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Last updated on Juni 11, 2023

He was my partner in crime since Wednesday Web Jam session #5 on gamification. Together, we designed „Hugo’s quest“, an adventure game for facilitating an online workshop. I admired his approach, because he chose avatars right from the beginning, created the Zoom J and the master of ceremony as new roles that we would need in online facilitation. Since that session in April 2020, he has been a regular visitor, and I was happy to get my own personal „Hello partner!“ greeting every time he showed up.

Hugo likes to work in trendy cafés. When people appear on screen on a Wednesday at five, he always looks as if he had come straight from the beach, a bit worn out from the wind, and with some sunlight on his face. He took me for breakfast to his favourite café, and what I didn’t know before getting there, is how beautiful the environment is: the view to the sea, fisherman’s art on the roundabout that separates Porto from Matozinhos, the Parque de Cidade (one of the most beautiful parks ever, if you ask me) – a place to let go and enjoy life.

Hugo is a trained electro-technical engineer, but soon realized that it was not his destination to work in a big company. And since he is a great fan of serendipidy, when Katja introduced him to Design Thinking, that was it. Now, he works in consulting with a Design Thinking mindset and approach. He takes the fail-fast-and-fail-often attitude very seriously. His „personal lab“ for experimentation is the city of Porto’s Cidade de Profissões, where he teaches students from local schools and the university: creativity, Design Thinking, application trainings. This is how he secures a constant flow of innovative energy – to the good of both parties.

Portugal seems to have a much more relaxed and inclusive way to treat people of colour, compared to where I come from. This is another learning, and Hugo’s personal story is proof for it. People from Angola and Mozambique are seen, he says, to be „natural Portuguese“, once they choose to live in the country. Hugo’s parents were among the so called „retornados„, who came back to Portugal in the 70s after living in Angola for many years. To them, it seemed like going back from New York to a peasant society, as Angola was a lot more advanced, both intellectually and economically, in contrast to Portugal under the dictatorship of Marcelo Caetano.

So, changing perspectives, playing around, using all his senses, is a natural thing for Hugo. He plays the tourist at times and speaks English to his Portuguese fellow people. Sometimes, he does it as a reaction to someone offering him drugs on the street – funnily enough, because the former competitive swimmer will hardly even touch alcohol.

Why don’t you have a look for yourselves? For example at his blog, where Hugo writes about leadership, transformation, creativity and coaching. Apart from this, his new website is coming soon.

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