"If you look at things from a new angle, you will also come up with new ideas"

"My vision is that Design Thinking becomes an integrative part of our corporate culture" says Laura Barrabia Gil, Strategic Project Manager at GF, in the Universum Top 100 interview (only available in German and French). She explains how the method supports GF employees and what motivates her to work for GF.

Innovative solutions are developed more quickly in a team, thinks Strategic Project Manager Laura Barrabia Gil, who sets great store by the Design Thinking method.

Laura Barrabia, what targets is GF working towards and what is your vision as the Strategic Project Manager?

Essentially, our business objectives and my role are interwoven. The following targets are on our agenda: expand in growth markets, develop business fields with higher margins and boost both sales strength and innovative power. And this is where my work comes in. Since 2017, I have been responsible for the global roll-out of the Design Thinking method at GF in order to inspire a new way of dealing with innovation and put the customers at the heart of everything. To this end, we established a core team that is tasked with driving forward this important approach in the individual divisions and locations. So far, more than 1,000 employees from various different departments have received training worldwide. My vision is for Design Thinking to become a fully integrated component of our culture.

Do we need to think differently in future so we can come up with new ideas?

I definitely think so. On the one hand, we want to offer our customers added value through new solutions, but on the other, we have less and less time for the process of innovation. For this reason, we need to make sure our company is ever more agile and flexible. Design Thinking is ideal for this. In development, for example: by applying the new method, we can proceed in a highly customer-focused way, coordinating with them to make choices at various stages throughout the whole process. Experience shows that we achieve the end result more quickly despite these iterations. Our customers also value being involved in the development from the outset and able to influence the outcome accordingly. Looking at things in a different way will give you new ideas.

“We are all working towards the same goal and this is highly motivating.”

How would you describe the working culture at GF?

At GF, we are very open with each other and there is a high level of mutual support. I have myself experienced this willingness to cooperate: when I moved from GF Piping Systems, our Division for piping systems, to the Group in 2017, everything was of course very new for me at first. My colleagues really helped me in the transition. I was really impressed by this team spirit. You could say: even though we are in different departments, we are all working towards the same goal and this is highly motivating.

What aspect of your job do you love most?

First and foremost, I am quite simply fascinated by Design Thinking, because this method enables us to come up with new solutions together. I also greatly value the huge variety that my work brings: I run training, design processes, am part of exciting projects and work with many different people – I never get bored!

Laura Barrabia Gil, Strategic Project Manager at GF

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