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Design Better Podcast Profile

Design Better Podcast

English, Arts, 9 seasons, 114 episodes, 3 days 11 hours 11 minutes
The Design Better podcast delivers insights from the world’s most renowned design leaders, empowering teams to transform their practice and build remarkable products. This series is hosted by Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery and brought to you by InVision, the digital product design platform used to make the world’s best customer experiences. Discover more best practices, research, and resources at
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Design Better Holiday Gift Guide

As designers, we can’t help but be particular about the gifts we give and receive. We’ve put together a list of beautiful and useful gifts at varying price ranges to help you satisfy everyone on your holiday shopping list this year, including yourself. Wishing you and yours a happy, safe holiday season filled with love, gratitude, and connection. Your pals, Aarron and Eli *** For the full gift guide, visit our Substack: *** Gift ideas that support our sponsors and the show Eli: I'm kind of a coffee heathen, and tend to like really dark roast coffees, old school…and so I was a little skeptical because a lot of Methodical’s coffees tend to be a little lighter or medium roast. But this one that Aarron picked out is just great and I drink it all the time.  Design Better coffee, $22 Eli: You've probably heard us talk about American Giant. They're a clothing company based here in the US. They're all manufactured here
22/11/202351 minutes 3 seconds
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Announcing something new…

Over the seven years doing the show, we noticed a pattern in those who achieve their career goals fastest—they consciously invest in themselves by building skills and knowledge. And one of the best ways to learn is to have direct access to people who inform and inspire. Today, we’re launching a premium service called DB+ designed to help you learn faster and grow your career. Subscribers to the Power Listener plan get access to episodes ad-free and a week before everyone else for the price of your daily coffee. For folks who want direct access to some of the guests we’ve had on the show and industry experts, we have another tier for Accelerated Learners. Each month, we’ll invite you to AMA (Ask Me Anything) conversations with big names in design and tech from companies like Nike, Netflix, and The New York Times.  We’ll dive into topics most relevant to your work to help you learn from those with deep experience. You’ll have a chance to ask questions about UX research, UI design, the cr
01/11/20233 minutes 53 seconds
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Bonus Episode: Bayard Winthrop, CEO of American Giant

Hey everybody, we have a special bonus episode for you today. We're having a conversation with Bayard Winthrop, the founder and CEO of American Giant, one of our favorite clothing companies. This episode is all about the intersection of design and entrepreneurship. Designers often hear that they need to develop business acumen: they need to know how a business works, and how a product makes money. And Bayard shares some of those insights here in our conversation. This episode is different in one other way: it's our very first sponsored episode. We want to occasionally bring you stories from brands that we love, who share our values, and who we feel have something to teach us about design. Why we love American Giant American Giant’s mission is threefold: to make clothing that stands apart, grow jobs for people who need them, and revitalize local communities. They also care deeply about sustainability, and makes clothes that are durable, not disposable. Bayard speaks in depth about their
04/10/202355 minutes 41 seconds
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Design Better Trailer

Design Better co-hosts Eli Woolery and Aarron Walter explore the intersection of design, technology, and the creative process through conversations with inspiring guests across many creative fields. Whether you’re design curious or a design pro, Design Better is guaranteed to inspire and inform. Episodes are released semi-weekly. Vanity Fair calls Design Better, “sharp, to the point, and full of incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to better understand how to build a more innovative world.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/08/20231 minute 10 seconds
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Design Better's New Adventure: Exciting changes to the show

We recently hit our 100th episode, and we have a big announcement to share. If you haven't already subscribed to our Substack at head over there so you can stay up to day with all the latest episodes, as well as our free newsletter. Thank you for your support! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/08/202316 minutes 41 seconds
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Bonus Episode with Don Norman: Panel discussion on designing a better world

