Nico Leonard joins MullenLowe Group Japan to drive bundling of design, data science and analytics for brands in APAC

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Nico Leonard joins MullenLowe Group Japan to drive bundling of design, data science and analytics for brands in APAC

MullenLowe Group Japan has appointed Nico Leonard as Director of Experience, MullenLowe Profero.


The appointment further strengthens MullenLowe Profero’s new experience design (XD) capability launched in October 2018 to realise this service offering in Japan – building products and services that are faster to market, easier to integrate and designed to collect insights and data from an initial concept stage.

A Melbourne native, Leonard is a multi-disciplinary design leader who’s worked in innovation labs for some of Australia’s largest companies (NAB, Australia Post), guiding new business concepts through early stage experimentation and ambiguity. Active in the design community, he also helped start one of the most progressive conferences in the region (SDNOW), creating a platform for practitioners and building new capabilities around Service and Strategic Design.

“Nico combines both client-side and consultancy experience as a strategic designer with proven product and program leadership of multidisciplinary teams, including data-scientists, evidence-based approach to strategy and consensus-building,” said James Hollow, CEO, MullenLowe Group Japan. “His experience in financial services, fintech, travel and identity platforms resonate strongly with our client portfolio and emerging business vertical strengths.”

“Nico shares our values around creating human-centric experiences based on rich robust insight so is not only a valuable addition to client programs but also a great fit for our diverse culture,” added Hollow.

The agency’s belief is that a leaner, data-enabled approach to the experience process allows for greater tailoring to the nuances and contexts of each client, with a portfolio of change-projects, bound by a common experience strategy, that when deployed together can deliver an evolutionary transformation.

Recent client engagements which have used this bundled approach are strong proof points of its ability to successfully address business challenges. They include designing solutions to create data that informs interactive improvement for HSBC and smarter capturing and analysis of customer data to inform high value customer strategy for PENINSULA Hotels.

Leonard said, “There’s a massive opportunity to bring a mindset of experimentation to businesses across the region, using a lean, hypothesis-led approach to learn about their challenges and continually improve experiences. This shift to a culture of learning is where we can really impact the future of a business.”

Leonard will work with a UX team who are defining an innovative Evolutionary Design model with MullenLowe Profero Sydney, based on collaboration between the Data Science and Analytics team in Tokyo and UX teams in Sydney.

Leonard will bundle his skills with a data science Centre of Excellence (COE) in Tokyo that has become a central driver of unfair advantage for MullenLowe Group’s clients. Given the centrality of experience design to transforming brands today, placing CX specialists next to the data COE helps to drive deeper bundling with the experience COE in Sydney and other specialists in the region.

This type of hybridisation of approaches and cultures is central to MullenLowe Group’s strategy in Asia Pacific and underpins the regional structure of the Group’s Centres of Excellence, hyperbundling to deliver transformative work for international brands.

“We need to constantly bring adaptive tools and methods to meet the diverse challenges and opportunities brands today are facing,” commented Vincent Digonnet, CEO, MullenLowe Group APAC.

“Our clients benefit from world class talent, but they benefit even more when they collaborate across MullenLowe Group specialisms to bring together different methodologies and practices. The agility and adaptability this brings us is a unique proposition in the APAC region where more and more clients are seeking to create a differentiated experience that expresses their brand purpose,” he continued.