IBM Client Innovation Center
I am Sophie Kirk, a UX Designer at the IBM Client Innovation Center in Copenhagen. On top of working with clients in the consumer industry, I coach new joiners to master the Enterprise Design Thinking Framework. I highly value that the framework is taught to, and applied by, all my colleagues regardless of profile—designers, data scientists, software developers, and IT consultants. I am also part of the important corporate social responsibility initiative, Technology and Girls; we invite schoolgirls to visit IBM for a day and tell them the career stories of the various role models we are proud to have in IBM. I love that I can partake in such an important mission of diversity, opportunities, and dreams. The girls get to learn that there are endless amounts of possible job roles, skill sets, and competences that are valued in the field of IT.
During my masters studies in Digital Design at the IT University of Copenhagen, I attended a career fair where many tech companies were represented. One caught my attention due to their cool VR game, and since I had never tried it before, I went straight to the VR game. With the VR headset on, I got so captivated by the game that when a huge orc suddenly appeared in it, I tumbled down and almost tore down the big IBM sign. Afterwards, I saw that they were hiring students to their new department, the IBM Client Innovation Center. I applied for the job, the interviewers remembered me, we laughed about the unforgettable enthusiastic VR episode, and I got the job in the Digital Marketing department.
On day one, we were only 10 consultants, no furniture, but with ambitions to the moon. After I got my degree, I started full-time in the design team as a UX consultant. Today, we are a family of 80 consultants working cross functionally with design, software development, data science, business, and strategy—and still with unbreakable ambitions. The orc VR game is still there, but I have never had the courage to try it again.
The more diverse points of view we let into the design process, the better our work is, the more likely it is to be understood by a broader segment of the population, and the more successful our clients are.
My hope is to see even more women design leaders within IBM. The more exposed we are to great women design leaders, the more we believe in the possibility and accessibility of becoming women design leaders ourselves.
As a man at IBM, it would have been easier for me to reflect myself in positions of greater authority in the organization. I would never have experienced being the only one of my gender in the room. I would not have experienced untrustworthiness in my IT capabilities based on my appearances.
Remember: Solving a problem can’t happen before you understand the problem. And in order to understand the problem, you must look at it from different perspectives. You get different perspectives through diversity.