Hi Andreas, ace to have you involved in our Glug Profiles series. For those Gluggers who’ve never heard of you, who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Andreas. I live with my wife and our 2 kids in North London. I’m a UX and Service Designer eager to create positive outcomes for people and business through design. Currently I am working with Red Badger helping blue chip clients with their digital transformation. This means working with them to establish customer-centric practices; building the right conditions to test and learn from customers continuously while applying lean and agile processes to minimise waste. We do this by running ways-of-working sessions with our clients and practicing design in true cross-functional teams on client’s projects.
Boom! That sounds great.. So, how did you end up doing what you’re doing now? I studied communication design in Düsseldorf, Germany. Which has helped me learn how to think and present with visual strength and clarity. Over the past 10 years I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of industries. From advertisement in São Paulo, to UX design in an art foundation in Amsterdam. I even experienced working as an Art Director for a luxury industry in London, a friend called this the indulgent phase, with very few limitations to what is possible and how the design is produced. But I was missing the substance, the positive impact on people’s lives that we can have through our design. This realisation helped me to focus on UX and Service Design which I am passionately presenting in our consultancy and within our client’s organisations.
Now that's a journey indeed. Did you always dream of working in the creative industry, then? No, when I was a kid I wanted to be a vet actually. And when I was 13 our family dog needed an operation, so I decided that it would be a great idea to assist during the operation, but that didn’t end well, as I nearly fainted. So as a result I have figured out that maybe that’s not a good idea, as seeing blood was not for me. Over my teenage years I developed my love for photography, I took lots of photos and studio photography courses. I also read pretty much anything that was available in shops and libraries. I also enjoyed volunteering, for one year after school I would volunteer at a natural resort, teaching kids, driving Jeeps and doing all kinds of practical stuff that needed doing, before I started to study design.
Oh goodness! Seems it was a wise decision not to pursue the vet career, then... Haha! On the notion of careers... Have you had any mentors along the way of your career so far? There are people I have learned loads from, but I did not really have a mentor, which I regret. I should look for one now… its never too late.
Totally! Let us know if we can help with some introductions to someone for mentorship... Anyway... If you were to give your younger self any advice on what to go for, or think about when you’re just about to step into the industry, what would that be? Try out many different things and see what environments helps you become your best self. Find a good boss to work for, this makes all the difference. Become aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Work on your weaknesses, to the extend that they do not become a stumbling block. And play with your natural strengths. Take any opportunity to learn and practice till you become truly great in them. Reflect on how much value, financial or other you add through the work you do, and make sure you get rewarded properly.
Love it, that's some stellar advice there. So, apart from working… What do you get up to in life? Got any exciting side hustles or passions to tell us about? I am together with my wife for 17 years, and she is clearly my passion. We have 2 kids and I enjoy every day with them for all kinds of reasons. Friends are a great source of inspiration too and they ground me.
You mentioned your kids. How do you organise work and family between you and your partner? What has it changed in your life? I love our kid’s open curiosity and boundless fascination for literally anything. I have never spoken to more garbage truck drivers, zookeepers, and pilots in my life. In terms of day-to-day organisation, we see couples slowly moving into very traditional roles, against all their intentions. Some of them take on even more rigid models than their parents had. We have both chosen jobs we love and having kids was an equally conscious and wholehearted decision for both of us. For us this means sharing the responsibilities and having a shared understanding of the challenges of parenting. What I found astonishing was that for men reducing work time to look after a young family seems surprising. At the same time it is rather expected from women. We aim to balance our family responsibilities and joys on equal terms.
Yeah, that's unfortunately a very true reflection of the differentiation of expectations between the genders and roles. Good to hear you're tackling this though. So, say you’re running low on inspiration, what do you do (or where do you go) to get this back on track again? I look for fresh views by going to museums, meetups, conferences or just out to the street. When graduating one of my professors asked me to never stop learning. He said, whatever your salary is make sure to invest 10% of this to continue learning. [No hardware allowed, just trainings and books]. This was a great advice and I hit the target in most years.
And… If you were given the opportunity to move anywhere without having to apply for any visas what-so-ever (and we’d sort the packing for you) — where would you go? We are in London because it is an incredibly exciting place for us. We loved living in Amsterdam as well. People look more after each other and themselves. Doing exciting projects while working family friendly 4-day weeks is much easier to realise there.
Ok, and last but not least... Please give a link shout-out to 5 book and conferences you enjoyed over the last year:
1) This Is Service Design Doing: Using Research and Customer Journey Maps to Create Successful Services
2) Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice
3) The Startup Way: How Entrepreneurial Management Transforms Culture and Drives Growth
4) Designing Agentive Technology
5) The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way Your Lead Forever
Leading Design Conference
Service Experience Camp
Service Design Global Conference
Service Design for Business Conference
Thank you so much, Andreas!
This articles is part of our Glug Profiles series – a series of interviews aiming to highlight journeys and insights from creatives, makers, doers and cool cats from all walks of life in the creative industry, and the world. Get in touch with Malin if you'd like to take part: firstname.lastname@example.org