Show notes: In this special bonus episode, renowned scholar and author Don Norman (The Design of Everyday Things, Design for a Better World) leads a discussion with recognized design leaders about how design can and should play a role in solving the biggest challenges of humanity today. This conversation was recorded at a live online event August 17, 2023 produced by the UX Design Institute. Panelists who participated in the conversation with Don Norman include Brenda Laurel (researcher, writer, and consultant), Irene Au (Design partner at Khosla Ventures and former Design Better guest), and our own Aarron Walter. Gareth Dunlop is the MC of the event.In this hour-long conversation the panelists discuss: The role of design in understanding and navigating our current socio-economic challenges How to think about design and UX as humanity-centered versus human-centered How to harness the power of design in creating a
19/08/20231 hour 1 minute 48 seconds
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Rewind: Eileen Fisher: Embracing imperfect newness

Hi Folks- We hope that everyone is enjoying their summer so far. We’re taking a few weeks off to be with our families, and to prepare for an exciting announcement that we plan to share soon. In the meantime, we’re rewinding to one of our favorite episodes with Eileen Fisher, founder of her eponymous fashion brand Eileen Fisher, Inc. Enjoy the episode, and we’ll see you in a few weeks. You can subscribe to our Substack to receive episodes a week early, our monthly newsletter with job opportunities and career advice, and more bonus content: We’d also like to give a huge thank you and shout-out to our sponsors so far this season. Please help us continue to bring you great guests by visiting the links below: Fable: Build inclusive products: Methodical
06/07/202342 minutes 45 seconds
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Rewind: Seth Godin: Learning to take risks, be generous, and make a ruckus

If you don’t know who Seth Godin is, just type “Seth” into Google or DuckDuckGo. The first entry will lead you to his blog, where he writes—every day—about marketing, design, writing, how being a better human will make you better at your job. Once you’ve started to read his blog, you’ll probably be hungry for more of his wisdom. He’s written over eighteen bestselling books on business and marketing, including Linchpin, Purple Cow, and The Dip. We’ve been following Seth for a long time, and his writing and speaki
06/07/202243 minutes 48 seconds
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Rewind: John Cleese: A cheerful guide to creativity

The Ministry of Silly Walks. The Cheese Shop. French Taunting. If you haven’t seen any of these Monty Python sketches before, do us a favor and go watch one or two of them. You’ll discover—or re-discover—why our guest for this episode is a creative comic legend. John Cleese starred in and co-wrote the award-winning series Fawlty Towers, was nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay of A Fish Called Wanda, and even has a species of lemur named after him (Cleese’s wooly lemur, Avahi cleesei). He’s also an expert on the creative process, and so if you’re looking for a new framework to level-up your own workflow, his book Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide is a great resource. We talk with John about his new book, and also about creative collaboration in the midst of friction, how to be comfortable with ambiguity, and creating boundaries of space and time to get in a creative mode. We also get to ask him a question that’s been bugging us ever since
07/12/202134 minutes 39 seconds
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Rewind: Airbnb’s Benjamin Evans on the power of inclusive design

Benjamin Evans, Inclusive Design Lead for Airbnb, is part of a new kind of problem solvers tackling issues like racism, sexism, and bias in digital product design. In this episode of the Design Better Podcast, Eli and Aarron chat with Benjamin about using techniques like design thinking, research, and storytelling to ensure a more inclusive experience for all your users.
31/08/202148 minutes 57 seconds
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Rewind: Julie Zhuo: Learning to manage like a leader

Listen as Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design at Facebook and author of The Making of a Manager, recalls some of her earliest professional experiences at one of the fastest growing companies on the planet.  She reveals how she got her start and grew to be a highly influential design leader renowned for building top-notch teams. Julie talks about the difference between leading and managing, and shares personal examples that can help you advance your career. Bio Julie Zhuo is one of Silicon Valley’s top product design executives and author of The Making of a Manager. Aside from her day job as VP of Product Design at Facebook, Julie writes about technology, design, and leadership on her popular blog The Year of the Looking Glass and in The New York Times and Fast Company.
06/07/202153 minutes 12 seconds
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Jina Anne, Founder of Clarity Conference, on Crafting a Community for Design Systems

