, but I also follow some of the great minds that we have, to learn a little bit.

What’s your best advice for maintaining a healthy work/life balance?

It’s a hard question, it’s giving small moments in life dedicated to the ones that you love. At the end of the day, what matters is the people you love.

What’s the hardest career lesson you’ve learned?

That there are people that succeed in their career, by taking advantage of the work that you produce and take the credit for our work.

Which design leaders do you admire?

So many … Bjarke Ingels, Don Norman, Dieter Rams.

Finally … what’s your favourite interview question?

The one ‘What’s your best advice for maintaining a healthy work/life balance?’

Blending storytelling, technology, creativity and with a comprehensive outlook on people’s needs, Foreteller are proud pursuers of innovative solutions for gaps in services and real markets. You can connect with Jorge on linkedin.