Introducing Heidi Uchiyama: Lessons from “the other side”

Introducing Heidi Uchiyama

It has been almost 5 years since I last worked with Public Digital in the Peruvian Government. 5 years since the Alpha version of gob.pe was launched and the team has grown from 5 people in 2017 to 30+ people today. It has also been 5 years since I really understood that digital transformation is in fact about technology, but in order for it to work, you have to be at least willing to change everything else. Now I’m writing this as a full time consultant at Public Digital, lucky enough to be able to experience the other side of the story.

In all transformation processes, every step of the way is both an end and a new beginning. Coming to work at Public Digital feels like the end of seeing the world only from a Latin American perspective and the beginning of opening up to the rest of the world. It’s also the start of new ways of working, getting the most out of cultural differences and most importantly, learning to adapt. So I will describe the ways I have applied everything I know about human centred design in this path to my new role.

Design, test, improve and iterate

If there is anything COVID-19 has taught us, it is that plans will undoubtedly change. We can design career paths and long term goals, but the circumstances can change everything. So work for me has been about designing, testing, iterating and deploying. 10+ years ago I worked in Digital Marketing, which rapidly turned into Design for use (UX), then I got into research to understand what to design and I now I get to help clients understand why and how they can drive change through design to improve their products and services.

Falling in love with the problem, not the solution

I must admit working for a bigger purpose has always been at the top of my priority list when considering new career challenges. To me, purpose is the ultimate design goal, but the way you achieve it can take various forms. Similar to designing a new service - you can understand the user needs, yet creating a solution is a process that requires many tries. If you get fixated on the solution you can lose track of what you wanted to solve in the first place. So I never imagined a dream job, but I have always aspired to work at places where I can achieve a higher purpose and sharing that path with like-minded professionals. After many iterations, Public Digital seems to be the right place for that.

Adopting change as the only constant

And the biggest lesson of all—change is the only constant in all aspects of life and work is no exception. I do believe Public Digital understands and embraces change which allows the organisation to adapt to different circumstances, sectors, countries and the rich diversity that each consultant brings to the table. I am thankful for that and hope to perpetuate good change in the world, now surrounded by a unique group of people who share my same sentiment and values.

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