#1 People I’ve worked with
I’m an observer, so I often learn by watching people I admire. I don’t imitate them, but it feels natural to see how they do things and adapt this into my own work. I’ve had two supervisors in my career from whom I’ve learned a lot – one of them taught me how to work collaboratively alongside clients and the other showed me how to convince stakeholders about why users should be heard and why service design matters. Both of them also believed in me when I was a little hesitant myself, encouraging me to go further in my work and take on more leadership, which is so crucial for learning.
#2 The scary moments
New opportunities can be big career turning points, but they can also be a bit scary sometimes. In my first seven or eight years in this field I was learning constantly, but at some point I needed something new. Even though the idea of change felt intimidating, I knew I could handle it, and embracing opportunities – including joining Futurice – has always led me forwards in my career. While taking on new roles and responsibilities can be challenging and frightening, those are also the moments that help you achieve the most.
#3 Learning from other cultures
I used to travel a lot for work, doing customer research in the USA and China. Nowadays I prefer to stay at home with my family, but working in other cultures and countries taught me a lot about design and the relevance of context, and I don’t think it’s really possible to fully understand these things without seeing different places. For example, I once visited several paper mills in China for a previous job. Being in those places, meeting the people there and understanding the context of use taught me things that no one could have ever explained to me, and it has had a lasting effect on how I do design.
#4 The little decisions
I wanted to be a teacher when I was in high school, but I changed my mind at the last moment and applied to study economics. When I didn’t get accepted, I ended up at Tampere University of Technology, and the rest is history! This is an example of how my intuitive decisions have combined with things I couldn’t control to guide my career. The little decisions have probably ended up more important than the big ones overall, for instance choosing a project that didn’t seem like fun but offered some new things to learn. I’ve often put very little thought into the decisions that have had the biggest impact on where I am today, because their importance only became clear at a later date.
#5 Teaching others
I’ve recently been teaching service design and design thinking at a university, with adult students from other professions and backgrounds. Talking with them and answering their questions has been a beneficial experience for me, as their varied perspectives challenge me to refine my understanding of the subject that I’m an expert in. This has made my thinking clearer and developed me as a professional. It’s also been really inspiring to finally have the opportunity to teach, 20 years after I first dreamed of doing it!
Interested in reading more stories about us and our people? At Futurice, we celebrate diversity and cherish everyone's unique journey. Check out our Welcome Home page and get inspired by more journeys shaping our culture. If you would like to read more stories and get to know our people, our sites and the community better, check out the global version of our FutuStories Booklet.
- Pia HämäriHead of Marketing, Finland