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Thoughtworker Spotlight: Federico Galindo



October 28, 2022

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Headshots of Federico, a professional one in a blue blazer and a fun one holding a guitar.

His job title is Lead Product Designer, but his role stretches much more beyond those three words. Just ask any Connector, client, or practitioners from the community who’s met him – when Federico leads, people follow. Which makes sense when you consider the daily affirmation he sets for himself. World traveller, proud cat father, and avid musician (can you guess what instrument?), everyone who crosses paths with this indelible teacher considers themselves the better for it. Discover this and more in this week’s Connector Spotlight.

Tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on?

I just started working on a customer experience project in the commercial auto industry. Our team has been embedded within a department that aims to design solutions to improve the overall customer experience of commercial fleet customers of all sizes. 

Our primary role is to aid their teams, test a variety of concepts and opportunity areas, while also gathering customer evidence so that they can better understand their customers. We are doing this by using alternative strategy and research methods and perspectives such as hypothesis-driven validation and the jobs-to-done framework to design, test and validate solutions that target current and specific customers’ jobs, pains and gains.  

Outside of project work I also love spending time creating or improving internal processes or tools that help create inclusive and psychologically safe spaces for folks to collaborate in as well as facilitate learning company-wide. An example of that is what we now call “the vault”, which is an extensive repository or library of past projects that is categorised by different types of methodologies, frameworks, and industries. This tool gives easy access to a great source of learning and references for anyone who is looking for inspiration for their next project.

What’s the most interesting challenge about the project?

As this is a newer team we are working with, we are going through the initial phase of navigating how to embed ourselves within the client teams, immerse ourselves with their current state, and gain a shared understanding of what needs to be achieved collectively. It is also, in a way, a coach/player model which aims to give access to best practices by doing them in the context of their current initiatives. The challenge within this model then is to create a good balance between supporting their team in completing their ongoing initiatives but also finding opportunities to enhance their processes at the same time. 

The way I’ve approached this challenge is by immersing myself in their processes and current work and then taking a step back to ask myself, “how can our team provide the most value in the long term but also continue to empower the client and project’s immediate needs?” It is an ongoing process where I am learning to adapt but also create change.

Where did you work before Connected?

The last place I worked at was a SaaS (software as a service) start-up that aspired to create physical and digital tools to help business practitioners, regardless of their team size, design, test and validate their business models and value propositions. It was in this start-up that I was able to learn how my design and research practice fits within business environments and to best apply it to bring the most value to humans.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?

In addition to my focus in product design and research I’ve also found a great interest in sharing the things that I’ve learned in my time in this industry. I’m very proud of the opportunities that I’ve gotten to mentor new and seasoned folks in this industry within Connected but also in the community. An example of this is working with CO.LAB, a company whose mission is to give folks “practical experience to confidently break into (and thrive within) the tech industry.“ In this program I was able to mentor groups of folks who were beginning their journey in product design and share learnings I’ve gathered throughout my career, listen and answer their questions, as well as provide constructive feedback on their ideas.

Do you have a mantra you live by?

I never really thought about living by a mantra but one of my favourite daily affirmations is “My voice is worthy of being heard”.

What do you love to do outside of work?

Once upon a time before the pandemic, I used to travel the world quite a bit thanks to my previous team being fully remote. I got to travel to many countries in the last 9 years and every place I went to created a very special place in my heart. I learned a lot about the many things that make up my identity during this time and will probably pick up where I left off soon. Three of my favourite places are Hội An in Vietnam, Paris in France, and Barcelona in Spain.

Aside from that, I love to spend time in nature, playing my guitars, wandering in video game worlds, napping with my cat Lulo, and enjoying a big glass of red wine.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?

Album – I recently rediscovered SOLACE by RÜFÜS DU SOL and I have it on repeat

Movie – I would bring the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings movies

Book – Maybe Pulp by Charles Bukowski (or any of his books really)

Describe yourself in three words. 

Patient. Warm-hearted. Curious.

And finally, what’s your favourite product and why? 

Pen and paper. As long as I can remember I’ve had some equivalent of these around me, it’s how I learned to express myself when I couldn’t find the words or the actions. It’s a set of tools that help me be creative or help me learn or unlearn new things, tools that listen without judgement and capture the wild things that go on in my very weird but unique neurodivergent brain..

Three photos of Federico, one in a blue suit, one in sunglasses, and one outside in nature.

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