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A human centred designer

Zaana tells how she learned more about designing and life at Digital McKinsey.
Are you passionate about digital and all things tech? Do you want to learn more about what it means to work in management consulting in the digital space? Our McKinsey Digital Immersion workshop in Jakarta might be for you. This event is open to young professionals with 5-8 years experience in technology. Apply here before the 22nd of June.

As a human centred designer, I am endlessly curious about people – who they are, what and how they do things and most importantly why they do them and what drives them.

In my first year at McKinsey, I worked in ten countries across Asia Pacific. This provided me an opportunity to be challenged, grow and experiment in ways I couldn’t have imagined or done elsewhere. I’ve had the privilege of listening to people’s stories of their life experiences, their heartaches, moments of joy, the creative ways they hack their lives, their desires, and aspirations. I’ve learned about the diversity of life –from holiday preferences of people in Taiwan; the experience of having cancer in Korea and China; what people with a disability need from service providers to feel safe in Australia; and financial behaviours of young professionals in Malaysia. The purpose of this is to then design better experiences. Often, this has happened in environments where I don’t speak the preferred language.

In my whirlwind first year working across Asia Pacific here’s what I learned:

• How to conduct design research with quality customer outcomes by collaborating effectively with translators and interpreters.
• The art of designing and facilitating engaging, immersive and fun workshops at scale in languages I don’t speak.
• The nuance of cultural sensitivities and ways of working in different countries –how to work with it and break through it when needed.
• How to truly release my agenda and go with the flow so I could meet the needs of the socially, culturally, and linguistically diverse people I am working with.
• However, the biggest lesson and joy I’ve learned is at the heart of it, we are driven by the same needs, desires and fears. It’s our societal and cultural norms that add nuance, flavor and diversity to how these surface as behaviors and actions in the world.

Zaana inline

The outcome of all of this? I’ve had an incredible year full of work and life adventures that have resulted in professional and personal growth –often beyond what I thought I could ever accomplish. More so, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to and influence the lives of thousands of people through design… what could be better than that?

Apply here

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