What is your typical workday like?
I spent 80 % of my time on developing new concepts and maintaining existing products and solutions. Stakeholder management is vital to concept development, thus I have a lot of meetings through out the week primarily with internal stakeholders. The goal is to get every internal stakeholder aligned and on board with the new concepts.
I use 20 % of my time on User Experience Design. This include UX research and UX evaluations of our products; user interviews, workshops etc.
What has your career path looked like up until now?
I graduated in late 2009. In early 2010 I got employed as a project manager at Aalborg University working on developing and implementing Mobile Solutions to enhance the user experience when visiting theme parks in Northern Denmark. This employment was based on a project.
The project closed down in December 2011. From January 2012 I was employed as a PhD candidate researching Mobile User Experiences.
I finished my PhD in early 2014, and got immediately hired as a Network Manager of the Innovation Network for Experience Economy.
From mid 2014 I got employed as Assistant Professor at Aalborg University.
From mid 2014 I therefore worked as both Assistant Professor and as a Network Manager.
In late 2017 I got employed at Ennova A/S as a Concept Manager.
How close is your current career to the ideas and dreams you had as a PhD fellow at AAU?
Close, I would say. During my PhD i developed a framework for creating user-centered mobile concepts, and I did a lot of User Experience Design. In my current role as Concept Manager I develop user-centered concepts and conduct UX research and design on a daily basis.
How have you made use of your PhD education, and which of your PhD competences have been most important to you?
Taking a user-centered approach to concept development has been a key competence from my PhD I use throughout my work day. Thinking user first is key.
The analytical competences I gained via my PhD has also been key to my daily work.
Last, but not least, methods for conducting UX evaluations of products have been vital to my daily work in Ennova.
What do you remember most from your PhD studies?
The possibility to deep dive into a subject of interest to me. This include the time allocated to do research but also to work in close collaboration with companies developing and evaluating products in the "real" world. Also, my visit to and stay at a university in Japan.
What is your best memory from AAU?
The great workplace relationship and the genuine interest in my subject from my colleagues.
Is there a teacher/colleague from AAU you remember especially, and why?
My super-visor, Jens F. Jensen, has been a key figure throughout my academic career. He was the one who spotted me after my MA and hired me in early 2010. He has been my immediate manager since early 2010 to 2012, after which he became my super-visor and immediate manager until 2017. If it was not for Jens, I would not be where I am today.
What made the strongest impression on you during your PhD defense?
The genuine interest in my work from the opponents. It was a privilege to discuss my work with the opponents who had spent a lot of time on reading my thesis and preparing questions. The defense was very exciting and a satisfying way to complete the intense PhD-journey.
Why did you decide to do a PhD, and would you have chosen differently if you were to do it today?
I was presented with the idea of doing a PhD and at that time it made sense to be able to deep dive into mobile user experiences as the topic was, and still is, of great interest to me.
What advice would you give to current PhD fellows at AAU that want a career outside academia?
Be sure to conduct your research in close collaboration with companies and focus on developing research or products that can be tested in real world settings - and are valuable to external stakeholders.
What are your dreams for the future?
My dream is to have the managerial responsibility for a unit working with UX Design and Concept Development.
About Claus Pertou Østergaard
Current employment: Concept Manager at Ennova A/S
MA programme: MA Communication
Faculty at AAU: The Faculty of Humanities
Department at AAU: Department of Communication and Psychology
Year of graduation: 2014
Title of PhD dissertation: Mobile User Experience - Understanding, designing, and implementing mobile user experiences in theme parks