In this interview series, we feature a member of our driven, passionate team at Spacemaker. The interviews celebrate the talented people behind the scenes and our culture. This month, we chat with Maria Johansson, who joined Spacemaker in 2020 as a Customer Success Manager at the Stockholm office. We discuss digital transformation, data-driven tools and finding the silver lining in working from home.
What's your role at Spacemaker?
I’m a Customer Success (CS) Manager and a squad lead working in the CS team at Spacemaker in Stockholm. The CS team is mostly made up of architects and urban designers who work directly with our users to help them implement Spacemaker within their organization. Our team works across Oslo, Stockholm, Paris, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Berlin.
Where are you working from currently?
I work from home at the moment but I hope we can go into the office soon so we can meet together ‘live’ instead of only online – I’ve been working remotely since day three of when I started at Spacemaker...
What does your morning routine look like?
My morning starts with a really good cup of coffee, after having breakfast with the family and getting the kids to preschool and school. Then my day varies depending on whether I have meetings with clients or our team. Some days, my squad meets in the morning for a team catch up since everyone works from home. On other days, it's straight into the day's work.
Which projects are you working on right now?
We’ve just had our biannual planning week where every employee in Spacemaker contributes to the company’s strategy and operations for the next six months. It’s great fun to see the power of teamwork and creativity from a group of very ambitious people who are ready to change the world. It’s impressive to see how we, more than 100 people with different responsibilities in completely different areas, come together. It gives everyone a lot of new energy and a feeling that we can make a difference. I'm also working on some exciting new projects with my clients, for example in the city centre of Stockholm which is affected by complex environmental issues such as noise and daylight. Every project gets more fun as you see clients adopting a more proactive approach to sustainability from the very beginning of the project. It’s also rewarding to hear their feedback, e.g. about how Spacemaker speeds up their workflow, and gratitude that Spacemaker has given them more confidence to build in a better way for the future.
Tell us about how your Spacemaker journey started...
I started at Spacemaker in March 2020, just before COVID-19 changed the world. I visited the head office in Oslo, worked two days in the office and then everything shut down. While it was a challenging time, it was also exciting to see how the whole company adapted and, with a lot of creativity, made an amazing transition to becoming fully remote. In my almost two years at Spacemaker, I’ve thought a lot about that first visit to Oslo and how fascinating it is now the world is so different but also about how important personal interactions are.
I joined Spacemaker because of my background and experience as an architect. I had worked in architectural offices transforming their ways of working with 3D and BIM, with a focus on improving future construction projects with data-driven tools. I had experienced how this empowered people and saw how it improved their projects by, for example, how it gave them more certainty in their decisions. However this concerned only the later stages of the project, and I worked on countless projects where we had to rethink these later phases because we discovered new information that was not available when we started the project.
Our increasing awareness about what we build and how this affects the future, especially with regards to urban development and climate change, made me confident that Spacemaker would be the tool that could help prevent these types of mistakes I encountered by addressing them first in early stage development. I was keen to experience a similar journey like I did with 3D and BIM, but with a focus now on the early phase of a project. It’s something that has only become more exciting since Spacemaker became part of Autodesk, which allows me to better connect my two experiences.
How have you experienced professional growth at Spacemaker?
My work comes with exciting challenges where I get great opportunities to develop myself every day. In my role, I get to grow in two areas: how to work on creating the best customer experience and how to work on driving digital transformation in architecture and construction. In my role as a squad lead, I have grown into being a coach to the members of my team, especially to inspire them in taking on new challenges and provide affirmation during this time of working remotely.
Can you tell us about your favourite challenge so far and how you solved it?
Obviously only meeting my clients and colleagues digitally has been a challenge, and I would say the best solution for it has been to focus on the positive. In my case, COVID-19 affected my work in unexpected ways such as less traveling; but this meant that I had more time to be there for our customers. I got to meet more people within Spacemaker as everyone was no more than a short Zoom call or Slack message away. I liked that I got to know my colleagues in a more personal way by seeing them in their home environment, even sometimes meeting their family members! This has helped me to understand them in other ways than if we only worked in the office.
What keeps you inspired outside work, and how does this influence your work at Spacemaker?
Since I’ve had children, this becomes a question that very much influences my focus. Watching them grow up and learning about the world they live in and how it works is definitely what inspires me to dare to invest in the future, and to believe that there will be good environments for them to live in and for me to enjoy with my future grandchildren.
How do you wind down in the evening?
If you had asked me two years ago the answer would’ve been to relax on the sofa, but COVID-19 has changed me in that we now very rarely watch TV or sit still in the evenings. Now I enjoy being outdoors a lot more – I love going to the park, cycling, and most of all seeing what I can grow in our garden. It’s about escaping from everything to do with screens and getting fresh air.
What do you enjoy most about your work day?
That my work is very flexible and varied; it's up to me to decide, and take and have control. Everyone in the team has very different skill sets and it’s fantastic to see what we can achieve thanks to this, and to know that I have great colleagues to turn to when I’m in need of support.
Want to join our team?
Spacemaker is made up of all sorts of people - from data scientists and architects, to sailors, skiers, climbers, software engineers, designers and many more. What connects us is a strong belief that we can make a difference by improving the way we design our cities. Check out the positions we’re hiring for right now!