Here be the dragon – Designing experiences for customers

I’m a Customer Experience Dragon.  What’s that, you may be asking.  Well, in ancient maps, people often put a dragon to mark uncharted territories and undiscovered waters. They were fearful of what dangerous animals or hostile tribes would hide in those places.  So I’m a dragon: I help discover uncharted areas that can bring delight to customers. And I’m a darn friendly dragon, too.

I work within The Lab, O2’s innovation engine. I’m part of a team that’s every day working in a very collaborative manner to create new ideas and test them for the benefit of our customers.

I believe innovation starts with human needs, and design is central to that.  What most people don’t know about design is that it’s something to be experienced physically and emotionally – it’s not just to do with creating visuals.

I work across O2 to instil design thinking and creativity into everything that we do.  I recently ran workshops and mapped out various customer journeys with the O2 Home team to improve customers’ experience in store.  In another of my projects, I created The Bubble, a creative ideation and workshop space for everyone at O2. When colleagues step inside they are enticed to take off their shoes, so they feel they’re in a difference environment.

I was trained in visual communication in the early days of the internet, when we were still using dial-up.  After the better part of a decade working my way up to being creative director designing websites for start-ups, I came to O2 to head up the IT visual design team delivering everything online.  After a few years gaining some valuable experience, I saw an opportunity in The Lab where I could expand my digital skills, dealing with everything from app development, to interactive screens, to virtual reality.

The Lab has supported me by trusting in what I do and giving me the freedom to explore.  My skills complement the team’s vast technical capabilities, so we work well together.

One of my mantras at work is to be more like Bruce Lee, another dragon: move fast and be precise in your movements, and not to waste energy trying to over-think or design a solution before you’re confident you’re your idea has legs. I’m a dragon through and through!

If you’re interested in working in design, here’s some advice:

  • Have empathy. You have to understand what’s driving the people that you want to interact with and solve problems for.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Generate lots of ideas and prototypes. Don’t get hung up on getting it perfect the first time or even second time. Just try and do it.
  • Take courses and read books on design thinking. There are already a lot of courses online that you can take for free.

To find out about opportunities working in our Head Office or in our Stores – please go to www.o2careers.co.uk

By Jez Sherwin

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