Maria Uhari-Pakkalin started working at Finnish based energy company Fortum at the beginning of 2017 as Head of Customer Experience Design and was impressed by the company's willingness to become more customer-centric.
Maria has a lot of experience within user research, UX and service design, as well as design management while working mainly for telecom and mobile industry in Finland and abroad since beginning of 2000.
"The key denominator of my career has been developing user experiences and better services", says Uhari-Pakkalin, "At Fortum, my job is to ensure that customer centric design methodology and consumer insights are used to develop viable and innovative business.”
According to Uhari-Pakkalin, customer-oriented development of services starts with clarifying customers' needs by examining feedback, monitoring and interviewing users. Based on this, the development targets and innovation ideas are being formed. This is called Design Thinking.
“I’m facilitating workshops inside our organization where participants are asked to co-create this so-called customer journey. My Customer Experience Design Team’s job is to keep the view of the customers at the center of everything and help choosing the right methods. By doing this, we keep design thinking visible in our projects.”
Uhari-Pakkalin has been at Fortum for just a short while but has already been able to bring forward this new mindset to stakeholders and the whole ecosystem at Fortum.
"Competitive advantages nowadays are created through the best customer experiences. At Fortum we’re leading a change from technology-intensive to customer-centric approach. The view of the users is an essential part of our development cycles where the ideas are created, tested and iterated at a fast pace.”
Fortum seeks strong service design expertise to be able to implement the company's strategic goals into daily work.
“Competitive advantage nowadays is created from the best customer experience.”
"At the moment we are looking for especially Service and UX Designers to work for us in Sweden and Norway. We are also looking for front end developers all the time. It’s good to point out that Fortum has, for example, 2.4 million private customers for whom services are being built."
In her spare time, Maria Uhari-Pakkalin also works as a yoga teacher, which has a direct link to the customer-oriented approach.
"In yoga, you must first learn the empathy towards yourself, through which you learn to be empathetic with others as well. Service designers must also have empathy towards users, to understand their world and the pain points, so that you can create impressive services for them.”
Fortum is a leading clean energy company which provides its customers with electricity, heating and cooling as well as smart solutions to improve resource efficiency. We want to engage our customers and society to join the change for a cleaner world. We employ some 9000 professionals in the Nordic and the Baltic countries, Russia, Poland and India. 62% of our electricity generation is CO2 free. In 2016, our sales were EUR 3.6 billion. Fortum's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.