Introducing Michele Monico
In October 2020, Michele Monico joined Star as Senior Vice President of Design. Michele is based in Milan, Italy and will lead Star’s global Design and Strategy Business unit, a diverse team, spanning the globe from Europe to Japan to the US, with experience in product management, digital design and user experience across a variety of industries.
No product is an island…It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly. That’s systems thinking.
Donald A. Norman
Co-founder and Principal Emeritus of Nielsen Norman Group
What would you say has guided your career choices up until now?
As is true with most people, I didn’t sit down and design my education and career on paper. Curiosity and passion have always been key drivers in my life, and I have always endeavored to make the best decision at the right time. Variety is also very important to me, and I have made it a point to cultivate different interests and embrace change in my business and professional life. My experience reflects this.
When you look back at your career so far, are there any achievements you’re particularly proud of?
One of the highlights of my career has been being able to work together and learn from many skilled colleagues, customers and suppliers. For the past 20 years, I’ve worked in international, multicultural, high-tech environments, which has given me a library of rich experiences. I’m particularly proud of the role my teams have played in bringing successful healthcare solutions to market; solutions that are saving lives every day. Being able to see tangible results of my and my team’s activities and work – that’s very rewarding.
What made you decide to work for Star?
Star’s approach to consultancy matches my own life philosophy. Star isn’t the high-flying consultancy company that promises everything, but only on paper. We’re a company that integrates all the aspects of the business, from the dream to the execution in reality. This is what makes us a credible, formidable player; we not only commit to the idea, but also to the execution of the idea in the marketplace.
I was also attracted to Star because they work with digital therapeutic, telehealth and wellness solutions, and are committed to developing these areas. I’ve worked in these areas before, delivering digital healthcare solutions within oncology and diabetes. I really enjoy working within this industry, I’m proficient in it and I would like to continue developing my experience in it, so there was a natural connection.
How do you see the intersection between business, design and engineering?
Design is a bridge between complex technology and the consumer. This has particularly been the case in the last few years, as products have become more complex. It’s simply not possible for consumers to have an in-depth understanding of all the features available to them, so design has become more critical. Consumers rely on the design to understand the product and to know how to use it. And now that the technology is basically the same across manufacturers, design has become the key distinguishing factor – the way to differentiate your product from your competitor’s.
Do you have a particular design philosophy?
Design is about creating the best experience for the consumer. Cognitive science has proven the powerful effect design has on the human mind; it comes to define the overall experience the user has with that product. So if a consumer wants to interact with your product, that is a hallmark of a good design.
I also agree with the words of Don Norman, one of the first founders of design thinking and a pioneer in the field of human-centered design. He said that no product is an island; a product is more than the product itself. It’s a set of integrated experiences. So what is important, is not the different, individual definitions, but how all these aspects of the experience work seamlessly together. I believe this is the secret of a good design: Creating a creative, fully-integrated experience.
This is also critical in the complex technological world in which we live. In the past, integration of experiences was less relevant, because businesses were less connected, as was the world. Now that everything works together, there is no single industry that stands alone. From a consumer standpoint, everything is one big world. Companies need to be aware of this and work together to create seamless experiences. Those that do, will be more successful in the market; those that don’t, will disappear.
What is your vision for design at Star?
Star’s core belief is that design-led engagement is critical for the long-term success of our business and our customer’s business. We can go from idea (even helping our customers develop the idea) through the development process and into the reality of the marketplace. The fact that we offer the integration of all critical functions along this chain is a unique value proposition. My goal for Design is to enable Star to be the company with the deepest, highest customer engagement in the consulting business.
I want us to be an indispensable partner to companies who are transforming or are being transformed by technology.
Senior Vice President of Design at Star
What are your three top priorities for your unit?
My first priority is our customers. Always put the customer first, as we are a service company. We have to continue to deliver according to our top quality reputation, with no compromises. And we need to support our pre-sales activities, which play a fundamental role in our expansion plans and ambitions. My second priority is our people and culture. We are a company that is all about people. We’re driven by skill set, so talent acquisition and people development are critical for us, because we want to grow. And my third priority is our infrastructure – our backbone. This is about knowledge management, sharing information across teams, resource planning – the critical processes that we need to improve and optimize to prepare for scaling up our organization.
Do you have a favorite quote or motto that captures your approach to work and life?
Dream. Plan. Act. If we don’t do this, life will just be monotonous – an endless repetition of days. So it’s important to dream, but then you have to plant your feet firmly on the ground, and try to transform some of your dreams into realities. As an engineer, I always want to remember that everything works on paper, but not necessarily in real life. So it’s important to be a lifelong student, always ready to learn, and always ready to move from theoretical exercises to practical application.