To celebrate the new InVision DSM, we're sharing one of our favorite episodes in conversation with Design Systems Advocate, Jina Anne. If you’re engaged in any sort of community surrounding Design Systems, whether it’s the Design Systems Slack, or the Clarity Conference, then you have likely benefited from Jina Anne’s work. A self-styled Design Systems Advocate, Jina has been passionate about creating events, content and resources that bring together communities of people who care about design systems and how they impact product design. In this bonus episode of the Design Better Podcast, we chat with Jina about how she got into Design Systems, what she has learned from building these communities, and how being a hybrid designer-developer influences her understanding of Design Systems. Takeaways: How having a Design System affects company culture. What to consider when deciding to go public with your Design System, or keeping it pr
18/08/202039 minutes 45 seconds
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Designing for Diversity: Project Inkblot’s Jahan Mantin and Boyuan Gao

In today’s episode, we talk with Boyuan Gao and Jahan Mantin—the founders of Project Inkblot—who have built a practical framework that can help everyone design for diversity, and can also be a guide for challenging conversations. We discuss how they see design as an opportunity to bridge the divide and bring people into the conversation about designing products and services that address everyone’s needs, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. We also talk to them about their definition of intent vs. impact, and how to close the loop on making sure your impact is what you intended. We hope you can use some of their ideas as a way to open the door to difficult conversations, and better understand your colleagues and customers. Takeaways: Understandi
11/06/202046 minutes 57 seconds
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Why business thinking for designers matters more than ever

We’ve just published a new book on called Business Thinking for Designers by Ryan Rumsey, formerly of Apple, USAA, EA, and Nestlé. It’s a challenging time out there, and we know many of you are facing uncertainty in your work, whether you’re in an industry that’s been heavily hit by the current crisis, or even if you’re lucky enough to be with a company that is navigating the current storm more or less intact. Now more than ever, designers need to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the business they work within, and show a return on investment for the work that they do. This is why we’ve released thi
21/04/202033 minutes 27 seconds
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Remote Work for Design Teams: Lessons in leadership, collaboration, and culture

We’ve just published a new book on called Remote Work for Design Teams, to help you make a graceful transition from the office to a remote work environment. In this bonus episode, we speak with the authors of the book (all from InVision): Abby Sinnott, Managing Editor, Greg Storey, Senior Director of Executive Programs, and Ben Goldman, Director of InVision Films. We chat with Abby, Greg and Ben about their own remote collaboration and teamwork while writing this book, which the team turned around in record time. We also review some tips for leaders during this crisis, and discuss why being productive at work shouldn’t necessarily be top priority for everyone on the team. If your team needs a little helpi
07/04/202031 minutes 6 seconds
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How to run remote design sprints and design reviews: Richard Banfield and Alison Rand

In this bonus episode, we’re once more focused on remote teams, and more specifically on best practices for facilitating remote design sprints, building trust between teams in a remote environment, and running effective critiques and design reviews remotely. In the first half of the episode, we chat with Richard Banfield, VP of Design Transformation at InVision, and author of the book Enterprise Design Sprints, who gives us practical guidance on how to run a remote design sprint effectively. In the second half, Alison Rand, our Senior Director of Design Operations, will reveal the inner workings of how our own design teams perform design reviews remotely, and make sure that work is visible across teams. You’ll lear
31/03/202052 minutes 47 seconds
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Making remote teams work

In this bonus episode, we chat about balancing personal and professional demands in a remote environment, especially during these challenging times. Join special guests Jennifer Aldrich, Senior Manager of Design Community Partnerships, and Stephen Gates, Head Design Evangelist, at InVision, as we discuss best practices for remote communication and how to build trust within your remote teams. We hope this episode helps you and your teams as you transition to remote work during this time of change in the face of our current health crisis. You’ll learn: How to set expectations for remote communication Tips for creating boundaries between work and life Establishing documentation and processes for team collaboration <li s
23/03/202031 minutes 4 seconds
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Rewind: David Kelley, Founder of IDEO and the Stanford, on Creative Confidence and Aligning Teams

