A year into working at Yuxi Global, and I am the most productive that I have ever been. This is not to say that I don’t have time to relax with my family, but professionally, I am thriving because Yuxi Global fosters a growth-enabling work environment.
As much as I find motivational quotes to be mostly cheese and lame, there’s a mountain of knowledge in:
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” — Richard Branson.
Where you work has a lot to do with what can you achieve professionally. If the business goals don’t align with your professional growth, it becomes hard to materialize these. I have worked at great companies, but most of them have a big flaw, and that is not to let people grow or leaving very little space for it, this is a horrible idea when one of the main objectives of a businesses is growth, but when you don’t encourage, facilitate and especially enable people to grow, the chances are that the company is stagnating and has old-fashioned management that is slowing down growth. At my last two jobs, I wasn’t able to achieve not even half of what I have accomplished in 2018.
This is my overview of 2018 and a little bit over one year at Yuxi Global, but is not just a list of achievements (or bragging), but rather an example of what a company can enable in people. In my case, this retrospective becomes, more than a number of accomplishments, but proof of how allowing people to gain knowledge and growth can become a strong component of a business strategy.
- Solidified and strengthen Yuxi Global’s design team: there were good relations amongst team members, but the biggest issue was that designers were working with different clients in agile teams, and this made them not sharing their work or look for feedback amongst teammates. It also made them not share inspiration and nevertheless their motivation was low. After encouraging them to share inspiration and their work-in-progress through meetings and in person, we started to reignite collaborative work and designers started to give feedback to each other and show a higher level of commitment and excitement. By creating a culture of collaboration and inspiration, although it was never a request from upper management, we started raising the quality of our work and productivity. I started helping people on my team, to achieve their fullest potential.
- I started a design exercise at the company, called Designathon, where I tested designers in a one-day hackathon style exercise. We had 5 Designathons and 3 products went into production, 2 were dropped and one survived.
- 2018 was a year of Design Thinking workshops. We started with five Designathons and then, in the second semester of the year we had five internal and one external workshop. These workshops brought new perspectives and a methodology that wasn’t used before in the company, also expanding the UX services provided by Yuxi Global, and exposing designers to the creation and facilitation of workshops.
- In 2018, my goal was to get a UX certificate by Nielsen Norman Group to fill in some gaps in my education, and I end up attending to two different NN/g UX Conferences and getting two specialties, one in UX Management and Interaction Design. These specialties are obviously directly related to my job description but with a clear goal of transferring knowledge within the company and in the community, and apart from the fact that Certificates have many other benefits, the UX certificate helped me strengthen my skills for creating and facilitating workshops, and training bootcamps that became revenue streams for the company while the design team was growing their skills as well.
- I completed two (and a half) online UX course certificates from the Interaction Design Foundation: Human-Computer Interaction — HCI & Conducting Usability Testing.
- Founded Interaction Design Medellin, a meetup group that held 12 meetups: workshops, talks, Beers & UX and a panel of 11 design leaders. Our meetups started with 15 people and had a median of 60 attendees with a record of 160 attendees for the World Interaction Day. The group grew up to 910 members and Interaction Design Medellin quickly became one of the most active and important design Meetups in Colombia. This Meetup group brought exposure for the company and for everyone else in the organizing committee. But the most rewarding experience has been when three people have come to me and thanked me for changing their lives, other people have come to thank me for starting Interaction Design Medellin and this is priceless.
- Attended several conferences: Interaction18, NN/g Washington, NN/g Raleigh, ILA18, and brought back all that knowledge to transfer it within the company and Interaction Design Medellin.
- Spoke at 3 local meetups, 1 remote meetup, gave a workshop on VUI’s, MC’ed for 12 meetups, presented ILA19 in front of 1800 attendees, spoke at ComSpark about the ROI of UX and attended two IxDA local leader retreats.
- Became a Local leader for the Interaction Design Association and the Interaction Design Foundation.
- Wrote 10 articles in Medium and was to invited to write for UX Collective. The article: “The state of UX in Colombia in 2018” had an unexpected impact, more than being read 4,300 times, the impact went beyond numbers and I was invited to talk in Bogotá, many companies who are interested in opening an office in Medellin have contacted me to learn about the state of design in the city and universities have become more aware of what can be improved in their design programs amongst others.
- I ran a comprehensive assessment of the designers in both soft and hard skills to track their growth and learn from tracking growth. This gave me a better understanding of each person’s strengths and what we needed to improve. And at the end of the year, I started a coaching plan with each of the designers.
- At the beginning of 2018, I started mentoring within the company, by the end of the year, juan esteban Arango’s progress was outstanding.
- After 22 years as a designer, I found a mentor, and what a great mentor.
Thanks Jose Coronado!
- I created the 2019 UX strategy for the company. It’s extensive strategic plan including why UX is a differentiator and how are we going to differentiate ourselves from the competition, UX maturity at the company, how to sell UX, UX recipes, UX Capabilities, UX operations, and UX deliverables.
- After a long process, having submitted a Call for Cities to IxDA Latam, to host Interaction Latin America 2019 and winning, came another big step: presenting Medellín as the next city at ILA18 with all the deliverables this meant: building a committee, designing a brand and a landing page, finding a ticketing platform, and creating a promotional video. Now in 2019, as the Chair for Interaction Latin America 2019, I have a busy year ahead for planning ILA19.