90 episodes

The Design Better podcast delivers insights from the world’s most renowned creative leaders, empowering teams to transform their practice and build remarkable products. This series is hosted by Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery. Discover more best practices, research, and resources at www.designbetter.com.

Design Better Podcast The Curiosity Department, LLC

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 265 Ratings

The Design Better podcast delivers insights from the world’s most renowned creative leaders, empowering teams to transform their practice and build remarkable products. This series is hosted by Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery. Discover more best practices, research, and resources at www.designbetter.com.

    Tony Fadell: How to build the future

    Tony Fadell: How to build the future

    For many of us, being the co-creator of two of the most transformative products of the early 21st century—the iPod and iPhone—would be enough for one career. But Tony Fadell was just getting started.
    After his time at Apple, Tony went on to start Nest Labs, known for its smart home products like thermostats and fire alarms, which sold to Google for over 3 billion dollars. He’s authored more than 300 patents, and with his newest venture, the Build Collective, he’s investing time and money to help engineers and scientists build a greener world.
    He’s also written a book about what he’s learned over the years called Build. In this interview, we chat with him about what some of his early failures taught him, why the best teams are multigenerational, and how to deal with the different types of—for lack of a better word—a*holes you might encounter in your career.
    Tony Fadell started his 30+ year Silicon Valley career at General Magic, the most influential startup nobody has ever heard of. Then he went on to make the iPod and iPhone, start Nest and create the Nest Learning Thermostat. Throughout his career Tony has authored more than 300 patents. He now leads the investment and advisory firm Build Collective, which invests its money and time to help engineers and scientists build a greener world, in which every person enjoys a longer, richer life.
    Help us make the show even better by taking a short survey: www.dbtr.co/survey
    If you're interested in sponsoring the show, please contact us at: sponsors@thecuriositydepartment.com
    If you'd like to submit a guest idea, please contact us at: contact@thecuriositydepartment.com
    This episode is brought to you by:
    Fable: Build inclusive products: https://makeitfable.com/designbetter/

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    Methodical Coffee: Roasted, blended, brewed, served and perfected by verified coffee nerds: https://methodicalcoffee.com/ (use code "designbetter" for 10% off of your order).

    Athletic Greens: Build a foundation for better health: http://athleticgreens.com/designbetter

    • 53 min
    Judy and Daniel Wert: Challenging times in tech

    Judy and Daniel Wert: Challenging times in tech

    It’s a challenging time in tech right now. Chances are, if you haven’t been directly affected by the layoffs, you know someone—or many people—who have. 
    In today’s episode, we’re welcoming back Judy Wert, along with her son and colleague Daniel. At their executive search firm Wert & Co, they’ve guided many leaders through navigating career changes. We discuss the layoffs, and strategies for dealing with changes in your own career when the environment is as difficult as it is right now.
    We’ll also discuss what skills you need to cultivate as an individual contributor if you want to advance your career, and the ins-and-outs of transparency when it comes to salary policies. Thanks for joining us, and we hope it’s helpful wherever you are in your career.

    Judy Wert
    Judy has been working with the leadership of innovative companies for over 25 years. She has earned an international reputation as a pivotal force in executive search. A trusted authority in the world of design and business, Judy is also known for bringing an added dimension to her work—a humanistic approach—fostering deep relationships through empathy, intuition, and curiosity.

    Daniel Wert
    With an intimate understanding of venture-backed start-ups, Daniel has developed expertise in recruiting at scale, executive search, and in the people operations that hold businesses together. He has spent the last decade in-house, building companies, managing cross-functional teams, and coaching executive leaders to better understand the value of both people and design.

    • 48 min
    Tina Seelig: Constraints drive creativity

    Tina Seelig: Constraints drive creativity

    What is the difference between creativity and innovation? What does it take to find your superpowers? How can you become open to embracing failure to learn and grow?
    Tina Seelig, Executive Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program at Stanford, has spent a large part of her career answering questions like these, while studying and teaching creativity, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
    Tina has a PhD in neuroscience, and we speak with her about how her background influences the way that she approaches these topics. We also discuss how to approach creativity in a corporate environment, and why being a good listener is an underrated superpower that many of us can cultivate.
    Dr. Tina Seelig is Executive Director of Knight-Hennessy Scholars and Emeritus Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford School of Engineering. She teaches courses on leadership, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) at Stanford.
    In 2014, Dr. Seelig was honored with the SVForum Visionary Award, and in 2009 she received the Gordon Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, recognizing her as a national leader in engineering education. She also received the 2014 MS&E Award for Graduate Teaching, the 2008 National Olympus Innovation Award, and the 2005 and 2019 Stanford Tau Beta Pi Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
    Dr. Seelig earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University Medical School in 1985 where she studied Neuroscience. She has worked as a management consultant for Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, as a multimedia producer at Compaq Computer Corporation, and was the founder of a multimedia company called BookBrowser.
    She has written 17 popular science books and educational games. Her books include The Epicurean Laboratory and Incredible Edible Science, published by Scientific American; and a series of twelve games called Games for Your Brain, published by Chronicle Books. Her three newest books, published by HarperCollins are What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, inGenius, and Creativity Rules.