To celebrate 1 million listens to the Design Better Podcast, we're rewinding to our episode with David Kelley, Founder of IDEO and the Stanford, in honor of David just receiving the Edison Award for Innovation. And we're sending a special thanks to YOU for listening and helping us reach this 1 million milestone. We're tremendously grateful to you, your friends, and colleagues for tuning in and joining the journey with us. David Kelley doesn’t like to claim to have come up with the term design thinking, even though most people would say he did. But regardless of who coined it, as founder of IDEO and the Stanford he has been one of the most influential proponents of design thinking, and human-centered design in general. When it comes to bringing together engineering, product, and design teams early in the design process, and aligning those teams towards a common goal, design thinking has few equals, and should be part of the toolkit for every product dr
04/02/202040 minutes 53 seconds
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Stephen Gates on hiring and retaining the best design talent

  InVision is starting a new series of quarterly reports on design trends. The first in the series, a Design Trends Report on Talent, was created to help you learn proactive new ways to recruit, develop, and retain creative talent.  In this bonus episode, we chat with Stephen Gates, Head Design Evangelist at InVision, about some of the things he learned while researching and producing the report as its co-author, and how the report can best be used by design leaders looking to hire, and individual contributors looking to get hired. Also, we’re trying out something new: a roundtable discussion about some current topics in the design world. Aarron and Eli chat wit
19/12/201954 minutes 23 seconds
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Lessons from Season 3

The third season of the Design Better Podcast recently wrapped up, where we explored the connected workflow: how designers can work more effectively and efficiently with their engineering and product counterparts to create incredible customer experiences.  We interviewed guests ranging from Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design at Facebook and author of The Making of a Manager, to Diego Rodriguez, Chief Product and Design Officer at Intuit. In this episode, Aarron and Eli share what they learned from some of the brightest minds in digital product design. Here are a few of the top takeaways: <
08/11/201930 minutes 52 seconds
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Jina Anne, Founder of Clarity Conference, on Crafting a Community for Design Systems

If you’re engaged in any sort of community surrounding Design Systems, whether it’s the Design Systems Slack, or the Clarity Conference, then you have likely benefited from Jina Anne’s work. A self-styled Design Systems Advocate, Jina has been passionate about creating events, content and resources that bring together communities of people who care about design systems and how they impact product design. In this bonus episode of the Design Better Podcast, we chat with Jina about how she got into Design Systems, what she has learned from building these communities, and how being a hybrid designer-developer influences her understanding of Design Systems. Takeaways: How having a Design System affects company culture. What to consider when deciding to go public with your Design System, or keeping it private. How Design Systems can be effectively
27/09/201940 minutes 40 seconds
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Bonus Episode: Leah Buley and the New Frontier of Design Maturity

What if you could unlock the full potential for business impact in design? On today's episode we are joined by Leah Buley, InVision's Director of Design Education and author of the new report on design in business, The New Design Frontier. Leah shares the insights she's learned from surveying thousands of companies to explore the relationship between design practices and business performance. We chat with Leah about how teams are measuring success in design, the dimensions of design maturity, and debunk myths around team size and designer to engineer ratios. Check out the full report at
18/04/201937 minutes 3 seconds
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Season 3 Special Preview

The next season of the Design Better podcast is nearly here. Listen to a special preview of the upcoming season which focuses on the impact and challenges of the connected workflow. We sat down with some incredible design leaders from Facebook, Airbnb, Google, Wall Street Journal, Atlassian, and Intuit for honest conversations that will give you a fresh perspective on the way you work. Be sure to subscribe for the new season coming soon.
11/04/20193 minutes 6 seconds
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Special Episode - Jake Knapp - Make Time

