“It´s about when and why not on or off”

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Interview by: Patrick Rembe

In the middle of such a big energy transition as the one we are currently facing, where numbers and facts tend to be the focus, sometimes it is hard to find someone as motivated to bring these things to people’s attention as Juan Martino. Juan is a strategic designer at Soulsight, one of the partners of the ReDREAM project, and he says it clear: the focus needs to be put on the consumer, and people need to be involved and care about energy. This is why, he is working on the research side of the ReDREAM, establishing the baseline for the strategic approach that will keep the consumer vision across the entire project. We had the pleasure to ask him a few questions about his vision for ReDREAM and this is what he said:

Patrick: Hello Juan, can you start by describing what makes the ReDREAM project so special to you?


Juan: In my opinion, the ReDREAM project is a completely disruptive approach to the energy sector. It wants to move the focus from the big producers and the big players to a more democratic, consumer-based system, and that’s what makes it so special. We need people to be involved and to care about energy because energy is something that can make a difference in the future of our society and planet, especially now that we are in the middle of an energy transition.


Patrick: How does this goal of bringing the focus to the consumer translate into your work, what is it that you are doing in the project?


Juan: Strategic design aims to provide answers for uncertain scenarios. And for that, you need to ask the right questions. And that’s where we start, by reflecting and asking the right questions in order to get the right answers.


Patrick: And what are the right questions for ReDREAM?


Juan: I would say the right questions are related to what the consumer wants, what the consumer needs, and what the consumer cares about. But it is also important to take into account what the energy market is willing to do and how much it is willing to change in order to provide a different solution to energy consumption.


Patrick: It sounds very interesting, but how do you connect with the consumer in order to get the right answers?


Juan:  I would say the key is to try to get on the same level as them.  You need to speak their language and try to explain things in a way that they can understand. And it’s about always asking why, trying to go deeper and deeper to find the roots of their motivations.


Patrick: Do you think that this is a problem that most start-ups or other companies have? That they start to create a business, but they don’t focus enough on asking why?


Juan: Yes, I would say so.  A lot of projects and start-ups are really thrilled about their product, their service, and their solution, but they don’t really understand what their customers really need. So for us it’s very important to start with that: talking to the consumer. And then we can try to build a solution that really answers their needs.


Patrick: That’s a great work ethic. How do you think this way of thinking can influence the ReDREAM project?


Juan: At Soulsight we love to think that our work can be transformative for the people we work with. It’s not only about delivering the right solution but also about changing people’s perspectives throughout the journey. It’s about making their vision broader and more open. Especially about getting them to be passionate and thrilled about the future, about new possibilities, and about making the world a better place. If during the project we can ignite just one percent of our passion in the rest of the partners we are going to be very happy.


Patrick: And can you imagine any specific changes that you could lead the project partners towards?


Juan: I would say the most obvious change is to ensure that they always have the consumer in mind when taking day-to-day decisions. But it’s not only us that can influence the other partners; they can also influence us. For example, our way of working is very different from that of engineers, because they really believe in the power of science, accuracy, and reliability. And there are a lot of engineers in this project, and this is already changing us, in a good way.


Patrick: Of course, we are always influenced by the people around us. And do you think that it’s because of Soulsight and the people that work there that you are able to have this attitude towards your work?


Juan: Yes. I work at Soulsight because it’s a company that really believes in people, starting with its employees. They really care about your dreams and your work ethic. They care about how we envision working with others and for others, with the partners, with our clients, and of course with the consumers. This is very important, because at Soulsight we work with big companies, and we believe that they are big levers of change in society. So if we are able to change the way they work, then we can create big changes in society.


Patrick: That’s very well said. What are your personal expectations for the ReDREAM project?


Juan: I don’t know if we are really going to make a big change in the demo locations, but I’m sure that at least all the involved partners are going to learn from this experience. We are going to change the way we understand and imagine the future. And therefore in other projects, in other activities, and in other realities we will be able to apply this change of mindset.


Patrick: Okay, last question. What is it that drives you personally, that gives you the energy to do what you do?


Juan: Well, my personal working purpose is to excite people about the possibilities of the future and how amazing our world is. I try to remember this every morning and keep it in mind when I work with my colleagues, clients, and partners. This is what makes me wake up every morning excited with a smile and that’s when life feels great.


Patrick: Well, that is a great statement to end the interview on. Muchas gracias Juan.


Juan: Un placer.

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