Futurice logo

FutuStories - Meet Mustafa, Designer & Data Visualist

01-12-2020Culture

Mustafa’s life has been one of contrast: moving from busy Mumbai to the relative quiet of Helsinki and from the academic rigour of engineering to the more creative discipline of design. When it comes to storytelling, he’s a firm believer in letting the data do the talking.

Sanni Tiivola-Jurvainen

Marketing Manager, Finland

What does your role involve in Futurice?

I mostly work as a UI/UX designer, working on projects that are very data driven. My work helps companies make better decisions based on data – for example, by creating dashboards that help them manage their customers better. I’ve been here for four-and-a-half years now, with the last year working remotely due to the pandemic. Although my work suits home working, I do miss the community feel of being in the office – in an ideal world I’d like a bit of both.

How did you first become interested in data?

Growing up in India, if you’re at all academic there’s an expectation that you’ll become either an engineer or a doctor. My father and elder brother are engineers, so I initially followed in their footsteps for my undergraduate degree, then decided to continue my studies with a master’s in graphic design at Aalto University. While I was doing my master’s, I became very interested in data and data visualisation because it’s a field of design that can have a lot of impact – data can be used to tell stories and create change, both in organisations and individuals.

How can you use data to tell a story?

The first step is curiosity: find a question you want to ask. Then you need to look for relevant data and try to build a story that can answer that question. Start with no preconceived ideas about what you’ll find, as data can surprise you – this way you’ll avoid confirmation bias through cherry picking datasets that match your ideas. As you get more data, you’ll start seeing patterns and hidden structures; some of these may be coincidental, which is when you might need help from domain experts, but as you keep working the story will reveal itself.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

At Futurice, we’re given a great deal of flexibility to pick and choose the projects we want to work on, which I really enjoy. I also like the wide range of projects we have available to us – because of the size and reputation of Futurice in Finland you get a lot of one-of-a-kind projects with no benchmarks, which are an interesting challenge to work on and a great learning experience.

While I was doing my master’s, I became very interested in data and data visualisation because it’s a field of design that can have a lot of impact – data can be used to tell stories and create change, both in organisations and individuals.

Mustafa small

What’s the best thing about living in Finland?

I grew up in India and spent a chunk of my adult life in Mumbai, so the best thing for me about Finland is how much space there is – India can be crowded, especially a city like Mumbai. I also really like the people; everyone I’ve met here has been very friendly, especially at Futurice.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I play a lot of board games with a group of friends I met at university – pretty much every week we try a new one. Recently we’ve been enjoying co-op games like Arkham Horror and Horrified, as well as more competitive ones like Villainous. I also enjoy reading, especially about statistics and things like that.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I’d have more rationality and objectivity! So many political decisions are taken on the basis of how someone can please their voters rather than on objective data and facts. Politicians often make emotionally driven statements that are not challenged – I’d like to see people questioning the powers that be a bit more. Data always makes you think more objectively, helping you to put your emotions aside and think things through rationally.


Interested in reading more stories about us and our people? At Futurice, we celebrate diversity and cherish everyone's unique journey. Check out our Welcome Home page and get inspired by more journeys shaping our culture. If you would like to read more stories and get to know our people, our sites and the community better, check out the global version of our FutuStories Booklet.

Related Blogs
Related Services and Topics
  • About
  • Services
  • Case Studies
  • Blog
  • Contact
  • Join us

Contact

© 2021 Futurice. All Rights Reserved | Legal disclaimer | Impressum

Futurice logo

Future. Co-created.