What if you could set aside a distraction-free space to accomplish one meaningful thing in your life each day? How might that change your relationships, hobbies, work, or mental wellbeing? In a special episode of the DesignBetter.Co Podcast, we talk to Jake Knapp, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Sprint, about his new book, Make Time. The book advocates for forgetting about being productive and focusing instead on being purposeful by using design sprints thinking to define a “highlight” for each day. If you enjoy this episode, we hope you’ll leave a review on iTunes or Google Play to help oth
09/10/201849 minutes 58 seconds
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#020: Margaret Stewart: Scaling through storytelling

As organizations grow, they tend to think in terms of processes and data, and although those elements are vital to scale, teams sometimes lose sight of the why. Key to scaling is building an infrastructure that supports a company’s core mission. In our final Season 2 episode of the DesignBetter.Co Podcast, Facebook Vice President of Product Design Margaret Gould Stewart talks with Aarron and Eli about how storytelling, open communication, and keeping the focus on the customer help the company's design team scale. “The most important thing you can do is have a story around what you're doing, for whom, and why.” If you enjoy this episode, we hope you’ll leave a review on iTunes or Google Play to help others members of the
06/08/201835 minutes 31 seconds
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#019: Kim Williams: Creating, scaling, and championing design systems

A design system helps deliver a unified experience for the end user, no matter what the medium. But it also means a cohesive internal experience as well. Design systems unite teams across time and space, bring designers and engineers together through a shared language, and help designers focus on experience over style. In our newest episode of the DesignBetter.Co Podcast, Indeed’s director of design experience, Kim Williams, talks with Aarron and Eli about the evolution of Indeed’s design system, and how collaboration across the company is key to any design system’s success. “I think for us, the design system is one part of how people feel about the brand and the product itself. The design system is really this tool that can help you tell your best story.” If you enjoy this episode, head over to iTunes to leave a re
23/07/201838 minutes 6 seconds
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Rewind: Irene Au explains the secrets to scaling design teams

For many years, Google’s engineering-led culture cherished efficiency over user experience. Irene Au arrived at a pivotal moment in the company’s history and helped shape the way Google’s products clearly value design today.   In this Rewind episode of the DesignBetter.Co podcast, Khosla Venture’s Irene Au talks about how she helped scale design at Google, shaped the design philosophy that carries into today, and now, as design partner at Khosla Ventures, helps startups build their own teams and processes to create the best design experiences.   If you like the episode, I hope you’ll post a review on iTunes, Google Play, or your favorite podcast source. It helps other discover the podcast.
09/07/201833 minutes 2 seconds
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#018: Vas Natarajan: operationalizing design for business success

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to scaling design, but there are similarities between fast-growing companies that prime them for lasting success. In this episode, Accel Partners’ Vas Natarajan talks about effective ways design leaders can operationalize hiring and scaling. He also discusses the hallmarks of a healthy team at any growth stage, what designers and developers can to do collaborate better, and why storytelling is key to growing a company. “Storytelling capability—especially at the founding stages—can really make the difference between something that gets up and off the ground and something that doesn’t.” Listen as Eli and Aarron chat with Vas about design’s role in making companies successful, the importance of balancing data with customer insights, and more. If you enjoy this episode, head over to iTunes to leave a review so other members of the design community can learn from Vas too.
25/06/201829 minutes 36 seconds
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#017: Maria Giudice: DesignOps, diversity, and design making a difference

Rallying around a shared vision is one of the biggest challenges for design teams operating at scale. So how can you foster that vision and bring people together to execute it? In this episode, Hot Studio Founder and former Autodesk VP of Experience Design Maria Giudice talks about overcoming team silos and learning to lead with influence instead of authority. She also discusses why diversity is one of the keys to great product design, along with lessons she learned while working with fast-moving companies like Facebook. “Agile was not developed with design in mind—but we as designers can impact that process and bring our own processes in. I call it human-centered Agile...At the end of the day, it doesn't matter about being a designer, or an engineer, or a data scientist—it's more about ‘Did we ship a great product together?’” <span style
11/06/201853 minutes 34 seconds
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#016: Megan Quinn: making design-led choices to scale with better outcomes

