Jouni Ojala is a senior consultant and human-centered design (HCD) strategist in Finland. As an HCD expert, Jouni works on solutions for the public sector, using a strategic design mindset to help clients benefit from optimal user experiences. In his free time, he enjoys the great outdoors to clear his mind and is a passionate mountain biker.
Hi Jouni – nice meeting you! Tell us about how you got started at CGI.
I first heard about CGI as a student. I was studying computer science at the University of Tampere when I participated in a Future Talent event in Helsinki, Finland. It is a pretty cool program where students get to participate in paid internships at CGI in Finland. During the event, I took part in a service design workshop, which got me interested in pursuing a career in design at CGI.
When you began working at CGI, were you hired in your current role?
I started my career here as a UX designer. I consulted on product design for Finland’s government for a few years before taking on my current role as design lead and HCD strategist in a team that supports an application platform for the public sector.
I didn't have much experience when I joined CGI, but since then I’ve managed to really grow my expertise in product design for the government. Over time, I've built a strong internal process and design thinking mindset that translates into the work and value I bring to our clients.
How did you land your current role?
After a few years as a design consultant, I was thinking about my next career move. I reached out to the leader of my current team and expressed my interest in their work. We discussed the skills I could bring to the team and how I could help build and enhance their design capabilities. I soon joined to lead design strategy and development. This has been an excellent opportunity to create something meaningful. Not only have I developed my leadership skills, but I’ve also had the opportunity to expand my business development and change management capabilities because these are such an intrinsic part of adopting a newly designed application.
Would you say your work is innovative?
As a designer, answering “no” to that question is impossible! I believe a designer's work is based on thinking about things from a new perspective. It's about transforming into something new. We work on solutions and products to improve processes for our clients, while constantly thinking ahead and finding ways to deliver greater value. From that perspective, what we do is 100% meant to be innovative.
Could you cite one of your most significant achievements in your career at CGI?
There was a time when I worked as an individual contributor and started to feel a little alone. That's when I took the initiative to contact my current manager. When I made this career move, with my leader's support, I pushed the envelope on taking design to a more strategic level within the team and for our clients. When I started, it was just me. Now, we are a team of four, and we collaborate with others to consult and conduct research with a design mindset. We already have four new business concepts that are starting to bear fruit.
I've realized that a designer's role is not only to design but also to teach design thinking to others by demonstrating the benefits of co-designing and building design systems to help product and development teams apply design themselves. True to our culture of teamwork at CGI, designers are collaborators and facilitators and can be change leaders who help clients achieve their business goals.
Let's end on a personal note. How do you achieve your work-life balance and health and well-being goals as a professional?
It's not easy. I tend to be totally consumed by my work as I am passionate about what I do. However, I value the flexibility CGI offers. This means that I'm able to get outside during the day. I'm very grateful for that since daylight is quite short during the winter in Finland. I'm an avid mountain biker; I love the adrenaline and fresh air, but it also gives me space and time to think and even strategize about different concepts that will continue to benefit CGI solutions and our clients.
That's awesome. Thanks, Jouni, for sharing your professional development story at CGI!