Taking Joana to coffee
Innovative technologies can not only automate people’s work but also augment their capabilities, if understood and used in a proper way. Emergn’s Experience Design Lead Joana Cerejo is building bridges between technologies and humans. And for these bridges to work, design plays a critical role.
What’s your role at Emergn, and how long have you been with the company?
I joined Emergn in November of 2020 as an Experience Design Lead. In this role, I’m helping Emergn scale our design operations and define new design value propositions, which will ultimately allow Emergn to grow strategically in the design field.
It’s also a part of my role to provide Emergn with thought leadership and knowledge in design research and development, especially in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence areas, which I enjoy very much.
When you were offered a job at Emergn, why did you say “yes”?
To be honest, I wasn’t looking for new job opportunities, but Emergn drew my attention with its mission statement “We improve the way people and companies work. Forever.” That’s a bold statement and to tell you the truth it’s not every day you can find a company proud of putting people first not only by words, but also by actions. For that reason, I started to research Emergn and became amazed by the company mindset, transparency, and – of course – meaningful work. Emergn was also very transparent on things they want to improve, and I did see that as an opportunity, not a disadvantage. So, in the end it wasn’t hard at all to say “yes” to Emergn. I’m very excited to be a part of this amazing company and I think I finally have found my dream job.
What would you say or recommend to someone preparing for interview at Emergn?
I would recommend taking advantage of Emergn’s mindset. It’s very hard to find a company with such clarity of themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask bold questions, as the company’s mindset fosters questioning the status quo. That will make the result of interview even more valuable for both – you and Emergn.
Outside of work, what’s one thing people should know about you?
I’m always more delighted with the journey rather than the destination. And this defines who I am in many senses – for both personal and professional life. I feel very lucky to be born in this era and be part of this digital transformation journey we are living.
I considered myself a library mouse, always interested in researching and studying how the design field and the human experience has evolved. Thus, one of my greatest passions is to study and to keep learning new things. So, outside of my work, I’m doing a PhD in digital media where I explore and uncover how we can design for future digital experiences, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. I’m interested in exploring how we are shaping technology and how technology does the same in return.
If you were a piece of productivity software, which one would you be and why?
Yes, that’s a tricky one… I’m a very pragmatic and methodical person. I love to have everything planned beforehand and organized as much as I can for both professional and personal life. I see time as our most precious resource, so, if I had to consider myself as productivity software, I would say Notion. It’s an excellent tool not only to plan, organize, and synthesize work, but also is very useful for collaboration, which obviously is a key for success.
What’s the most exciting challenge about the work you do as an Experience Design Lead?
The innovation process is very inherent to my role – there’s a lot to explore and uncover. My focus is to design effective experiences between humans and algorithms, which is why I must work very closely with Emergn’s Machine Learning Lab. We are exploring innovative technologies that can not only automate people’s work but also augment their capabilities. However, the success of any solution is determined by user engagement. One can design something super automated and robust, but if your user doesn’t engage, your business or solution will be doomed to failure. That plays a significant role in shaping the way we think about the design and what’s the future of it. So, every day I’m building bridges between design, technologies, and humans and that’s as exciting as it sounds!
What’s one way you live out The Emergn Way? What does it mean to you?
Emergn claims “We care for and invest in people” and this means very much to me. First, it was the main reason that made me considerer Emergn as a place to work and grow professionally. And second, my profession is all about humans. I deeply care about people’s well-being. And if my design solutions can help people to be their best, I will not ask for more.
Emergn is a global company with employees all over the world! If someone were to visit Portugal, what’s the #1 thing you’d recommend they do, or see?
Portuguese people are moved by one thing… Food! And of course, a little bit by wine to help digest The Food!
Even history tells that our people have risked their lives to find the sea routes to India just to find spices to make our cooking even tastier! We really are obsessed with good cooking. So… before you start exploring one of the oldest and most beautiful countries in Europe, first fill your belly with our marvellous cuisine. It would be an outrage to go see our heritage with an empty stomach!