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be part of fast-growing, design-led companies like Slack, Medium, or even InVision? Every team has challenges with scaling—and it turns out those challenges share many common traits when you peek behind the curtain. In this episode, Spark Capital’s Megan Quinn talks about the common hurdles she sees across companies as they scale. She also discusses her own experiences going from the engineering-driven culture at Google to the design-driven culture at Square, and more. “At the end of the day, design is not how something looks or feels. Design is the abstraction of the technology to the end experience for the consumer.” –Megan Quinn Listen as Eli and Aarron chat with Megan about scaling with purpose and overcoming widespread hurdles—like how to incorporate the “why” into your product roadmap along with the “what” and “when.” If you enjoy this episode, head over to iTunes to leave a review so othe
29/05/201848 minutes 25 seconds
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#015: Meriah Garrett: Scaling with empathy and intention

When companies start scaling design, the emphasis is sometimes on getting more shipped—but what if the first deliverable was a balanced team instead of a new feature?   USAA’s Chief Design Officer Meriah Garrett has a unique approach to creating balanced design teams. In this new episode, she also discusses her role in the C-suite and how being mission-driven affects product development across multiple offices.   “We have this power to synthesize the world into something that feels actionable, and that is both a burden and a gift...Your job is not to just put your headphones on and make a beautiful object. Your job is to listen to the world around you and drive a new perspective on it.” –Meriah Garrett   Tune in on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play—and if you enjoy Meria
15/05/201844 minutes 39 seconds
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#014: TS Balaji: representing design with a multidisciplinary approach

Design leaders spend a lot of energy trying to get a seat at the table. It’s an ongoing process—and it’s tough to keep design involved over time. What questions should be asked along the way, and what business language can design leaders use? In this episode, LogMeIn’s Vice President Product Design & Customer Experience TS Balaji talks about helping big corporations use design to be competitive in new ways. He covers everything from maturity models and setting up team playbooks to how LogMeIn measures the business impact of design. Listen as Eli and Aarron chat with TS about design’s place in business—and hear why a multidisciplinary background could be the ultimate career boon, even if it does require a bit of statistics. TS Balaji's Bio</stron
30/04/201848 minutes 5 seconds
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#013: Diana Mounter: from design silos to design system

Design systems give product designers and developers reusable, interchangeable components to make the design process efficient and repeatable. They’re a critical part of scaling—so why build everything from scratch when you can plug in pre-built elements? In this episode, GitHub’s Design Systems Manager Diana Mounter talks about navigating the path from style guide contributor to full-time design systems manager. She covers everything from getting buy-in beyond the design team to deciding whether or not to make a system open source. Listen as Eli and Aarron chat with Diana about refining and growing GitHub’s design system, Primer—and learn how a little-known vegetable became part of her personal brand. Diana's bio Diana Mounter is a designer based in Brooklyn, NY. She specializes in design sy
16/04/201839 minutes 23 seconds
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#012: Meredith Black: building DesignOps dream teams

A lot of companies are investing more in design. As they do, the organization scales. As it scales, it has to operationalize, become more efficient, and plug into the rest of the company—but what makes all that possible? In this episode, Pinterest’s Head of Design Operations Meredith Black talks about the emerging practice of DesignOps, and how she introduced it to Pinterest more than three years ago. Meredith covers everything from when it’s time to start building a DesignOps team to advice for getting started. She even reveals where she finds most of her best hires. Listen as Eli and Aarron chat with Meredith about starting and growing a DesignOps practice—and how she nearly joined the FBI before finding herself in a different kind of “ops” career. Meredith's bio Meredith Black is the Head of Design Operations at Pinterest, where she's pioneered the Design Program Management organization and grown it to 1
01/04/201839 minutes 4 seconds
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#011: Lynsey Thornton: going with the org-change flow

