Jenny Yan began her career in architecture, where she was first introduced to 'placemaking', a people-centred approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Although it was a foreign concept to her, it made a big impact. The more she learned about the approach and worked alongside local community and businesses, the more she started to make sense of the importance of human centred design within any project. This lead her to pursue a Masters in Design Thinking.
Now Senior Experience Designer at UniSuper and Industry Mentor for RMIT Online's Customer Experience Strategy and Design short course, Jenny has a pool of knowledge she is excited to share with her students. See what she has to say:
What first sparked your interest in customer experience?
Being introduced to placemaking while working in architecture was really eye opening. Having that customer centricity focus during my time working on a major open rail project really sparked my interest in customer experience. I realised I wanted to work within an industry that was less hierarchical and had more opportunities to problem solve, to work at scale and be a part of a more diverse thinking.
A lot of times when you work at big corporations, the customer's voice can be lost. It's really important in this day and age to start thinking about how we can design products and services for the customer. Running a good business today really requires that lens.
What's a typical workday like for you?
I wake up, grab a coffee and head to work. The first half-an-hour involves admin, checking emails and making sure I’m on top of what I need to achieve that day. Around 9.30 - 10am, I’ve got my first stand up with my team to check in on what we’re all working on, and if there are any blockers that we have.
Depending on the project and phase, the rest of the day is spent researching, defining and building a CX strategy with my project team or showcasing work to stakeholders. The CX team at UniSuper collaborate closely with each other - we constantly share what we create and learn to fill in any gaps in our knowledge in order to deliver a consistently great experience for our members.
Why do you think it's important to keep upskilling?
Learning and experimenting with new tools and methods is key to honing a craft. No problem is the same, so it is important to be tactile and apply cognitive adaptability to your work. I like to keep in the loop with current events to build foresight on the changing practices around the world and what we need to consider in order to develop an enduring, sustainable experience.
To stay at the peak of your game you need to train – we go the gym to keep our bodies healthy, we need to do the same with our minds.
What career advice would you give your younger?
I would tell myself to spend more time outside, take more risks and not be afraid to say yes to unexpected opportunities. When you’re in school, you’re boxed in thinking about classes, tests and exams. The real world is very different from school, so learn outside of that environment too.
Why did you decide to become a mentor for Customer Experience Strategy and Design?
I enjoy teaching and passing on what I know to strengthen the design community. It was hard to figure out what I was doing when I first started, there were few people who I could lean on or ask for advice - the ones that help made a huge difference in my early career. I am passionate about design thinking and bringing others along the journey!
Why should people do the Customer Experience Strategy and Design short course?
I am excited about RMIT online’s approach to learning in an online classroom where you have access to great industry mentors. Not only are you learning through the course material, you’re also getting exposure and insights into what it’s like to work within the industry in a real world context. These courses are embracing the future of education, and there’s never a reason to stop learning! It is accessible, you don’t have to commit to getting to a classroom, and you're exposing yourself to a class of people of all backgrounds and experiences.