Great customer experiences don’t just happen. They are the result of meticulous analysis and planning from professional empaths like Frank Ogagba.
For Frank, a career in the exciting world of tech and mobile app development was a no-brainer. After completing his degree in Interaction Design – focussing primarily on user-friendly design and design thinking – at The University of Johannesburg in 2016, Frank wasted no time getting to work.
Over the last six years, he has refined his design methodology to find new ways to improve customer interactions to create seamless, enjoyable experiences.
“I found myself moving from business to business in the process of actualising the business methodology and process I was taught to create products and services that are truly human-centric,” says Frank.
Working within cross-functional, agile teams – first at a design agency and then as a consultant – he practised UX Design and design thinking methods, always holding the customer at the central point. But Beyond UX Design, Frank recognised that there was a greater purpose for his skills.
“I realised there was a higher level of decision making that goes into what apps and what websites get designers, and that was service design,” he says.
In 2018, Frank moved to Accenture to take up a role as Service and Interaction Designer. He then began to make his mark on leading brands, including Alexander Forbes, MTN, Telkom, Woolworths and Imperial, as he stepped into a world of strategic and ambiguous problem-solving.
“We live in a complicated world. That’s why I love design. It’s about readjusting the world to suit human needs.”
Working with highly experienced strategic thinkers at Accenture, Frank learned that not only could design solve real human problems, but it also made good business sense. However, despite the prestige of working on big-name brands, having access to mentorship opportunities and the satisfaction of grappling with real-world consumer issues, Frank still felt something was missing from his work; purpose.
“As a consultant, I was a mercenary,” says Frank, “Mercenaries are hired to do a job and get out. It’s a temporary mission. I lacked the satisfaction of seeing the strategy turn into value for the customer.”
When asked what his key drivers are, Frank immediately responded, “To make people’s lives better and easier”. It’s no wonder then that the transient nature of consulting left him wanting more.
Stepping into the Fintech Frontier
In November 2020, 7 months into a pandemic, Frank found his opportunity at iKhokha.
“iKhokha gave me the chance to do missionary work. Here, you really embed yourself in a problem. You become part of a family, part of a tribe. Our customers became my people.”
Given the opportunity to get his hands dirty and deep-dive into iKhokha’s processes, Frank works closely with other strategic stakeholders to redefine the iKhokha customer journey. For Frank, the opportunity to see a strategy through to fruition was the real impetus behind the move.
“As a consultant, I was a mercenary… iKhokha gave me the chance to do missionary work.”
The startup structure also lends itself to greater cross-team collaboration. It was further incentive to lure Frank away from the corporate world to the East Coast’s blossoming startup scene.
“Corporate hierarchy impedes conversations and collaboration,” comments Frank. “A key aspect of design thinking is that ideas don’t come out of silos or specialist brainstorming. It comes from cross-functional collaboration, and that’s what we’re implementing here at iKhokha.”
When you meet Frank, the last word that springs to mind is “aggressive”. An open, approachable and warm human being, it may come as a surprise that Frank enjoys going a couple of rounds in the ring.
A fan of gym culture and fitness, it took the frustrations of lockdown to get Frank beyond the ropes. Aside from the physical outlet, mental preparation and focus are imperative in the boxing ring – both of which appeal to the service designer.
“There’s a lot of technique and nuance in the boxing world. There’s a need to focus. I’m introverted by my thoughts, so it helps bring me into the present and centre myself,” he says.
Characteristically, that’s not the only extra-mural on Frank’s timetable. The man’s complexity is captured in his similar love for yoga and hiking, which many would see as contrary activities to going toe-to-toe in the ring.
For Frank, however, they are closely related. From the high-intensity of boxing to the serenity of a yoga session, both promote mindfulness.
It’s an approach that permeates all aspects of Frank’s life, including his approach towards his work. He is always considered, calm and focussed on the importance of micro-moments in the customer journey.
“At the stage I’m at in my career, I’m looking to self-actualise and be my best, and iKhokha is the perfect environment for that.”
He continues to inject energy and expertise into the iK Tribe to create impactful customer-centric interactions. As you may expect from a goal-driven individual, his ‘why’ aligns seamlessly with our purpose at iKhokha.
In his words: “I have to put the customer front and centre all the time. It’s about getting value into their hands to make their lives easier.”
Want to work with leading tech professionals like Frank? Then it’s time to #Jointhehustle: https://www.ikhokha.com/careers