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Telling a digital story with design

Former NBC Universal creative director and WIRED design director Federico creates innovative, human-centric digital products and experiences as an expert associate partner in Mexico City.

With my background in editorial creation for print and broadcast media–I was creative director at NBC Universal and design director at WIRED–I consider myself, first and foremost, a storyteller. While based out of New York and Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to learn from and consult with global leadership teams at some of the largest and most progressive firms in the world. We created amazing products that cemented their companies’ culture, capitalized on their brand positioning, and informed their strategic decision making. But as a human-centric designer leveraging technology and data to electrify customer experiences, I needed more.

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Content, innovation and ideation converge

My time at large media companies and consulting firms allowed me to work on C-level design projects, but I was frustrated when they were seen as a standalone projects and not expected to scale or integrate with larger goals.

As I was relocating to Mexico City, I was introduced to McKinsey’s design team, and its innovative approach to product, experience, and service architecture. McKinsey Design is committed to combining best practices in user-experience with the team’s creative resources to integrate design into functionality. More than that, McKinsey’s designers transform the format and feel of our digital client solutions into tools to improve user productivity and functionality.

Blurred lines

McKinsey is at the forefront of integrated consumer and business experiences. We blend the strengths of both disciplines to help clients gain insights into their markets and their customers’ motivations. As noted in the McKinsey report, The Business Value of Design, smartphones are becoming smarter and more indispensable. These devices connect to and control ever-increasing portions of our professional and personal lives, from steering our cars and monitoring our homes to automating business processes and identifying and activating profitable market segments. This blurring of the lines between products and services is creating a similar need to incorporate functionality and systematic design practices.

My job as an expert associate partner at McKinsey allows me to demonstrate how the firm bonds design with strategy. I get to direct how we establish that connection with an eye toward scalability. I guide our approach to scaling design, ensuring we remain focused on building momentum, accelerating the process among all affected teams. I am responsible for demonstrating how delighting the customer as a core competency turbocharges performance across organizations.

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Focus on the problem, not the solution

It may sound strange, but the key to McKinsey’s design success is not in finding solutions. It’s in identifying client problems and analyzing ways to alleviate them. My primary goal is to ensure the firm and my teams remain user-centric. In my mind, every leader and employee within the organization must demonstrate more concern for end users than they do for their own ideas and opinions. That empathy opens the door to user-focused design and generates a lot of excitement and excellent projects.

I oversee our research to inform the design of new products–mostly new digital products–from ideation to the release of MVP (minimal viable products), prototypes, and early versions of products. This is the perfect situation for me. I am fascinated by building design in general, and I get excited about the meaning and value of design. It is gratifying to having a leading role in applying design principles to industries like oil and natural gas, a sector that hasn’t typically been linked to great innovation. I consider myself a pioneer, accepting the challenges and opportunities to work in industries and spaces where designers don’t typically exist. Here I am able to create and build solutions that are changing industries and markets by listening to the voice of the customer and innovating around those needs.

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About Federico

Federico is an expert associate partner of design based in Mexico City. Prior to joining McKinsey, he was creative director at NBC Universal, design director of WIRED magazine, and creative director at the consulting firm SYPartners. Federico earned his bachelor’s in fine arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time outdoors and with his daughter, Juana.

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For more information on McKinsey's design career paths, visit mckinsey.com/TechCareers.