    • 39 min
    Meredith Black: A new era of DesignOps

    Meredith Black: A new era of DesignOps

    Design Operations, or “Design Ops,” is entering a new era. No longer the new kid on the block, it’s becoming a required discipline in many design organizations. We wanted to catch up to see where design ops is now, so who better to chat with than Meredith Black, a guest from our second season back in 2018.
    After leaving Pinterest, where she was head of Design Operations, Meredith co-founded the DesignOps Assembly, which focuses on fostering community, offering educational opportunities, sharing resources, and generating best practices within the DesignOps Industry.
    We chat with Meredith about what’s changed with design ops in the past four years, the skills that a person needs to be successful in a design ops role, and what she’s hoping to accomplish with the DesignOps Assembly.
    Meredith Black is the co-founder of DesignOps Assembly and now a consultant working with companies worldwide to implement DesignOps within their organizations.
    Prior, Meredith spent five years at Pinterest, where she started and grew the DesignOps team into an internationally renowned team while also being instrumental in growing and building the Pinterest Product Design Team.
    You can listen to her discuss DesignOps on an earlier episode of the Design Better Podcast, or check out “The DesignOps Handbook.” Meredith is also the co-host of the Reconsidering Podcast, along with our very own Aarron Walter.

    • 41 min
    Greg Hoffman: Creativity is a team sport

    Greg Hoffman: Creativity is a team sport

    There is probably no better training ground than Nike to learn about creativity as a team sport, and Greg Hoffman, former Chief Marketing Officer of Nike, shares this lesson—along with many other valuable insights—in his new book, Emotion by Design.
    In this episode, we chat with Greg about how his childhood shaped the way he thinks about creativity and collaboration, how working in inspiring spaces can influence your work (and how you might accomplish that in a remote environment), and about curiosity as a catalyst for creativity.
    Greg Hoffman is a global brand leader, former NIKE Chief Marketing Officer, and founder and principal of the brand advisory group Modern Arena.
    For over 27 years, Greg held marketing, design, and innovation leadership roles at NIKE, including time as the brand’s CMO. In his most recent role as NIKE’s Vice President of Global Brand Innovation, he led teams tasked with envisioning the future of storytelling and consumer experiences for the brand.
    Greg oversaw NIKE’s brand communications and experiences as NIKE was solidifying its position as one of the preeminent brand storytellers of the modern era and the leading innovator in digital and physical brand experiences. His role in the rise of marketing and design through that period was recognized in 2015 when Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business. He’s also been recognized for his transformative leadership in the industry through the Business Insider’s 50 Most Innovative CMO’s and AdAge’s Power Players annual lists.
    For over two decades, he was a major strategic and creative influence for Nike at every major global sporting event, for the launches of NIKE’s signature products and innovations, and for the building of the brands of its athletes.
    Through his leadership, Nike drove themes of equality, sustainability, and empowerment through sport in some of its most significant brand communications. That work was, in part, driven by his role on the Advisory Board of the NIKE Black Employee Network and as a member of the NIKE Foundation Board of Directors.
    Today as founder and principal of Modern Arena, Greg advises Fortune 1000 brands, startups, and nonprofits in creating brand strength, business growth, and social impact. He sits on the advisory boards of the brands Shred Adventures and AO-Air and is a board member for Summit Impact, the philanthropic arm of Summit Series.
    In addition, he is the Branding instructor at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business and the Innovation Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In 2022, Greg brings all of his brand experience to the world through his new book Emotion by Design: Creative Leadership Lessons From a Life at Nike.

    • 43 min
    Felecia Hatcher: Moments of enchantment

    Felecia Hatcher: Moments of enchantment

    Often it’s the little things, and not the flashy technology or slick user interface that make a product or experience memorable. The handwritten note from customer service, or the humorous quote that pops up as you’re waiting for a screen to load. Our guest today, Felecia Hatcher, calls these “moments of enchantment,” and she advocates for more opportunities for a human touch, as artificial intelligence and machine learning push us in the opposite direction.
    Felecia is the CEO of Black Ambition, an organization founded by Pharrell Williams that works towards closing the opportunity and wealth gap through entrepreneurship. Prior to her current role, she was Chief Popsicle and co-owner of Feverish Ice Cream, and was Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Black Innovation.

    In our conversation, we talk about the perpetual growth and achievement across her career, what she learned bootstrapping her ice cream business from her parent’s backyard to Fortune 500 clients, and how her entrepreneurial experiences shape the way she advises and mentors students and entrepreneurs.
    Felecia Hatcher is on a mission to rid communities of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems as the Co-Founder of Code Fever, Black Tech Week and Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab. 
    Hatcher has raised over 3 million dollars to support Code Fever's work which sits at the intersection of economic development and inclusive innovation. As an Author, Social Entrepreneur and the former Chief Popsicle of Feverish Ice Cream, Hatcher was named one of the Empact 100 Top 100 Entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by the White House and Kauffman Foundation in 2011, a 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity, Ruth Shack Honoree, 2017 Comcast/Nationswell Tech Impact Allstar, a Black Enterprise 2017 TechConnext Game Changer and 2016 Innovator of the Week, Essence Magazine Tech Master, and featured on the NBC Today Show, MSNBC, FORBES, INC, The Cooking Channel, & Grio’s 100 African American’s Making History.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
265 Ratings

265 Ratings

brookap ,

Consistently entertaining, often surprising

Insightful and entertaining. The guest speakers are a who's who of the most creative and impactful design thinkers around. I love the fact that the Design Better podcast weaves together all of the different threads of design inspiration & process, ethics, inclusiveness, and relevance to things that people don't always think of as being design-related. It's a great lens into how intentionality and experience shapes design, and how intentional design, in turn, shapes our experiences.

Calley P ,

insightful for designers and, well, everyone!

I found Design Better after starting a UX Boot Camp. I learn so much from the guests and the hosts, especially as a designer. I appreciate the diverse guests and resources shared, too! Learning about ethics from Airbnb or cultivating a healthy and diverse culture from Netflix execs has been so inspirational. Some of my favorite episodes aren’t directly design related- like John Cleese, or the guys from Apple +.

I get so much from the thoughtful interview questions and long form conversations. I look forward to each episode!

Jen12345678887654321 ,

Very informative

This show is really good but I wish it was a little louder and the interviewers were a little better. Overall very informative though

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