Over the last 10 years, Shopify has grown from a scrappy 5-person startup to a team of more than 3,000 across five locations. Scaling a company that fast takes a lot of talented people—and Lynsey Thornton is one of them. As Shopify’s VP of UX and Core Product, Lynsey takes on an array of challenging tasks. In the first episode of the season, she talks about everything from building a leadership pipeline to governance of the famed design system Polaris. Her advice and first-hand experiences also highlight major technology pain points—like implementing customer-centric business models and helping individual contributors successfully transition to leadership. Listen as Eli and Aarron talk about scaling design at Shopify with Lynsey—and don’t miss her biggest piece of advice for finding great org design inspiration. Lynsey Thornton's Bio</stro
18/03/201836 minutes 59 seconds
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#010: Mia Blume: design, or be designed

“Will I lose my creativity? Will I be stuck in meetings all day?” Those are common concerns for any individual contributor transitioning to a managerial role—even experienced product leaders like Mia Blume. Luckily, Mia’s impressive career spans positions at places like IDEO, Pinterest, and Square, so she’s had plenty of opportunities to see what it takes to make a fundamental impact on culture from beyond her laptop screen. In this episode, Mia shares what it was like stepping away from daily design work to lead, how she combats imposter syndrome, and how being a designer ultimately made her a more effective manager. Now, with a motto for time management and loads of experience walking other people through that transition, Mia can expertly explain how to navigate the intricacies of being a great leader—which includes everything from managing priorities to being vulnerable on the job. Mia’s bio As a former design leader at Pinterest, Squa
29/10/201742 minutes 17 seconds
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#009: Christian Madsbjerg: exploring how humans experience the world

In today’s tech-driven economy, it seems like it can be hard to justify the value of a traditional liberal arts education. But given the speed at which AI-driven advancements are taking over traditional jobs—even technical ones—perhaps a better understanding of humans and their cultures is exactly what we need. Because being product-driven really means people people-driven—and we’re betting few people understand the human experience better than the author of Sensemaking, and co-founder and Senior Partner of ReD Associates, Christian Madsbjerg. In this episode, Aarron and Eli chat with Christian about using tools from human and social sciences to inform business decisions. Christian’s expertise helps clarify the methods a lot of fast-moving companies botch, like gathering pr
15/10/201752 minutes 30 seconds
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#008: Jake Knapp: beyond the Sprint

If we asked you to name a recent book that’s really changed how product teams address sticky challenges, there’s a good chance Jake Knapp’s Sprint would be at the top of your list. Since publishing and popularizing the process, design sprints have become a tool for teams at organizations as wide ranging as Prudential, the United Nations, and The British Museum. Given the impact of Sprint, we’re delighted to have Jake on the show to dig into questions we’ve been curious about since reading. In this episode, we run through topics like the relationship between design thinking and the sprint process, how design sprints can work in harmony with an agile development cycle, and when not to use design sprints. Jake also shares a sneak peek of his next book. Grab your copy of Sprint and get ready to learn from the guy who literally wrote the book on design sprints. Jake's Bio Jake Knapp the New York Times bes
01/10/201756 minutes 53 seconds
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#007: Laura Martini: getting to the right finish line

If there’s anyone we’ve interviewed on the DesignBetter.Co Podcast so far that really embodies the product-driven concept, it’s Laura Martini. Not only does she have a background in both design and engineering, but she also has a keen product sense with a real understanding the business factors behind good design decisions. Laura has had a really interesting career too—from working as a researcher in John Maeda’s Media Lab at MIT and leading the design team at med-tech startup Counsyl to her current role as a senior interaction designer on Google’s Analytics Platform. In this episode, Aarron and Eli chat with Laura about how her engineering and design backgrounds complement each other, how a company’s values shape her own work, and how design leaders can help individual cont
17/09/201739 minutes 55 seconds
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#006: Michael Leon: from skate punk to creative force

How do you go from being a self-professed skate punk, to a design director at Nike, creative director at Patagonia, and land as the global creative director for Sonos? As a creative force, Michael Leon has worked with some of the most product driven companies out there. In this episode, Aaron and Eli talk with Michael about the tension between sustainability and business goals, maintaining a consistent voice and tone across a company like Patagonia that sells hundreds of different products globally, and some of the traits that Michael looks for when hiring for his creative teams. So crank up your Sonos and enjoy this episode with Michael Leon!
03/09/201740 minutes 30 seconds
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#005: Alex Schleifer: a mission to belong anywhere

