Today we travelled the all-encompassing NYC to visit three firms doing leading edge work in Design and Innovation. Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer of PepsiCo, started our morning by sharing his thoughts on finding human centred insights: everyone can come to insights, "the real difference is how you filter them." He was referring to the importance of people and culture; at the end of the day, it is the people and the culture of the company that shape what insights are deemed relevant. His words could not have described day 1 of our Rotman Design Tour better. PepsiCo, Arup, and Estée Lauder are three vastly different companies using the design process in conjunction with their areas of expertise to make the most out of insights.
Porcini detailed how to inject Design Thinking into company culture. He warned that the "organization will protect the status quo" and that having protection from the C-Suite and finding "co-conspirators" throughout the organization to advocate for design is key. This June, I will graduate from the Rotman School of Management, where I relished any discussion about organizational change in the context of design. Today was one of those magical meetings of theory and practice: what I learned at school shows up at the PepsiCo Design & Innovation Center everyday. The Center is a space for Design Thinking to happen, and many efforts are many to integrate the teams in the Center with the broader PepsiCo.
I can't wait to see where Mauro Porcini and his team of innovators take PepsiCo. What makes PepsiCo's venture into Design Thinking so authentic is that is underpinned by an organizational commitment to creating a design capability: a commitment that is supported by the CEO and has been communicated to shareholders as a strategic priority. Having Porcini as the Chief Design Officer and creating a Design & Innovation Center creates the advocacy, space, and support for Design Thinking to be woven into PepsiCo's fabric. With its meaningful focus on human centred design, PepsiCo is sure to come up with products and experiences that delight its users, consumers, and customers.
By Terri Block, Rotman MBA 2014 @TerriMKC