Right brain | left brain

Day in the Life of Mel

Right brain: creative, intuitive and imaginative. Left brain: logical, rational and fact-driven. Which one are you? And, can they co-exist?

A day in the life of Mel proves that indeed they can. On one hand, she’s KISKA’s manager of connected products and services. On the other, she’s a self-proclaimed “nutter”, who spends her free time living it up in the alpine playground of Salzburg.

It all starts bright and early with a 5:30 AM hike up Schober with her wife Samantha. In the spring and summer you can find them scaling the beast up to three times a week. In a little over an hour, they’ll get a 360˚ view of Salzburg and the chance to meditate while the sun rises. It isn’t just good for the body. It’s good for the headspace.

KISKA connected products and services lead hikes in Austrian alps before work with wife
KISKA connected products and services lead hikes in Austrian alps before work
KISKA connected products and services lead hikes in Austrian alps before work

Right brain: creative, intuitive and imaginative. Left brain: logical, rational and fact-driven. Which one are you? And, can they co-exist?

A day in the life of Mel proves that indeed they can. On one hand, she’s KISKA’s manager of connected products and services. On the other, she’s a self-proclaimed “nutter”, who spends her free time living it up in the alpine playground of Salzburg.

It all starts bright and early with a 5:30 AM hike up Schober with her wife Samantha. In the spring and summer you can find them scaling the beast up to three times a week. In a little over an hour, they’ll get a 360˚ view of Salzburg and the chance to meditate while the sun rises. It isn’t just good for the body. It’s good for the headspace.

“I’m always doing some kind of sport, which is why I moved to Salzburg from the city in the first place.”

It’s rituals like these, morning hikes, breakfast crumpets from her hometown of London and news briefings from Amazon Alexa, that get Mel ready for the day ahead. In her demanding leadership role she needs all the focus she can get. Mel leads a team of five through the daily work of interaction and experience design, and all that it entails: project reviews, making mental models, design testing and prototyping.

So much prototyping. Paper prototypes, digital prototypes, 3D prototypes. You name it Mel and her team can prototype it. Why? They’re valuable because the user testing you can do with them. It’s difficult to simply explain through a sketch how a product or interface works, but if you use a physical prototype, the whole process changes. All of a sudden, you understand how people interact with products, services and a brand.

Being in such high demand all the time can be draining, so lunches are spent on rejuvenation: either by tearing up the slopes (winter), or taking part in KISKA yoga sessions (spring / summer). Whatever the activity, she designs her lunchtime to get into the frame of mind needed to deal with the strategic work of the afternoon.

KISKA connected products and services lead on a motorcycle and wearing VR goggles, testing experience prototype of app and instrument
KISKA creative technologist tests a connected helmet prototype

Being in such high demand all the time can be draining, so lunches are spent on rejuvenation: either by tearing up the slopes (winter), or taking part in KISKA yoga sessions (spring / summer). Whatever the activity, she designs her lunchtime to get into the frame of mind needed to deal with the strategic work of the afternoon.

In addition to prototyping, it’s the “high-level stuff” that characterises a significant portion of Mel’s workday. In her world, “co-creation” isn’t a buzzword. It means working shoulder-to-shoulder with people on our design, research and brand teams to lead some serious strategic thinking. The kind of strategic thinking needed to ensure brands have services that real people actually want to use.

“If you’ve got a client with separate teams developing separate products, you’ll get a lot of separate ideas about what kind of services and tools their users need. A lot of my job is streamlining these into experience concepts the user will understand and enjoy using for a long time.”

With her days so full, when Mel is ready to get on with her day she switches off. Completely. Personal time is a valuable commodity, so her evenings are spent enjoying all that Salzburg has to offer – and not just what’s in the mountains. Lately, she’s been spending plenty of quality time at the tattoo parlour, working with a Portuguese artist to create an intricate sleeve of roses on her right arm. It’s her 4th tattoo, but with her classic right-brain “logic”, the artwork doesn’t necessarily have a deep meaning – it’s more of a statement about her personality.

Day in the life of Mel-13-square
Day in the life of Mel-12-square

With her days so full, when Mel is ready to get on with her day she switches off. Completely. Personal time is a valuable commodity, so her evenings are spent enjoying all that Salzburg has to offer – and not just what’s in the mountains. Lately, she’s been spending plenty of quality time at the tattoo parlour, working with a Portuguese artist to create an intricate sleeve of roses on her right arm. It’s her 4th tattoo, but with her classic right-brain “logic”, the artwork doesn’t necessarily have a deep meaning – it’s more of a statement about her personality.

“I’m an extroverted introvert. Super outgoing, ripping things apart and always moving, but I’m also pretty thoughtful and logical. It’s a necessity for what I do.”

When a day in the life of Mel comes to a close, it always includes some much-deserved “onesie-time”. And it’s no wonder. Filled with hikes, prototyping, meditation, tattoos and strategising a life as kinetic and as introspective as Mel’s would leave many dead on their feet. She seems however, to relish every moment to the full.


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