Airbnb’s mission is both simple and powerful: to help create a world where you can belong anywhere. Alex Schleifer, Airbnb’s head of design, fully embraces this mission. To create the products that make the Airbnb experience so welcoming and immersive, he also believes in being product driven, and organizes his teams in an Engineering, Product, Design (EPD) structure, which they also call “the triforce.” Have a listen as Aarron and Eli talk with Alex about the advantages of this team structure, and about some of the problems companies run into when they try to create a “design-led” culture. They also dig into Airbnb’s mission and vision, and talk about the tradeoffs between quality and speed when building products. Enjoy the episode, and may the triforce be with you! Alex Schleifer’s Bio Alex is a designer, who as a teenager co-founded the digital agency Sideshow, which went on to produce award-winning work for a variety of global clients. They
20/08/201749 minutes 3 seconds
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#004: Albert Lee: kickstart a design transformation

Albert Lee has had an amazing arc to his career. From his beginnings as a wine-steward at Chez Panisse, to working at Frank Gehry’s architecture studio, and on to the role of Associate Partner at IDEO and now Design Partner at NEA, the nation’s largest VC firm, Albert always strives to work with the best of the best. Given the breadth of his experience at these top institutions, it’s probably not a surprise that even though his expertise is in design, he values the balanced approach between design, engineering, and product teams that are the hallmark of a product-driven company. In this episode, Albert helps us explore subjects like: why the VC world has become more cognizant of the impact of design, how organizational design influences product design, and how to kickstart a design transformation. We hope you’ll get as much as we did from the insights Albert sh
21/07/201749 minutes 52 seconds
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#003: Dan Winger: building the future at LEGO

If you’re anything like us, playing with LEGOs was a foundational part of your childhood, and a big part of the reason you got interested in design. And given the arc of their history, it is clear that LEGO is a product-driven company: their products are addictively engaging, highly-engineered design masterpieces, they clearly understand the needs of their customers, and they are constantly evolving and innovating with their products to remain a highly-profitable company. So you can imagine our excitement when we had a chance to chat with Dan Winger, Senior Innovation Designer at the LEGO Future Lab. We had a chance to dive into user testing at LEGO (how do I sign up?!), what the future of physical play looks like in the age of VR, and how story affects product development at LEGO. It turns out the design process at LEGO has a lot in common with the software design world. Dan Winger's
21/07/201734 minutes 41 seconds
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#002: David Kelley: creative confidence and aligning teams

David Kelley doesn’t like to claim to have come up with the term design thinking, even though a most people would say he did. But regardless of who coined it, as founder of IDEO and the Stanford he has been one of the most influential proponents of design thinking, and human-centered design in general. When it comes to bringing together engineering, product, and design teams early in the design process, and aligning those teams towards a common goal, design thinking has few equals, and should be part of the toolkit for every product driven company. In this episode, Eli and Aarron speak with David about what it takes to bring designers and engineers together, how our workspace influences our work, and how we can encourage creative confidence in our companies. Enjoy their chat with David, and thanks for listening.   David Kel
20/07/201747 minutes 29 seconds
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#001: Irene Au: scaling design at Google and beyond

Google could now be considered a product driven company, but it wasn’t always that way. For many years Google’s engineering-led culture cherished efficiency over user experience. Irene Au arrived at a pivotal moment in the company’s history, and helped shape the way that Google’s product’s clearly value design today. Now in her role as a design partner at Khosla Ventures, she helps startups “build high performing teams, establish design practices, mentor and grow the next generation of great designers, and design interfaces and experiences.” Here is her story.   Irene Au's Bio Irene is design partner at Khosla Ventures, where she works with CEOs, executives, and designers to make products and services peop
20/07/201732 minutes 58 seconds