Labs Life: Introducing Jennifer Walters

Each week we try to give our readers insight into the inner workings of Sutherland Labs. This week, we’re talking to the suspiciously serene Jennifer Walters, Principal Design Researcher at our London Labs.

What is the average day like for a Principal Design Researcher?

Jennifer: Every workday is a little bit different, and I’m not just saying that to make it sound like my job is exciting and amazing every minute of every day. Every day really is different. I’ll be at a different stage in a project, or I’ll be working with a different client and a different team member.

My days can include kick off meetings with a new client to confirm what they want out of the research, writing a recruitment screener and liaising with the recruiters so they can start finding participants for our research, reviewing the prototypes and designs for the testing, running the actual research sessions, either in one of our research studios or at the participants’ homes around London, UK or the world! Analyzing findings and writing up the insights and recommendations then presenting these back to the clients or doing some more independent research on whatever we are interested in at the moment. Just today I was doing some research around hotel and airline loyalty schemes for a booklet that we are putting together.

Jen mazing out customer needs for a project

In between all that we have to squeeze in lots of discussion about current affairs, active projects, random funny stories from our weekends, or an article that someone shared over Slack. A lot of Slack messaging goes on, picking up messages or articles that our colleagues in San Francisco have shared, and getting in touch with them when they arrive in the office later on.

How do you find enough time in the day to do all of that?

Jennifer: I am told that I’m cool-headed or “serene” and don’t seem to let the stress get to me… although I think this is probably just an outward show as I don’t always feel very calm inside!

I’m also super organized, which helps as we usually have at least two projects and a proposal on the go… plus all the extra bits. Some of the job is basically project management as we work out the best way to ensure that everything runs to the agreed schedule and in budget. My super organization leaks into my personal life too. I’ve just exchanged on my first flat in only 3 days. Exciting!!!

Jen skyping a colleague in San Fran

What do you do to relax?

Jennifer: I like to spend time with my family. My brother and sister-in-law have just had a baby. It’s the first baby in our family for 21 years so I am very very excited to be an Aunty!

I spend a lot of time relaxing at home, usually cooking with my Fiancé. Well, he cooks and I watch… then clear up around him. We go for runs and work-out in the outdoor gym at Battersea park. He’s a personal trainer so that helps. I used to run a lot more, including the London Marathon in 2014, which is one of the things that I’m most proud of. It was so much fun, and the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, both mentally and physically.

Will Jennifer’s fiancé ever get tired of doing all the cooking? Will she ever get a well-deserved holiday? Come back next week for another instalment of ‘Labs Life’ to find out these answers and more!

Communications Director

Sutherland Labs
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