Meet Sandra Abrouk, Co-Liv’s Head of UX Design
Sandra joined Co-Liv in September 2020. She led a service design project that aimed to understand what could best serve coliving professionals, and what initiative can be created to empower them through a new service that Co-Liv would offer.
With Gui Perdrix, our director, they launched the Co-Liv Onboarding Program, a new membership service dedicated to empowering more coliving professionals and connecting them to the right people, resources, and initiatives. After only two weeks of the launching of the newly designed service, Co-Liv already doubled in yearly member revenues and grew their memberships 4x faster than in previous months.
Gathering expertise in user and customer experience, Sandra has helped various organizations to improve their products/services by adopting a human-centered approach.
Sandra is passionate about technology, community, and human dynamics.
How do you currently define yourself and what drives you?
I define myself as an experience creator. My challenge in life is to try to get the people that are in front of me in order to adapt myself to their needs and to create the best experience possible for them.
I also define myself as an entrepreneur that is willing to take part in innovative projects that intend to build a better world. I am an out of the box thinker. I like to question conventions and to push boundaries. I nourish myself from others, their stories which allows me to open my mind and to push boundaries even more. I am a nonconformist, pragmatic and I am always eager to improve things around me and myself. I truly believe that coliving has the potential to make our lives better and this is why I decided to join Co-Liv.
My expertise is in service and customer experience and I recently started working in user experience also. My mission is to contribute to the building of a better world while respecting people’s integrity. In order to fulfill my mission, I need to be aligned with my personal values. My core values are fairness, respect, transmission, freedom, and empathy. This is why I try to implement these values into my projects, for example creating experiences where expectations are set from the very beginning to the user, instead of fooling them. Gui Perdrix said “happiness = reality — expectations” and this resonates a lot with me. If you set the right expectations to your user, they will be happy and your business will be able to retain them. I truly believe that fooling someone in order to make a sale is a bad strategy. If you satisfy your customer’s needs meaning that the added value that your product or service meet their expectations then they will naturally become returning customers.
In my career, I have always had in heart to provide the best service, experience to my customers and I would like to enable coliving professionals to offer flawless and unforgettable customer, user experience while being aligned with their mission and their values.
I would define myself through three main statements:
✔️ Human beings are fascinating
I am passionate about people, their behaviors and interactions. The challenge is to show empathy to others in order to adapt your communication and actions so you can deliver the best experience possible.
✔️ Embrace your creativity
Freedom enables me to create a space for creativity and innovation. A space where there is no judgement so I can fully express myself.
✔️ All Knowledge starts with curiosity
As far as I remember, I have always been curious, eager to learn new things. My curiosity enhances learnings to build upon themselves. Allowing my mind to open up as it grows and develops.
How did you discover coliving and what experiences did you have with it? What passionates you about coliving and why are you actively promoting the coliving scene?
This summer, I was meant to go to a wedding in Spain but I could not attend it because of the covid-19 pandemic. After that, my sister decided to go to Mallorca to spend 2 weeks in a coliving / coworking space and I decided to join her. This was my first experience in a coliving space. I had heard of coliving but I did not know what it was exactly. To be completely honest, my perception of coliving was totally mistaken.
Thank god, I met Gui Perdrix that taught me through, shared his passion for coliving with me, and therefore, I decided to work for Co-Liv. Since then, I have had the chance to discover a beautiful industry full of inspiring and passionate professionals.
Originally, I am a scientist. Since my studies at university, I have been concerned about climate change. Therefore, I tend to reduce my impact on the environment. I believe that coliving can build communities that share those values and adapt their lifestyle in order to be more sustainable. A group of kindly people is stronger than individuals and coliving is an opportunity to build communities that are more conscious and that empower themselves. Not every coliving will go in that sense and for those that will step up, they will do it at different scales but I think that the group effect can help change along and accelerate it.
Also, coliving can help shaping the future of cities. The population is constantly growing and soon or later, the demand will exceed the offer in terms of housing which will make prices even higher, and the search for housing even harder. In that sense, long-term shared living can be a solution to that problem. Furthermore, our society feels lonelier than ever. Two main factors explain this, first, the digitalization of the world, indeed, our virtual networks are larger than our real-life social network. Moreover, our social networks are smaller than they used to be. The second factor is whether they are young or old, many people tend to live in single-occupancy households. Given that, I think that coliving can be a solution for people that suffer from loneliness.
My personal experience is that life is better when you share it with like-minded people. I have always lived in shared housing and I secretly dream of being part of a beautiful community that would live remotely and living in self-sufficiency. We are social animals, we need interactions with others. For all those reasons, I think coliving is facing a bright future.
What’s your personal vision and thoughts on the future of coliving for the year to come?
I think the coliving industry is at the beginning of a successful journey. 2020 has been so challenging for everyone. The industry has been very resilient. Coliving is the proof of new living needs and habits and it is at the beginning of an exponential growth curve. Many professionals have suffered from lockdowns all over the world and some of them have had to reinvent themselves in order to survive. I see coliving as a great opportunity for tourist operators like hotels or hostels to adapt their activities.
Also, many professionals started working remotely and were able to enjoy the freedom of not having a fixed office anymore. Those 2 facts combined will catalyze the growth of coliving even more.
Nevertheless, in order to grow properly, the industry needs a framework and some regulations in terms of legal aspects, development, public policies, etc. And I think that once the basics will be set and that the various stakeholders will be aligned, some niches will start appearing.
You recently joined Co-Liv as “Head of UX design” — which opportunities do you want to create for the organization, its members, and the coliving industry?
With Gui Perdrix, we designed the Co-Liv Onboarding Program. a new membership service dedicated to empowering more coliving professionals and connecting them to the right people, resources and initiatives.
We used a service design process to create customer research, learn the key needs of coliving professionals, come up with solutions and design the most optimal service for our members.
The philosophy behind service or user experience design is design thinking. According to IDEO, “ Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation — anchored in understanding customer’s needs, rapid prototyping, and generating creative ideas — that will transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and organizations. By using design thinking, you make decisions based on what customers really want instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence.”
It is that philosophy of a human-centered approach that I would like to implement in all the processes of Co-Liv. Human-centered design is such a powerful tool for organizations themselves and for their customers. I think that every organization should use it.
In 2021, we are going to redesign the entire website in order to create the best experience for Co-Liv’s users. This will enable the association to grow its community even more and to create new initiatives for it and for the industry.
The second project I will be working on is the Co-Liv global summit. It is the first time that the event will be held online. Therefore, I will be in charge of designing the whole user experience for our attendees.
I am very proud to see the association evolving and to be part of this amazing project. There are many other initiatives that will be launched in 2021 and it is essential to have an optimal new website in order to honor them.
Thank you for being part of this movement! How can people reach out and what can you mostly help them with?
I’d love to connect with individuals or companies involved in the coliving industry, get to know your visions and challenges, and explore new collaboration opportunities between you and Co-Liv.
I can help coliving professionals with UX design, service design and customer experience. I can help you to launch a new project or to rethink an existing project in terms of customer or user experience. It concerns the entire process going from your website, app to the way your space is thought in terms of customer experience to the way your service processes, the interactions between your organization and your customers are designed.
Please reach me out here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandra-abrouk/
With lots of co-love,
The Co-Liv Team
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