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Invoking design in a corporate world

Jul 23, 2019

Innovation consultant Christian has never held back when it comes to bettering his design skillsets. Currently in a non-design corporate work environment, he continues to use his design training in driving customer-centric innovations to create value for his company.

Editor's Note: Christian is currently with Deloitte Japan, in a consulting role with Tohmatsu Venture Support.


 
Design Coach/Accelerator. Christian Teo, OCBC Bank.


“A key part of my role is playing the integrator and harnessing that ability to engage people across teams and roles to believe in the innovation vision.”


Christian’s interest in ‘design thinking’ first started during his polytechnic days, when he was intrigued as to how the design process could impact businesses. This spurred him to further his studies - earning a Bachelor of Arts, with a double major in Sociology and Media & Communications - to complement his skillset in Graphic Design. After completing his studies, Christian jumped into the industry and has not looked back since.

Having worked in innovation consulting for close to four years, Christian now leads innovation projects with OCBC Bank’s fintech and innovation unit, The Open Vault at OCBC, from start to finish – from defining problem statements and generating new ideas, to rapidly producing and testing prototypes of different solution designs, and eventually, commercialising new products and services. He says, “In my current role, I practise a customercentric approach to leveraging on technology, with a view to creating what we call the “Bank of the Future”. As designers, we’ve been hardwired to balance form and function with print and digital media. In the realm of corporate innovation, this philosophy shifts to encompass new services, strategies and process designs.”

Christian hopes to become a ‘conceptual designer’ of sorts - someone who is able to innovate out of any medium. Critical thinking, logical reasoning and environmental awareness are key skills which he felt are important to achieve this goal. He also believes that these skills are crucial to helping any young professional grow. Christian is positive that the Skills Framework will provide guidance on how different learnings and experiences may fit together and offer new ideas on how he can take his career further.

One of the biggest challenges in his career is in understanding the intricacies of a new innovation landscape. When he first joined the bank, he had to quickly grasp fundamental finance concepts, understand the business and deepen his knowledge of technologies, which he originally thought he had a hold on. Fortunately, a close-knit team was there to help, along with opportunities to learn from a variety of different projects and interactions with people from all walks of the business.

He says, “As designers, we learn early on the value of concept and mind-mapping to unravel complexity and seek connections. While this was taxing considering the vast amount of new information, the approach proved to be especially useful and I started to get the hang of picking up new concepts faster.”

Christian sees a demand for innovative skills in job roles that did not exist years ago, such as Artificial Intelligence Designers and Virtual Reality Designers. Also, because of the availability and comprehensiveness of the Skills Framework career map, he feels that “the Skills Framework is able to provide me with a macro view of the landscape where my skills can best be plugged.”

 

Christian's occupation is a job role that can be found in the Business track of the Skills Framework for Design. For more information on the Framework, please visit Skills Framework for Design.

 

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