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Design Thinking Podcast: Building Design Capacity + Measuring Design Value + Designing Studios with Doug Powell

Welcome to the Design Thinking podcast! I’m Dawan Stanford, your host. Today I’m joined by the remarkable Doug Powell, a Distinguished Designer at IBM who directs the global tech company’s program to scale design and design thinking.

This conversation will cover some tactics and Doug Powellstrategies for growing a design practice inside your organization, thoughts on how to measure the value of design thinking and communicate that value, and talk about building design thinking capacity in design thinking studios.

When he joined IBM, Doug explains, the company’s design aspect had dwindled from its heyday when it was led by Thomas J. Watson and Eliot Noyes.

For a couple decades after this design heyday, design was de-emphasized in the company. In 2012-2013, the company reinvested in and recommitted to design thinking. In the conversation, you’ll learn about some of the challenges that Doug faced during the process of reviving design thinking and creating a new class of workspaces where design could thrive.

Doug points out that design thinking has a branding problem, since the word “design” can be confusing for people outside of the industry. People think of visual design, product design, fashion design, or interior design. He then defines design thinking as, “a way of solving complex problems in a collaborative, multidisciplinary way, with a focus on the user.” It’s about collaboration and cross-disciplinary work, not making anything pretty. This, he explains, is how he would describe the value of design thinking to someone not familiar with the concept.

In addition to all of this, Doug will talk about trying to help people get the essence of design thinking in an online learning environment when design usually relies on being so hands-on. He’ll also dig into the value and impact of design thinking at IBM, including some of the less-obvious results. You’ll hear about whether Doug’s process is right for everyone, what a design studio is and why it’s valuable, how his bootcamp is structured, and much more!

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Listen at the Source: Building Design Capacity + Measuring Design Value + Designing Studios with Doug Powell — DT101 E16

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