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UX expert Caroline Jones: The making of a mentor

Divina Paredes | Oct. 13, 2015
Caroline Jones, who is manager of experience design at Aderant, learned over time that trying to be all things to all people is not a sustainable model.

Jones explains she shifted into human-centred design space after working in web design and online strategy for a number of years.

“I was frustrated as I continually found myself unable to answer the questions I was looking to answer, and others around me felt the same. We had a lot of the ‘whats’ figured out, but nobody seemed to be able to express the ‘whys’ or the ‘how importants’. It felt a little like we were driving in the dark.

As I was looking for answers, I started exploring Human Computer Interaction as a topic,” she says. “It seemed to be an area which could provide me with ways to find answers to my questions, so I went and studied a Human Computer Interaction paper at Auckland University and changed course with my career. I haven’t looked back since.”

Jones has historically focused on mentoring those within an organisation’s design practice, but she says this is evolving along with the shape of organisations she is working in.

“Recently there is an acknowledgement that Design Thinking offers value far beyond an organisation’s design function,” she states. “Many businesses face challenges that are forcing them to be more agile, adopt leaner processes, work with increasingly distributed teams, and cope with increased diversity as a result."

With the focus that design-led thinking has on removing personal biases, working more collaboratively, embracing ambiguity, rapid experimentation, and having a bias towards action, organisations are now adopting Design Thinking as a way to allow for more integrated thinking and a more adaptive strategic mindset.

“So, as Design Thinking has grown further in importance, I have found myself providing mentoring support to people across a more varied set of functions, and as a result I deal with a lot more diversity."

SaaS Mentor
SaaS Mentor

Gap analysis

Jones has a huge interest in fostering diversity, and acknowledges an area that gets a lot of attention in this space is the gender imbalance in the ICT sector.

While she says this gap exists in the sector, she believes the need for diversity extends far beyond gender.

That being said, qualities that have traditionally been seen as feminine traits such as empathy, vulnerability and being highly collaborative, are intrinsic to the Design Thinking mindset and are now being recognised as ones of high importance, she says.

“The adoption of this type of mindset can lead to a strategic advantage when dealing with the evolving and diverse landscape that businesses now exist within,” she states. “Design Thinking is the perfect mechanism for better understanding the impact of this diversity and harnessing its potential for driving improved business outcomes.”

 

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